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E-Fulfilment

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The unique demands of e-commerce are very different to traditional retail channels, and distribution operations must be specifically tailored to reflect this.

Key to an efficient e-Commerce logistics operation, is perfecting the design and process flows to optimise layouts, workflows, resources and systems in a 24/7 picking operation.

The Supply Chain Consulting Group (SCCG) team of Specialist Supply Chain & Logistics Consultants are experienced in e-Commerce logistics projects, having worked with leading online retailers.

 

Benefits of a purpose built e-Commerce distribution centre

The exclusive video interview below from Bodybuilding.com demonstrates the benefits of a purpose built e-Commerce distribution centre, the specific operational requirements for e-commerce and the speed and volume at which orders can be processed with relatively low staff levels.

It is all about the design and process flows to optimise layouts, workflows, resource and systems in a 24/7 picking operation. The Logistics and Distribution Centre Design Specialists at The Supply Chain Consulting Group have developed with the market requirements and we now have a number of e-fulfilment projects successfully completed.

Consumer Buying Habits will impact your Logistics operations

Operations set up to deal with medium size or bulk orders to retail outlets (B2B) that then ‘add-on’ e-commerce direct to the consumer (B2C) are suddenly faced with the realisation that the on-line buying habits of the consumer can have a serious impact on the picking and despatch operations.

These changes to buying habits, made possible by the ease at which product can be ordered and returned include:

  • The number of variants of a product ordered (e.g. size or colour)
  • The percentage increase in product returns 
  • The ability to return as many items as they want (often for free) 
  • Order volume patterns during the week and/or month

The nature of the B2C e-commerce model means that the order profiles are likely to change as the B2C orders will be smaller (i.e. fewer items per order) as opposed to the medium or bulk B2B orders.

Operating both B2B and B2C order profiles in the same facility is common with many companies, however there are many different opinions on how it should be done, and how successful it is.

The option of a dedicated e-commerce fulfilment centre is naturally preferred, however not always possible depending on the level of investment required, as often these facilities will have a degree of automation and mechanisation.

However, if designed and equipped correctly, a purpose-built e-fulfilment centre, can usually despatch a greater number of orders and individual items per operator hour than trying to integrate it into most traditional B2B warehouse and picking operations.

There are no unilateral right or wrong answers for an e-commerce logistics and fulfilment strategy as it is dependent on several factors including product mix, sector, ratio of internet orders to total orders, facility size and capability etc…

Examples of projects the warehouse and distribution centre consultants have carried out for purpose-built e-fulfilment pick, pack and despatch include the European logistics centre for Global e-commerce retailer Bodybuilding.com, the case study for which can be read by clicking here.

In addition SCCG was awarded a contract in 2018 to fully design and cost and subsequently programme manage the automation procurement, fit out, implementation testing, and commissioning of a new fully automated purpose built 250,000 sq. ft. e-fulfilment and distribution centre in the UK, for a sizable on-line retailer, to go-live by 2022.

The demands of e-commerce are very different to more traditional sales channels and the standard or more traditional warehouse and distribution operations (however sophisticated) are not always set up to deal with e-fulfilment operations.

Questions you need to consider

Some of the questions you need to consider when deciding on your e-fulfilment strategy and which can be addressed by the experienced e-commerce logistics consultants at The Supply Chain Consulting Group include (but not limited to):

  • Is your new e-commerce product offering going to grow exponentially?
  • How to optimise pick-face layouts when picking B2C and B2B orders from the same locations?
  • Which picking regimes are optimal for different types of orders? 
  • What level of automation and investment will optimise my e-commerce logistics operations?
  • Is outsourcing your e-commerce operation a referable option?
  • What are the real overheads and costs per product sold and delivered?
  • What are the competitive customer service levels that need to be achieved?
  • What is my product price point to remain competitive whilst covering e-fulfilment costs?
  • What proportion of the total sale cost is allocated to delivery and returns processing?
  • What are the IT system requirements for e-fulfilment logistics operations?

The fact remains that the e-commerce retailer needs payment systems, administration and customer service personnel, warehousing and stock management systems and a physical logistics infrastructure to provide the same or better service as a bricks and mortar retail outlet. 

The question is what is the best strategy for your e-commerce logistics operations?

The best starting point is to call the experts at The Supply Chain Consulting Group at 01926 430883, or email us at [email protected] You can also complete our enquiry form here

Think the SCCG team are the right fit for your business?
Drop us a line today and lets improve your operation efficiency.

FAQs

Building transport, inventory and location strategies around your customer service goals. Developing a logistics infrastructure that meets your business goals.

Our knowledgeable Supply Chain Consultants have built Cost-to-Serve models to allow companies to unlock hidden profit potential by understanding the costs involved in serving specific customers and products. Understanding each clients’ individual priorities and the specific complexities of each business; The SCCG team carefully utilise specific models, in order to custom-build solutions for each client.

Synonymous with Supply Chain is Inventory Optimisation, for which our Supply Chain Consultants use ‘Inventory Modelling’ to establish the correct level of stock for any given situation – balancing the need to maintain a high-level of customer service with the desire to minimise working capital.

As part of the Global Supply Chain – Import, Export and Logistics – is the part of the supply chain processes that plans, implements, and controls the efficient, effective forward and reverse flow and storage of goods, services, and related information between the point of origin and the point of consumption in order to meet customs and customer requirements.

Inventory modelling can be used to define the correct stocking policy for a large range of SKUs – for example, which SKUs should be stocked in local branches, and which should be held in one national centre.

Clients Case Studies

XL Joinery Case Study

The Supply Chain Consulting Group Complete Warehouse Design Project For XL Joinery XL Joinery Ltd are market-leading suppliers and importers of quality Hardwood, Oak, and Pine Doors, offering their customers the most comprehensive range of wooden doors and associated joinery……
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Weston Homes Case Study

The Supply Chain Consulting Group completes Warehouse Design and Optimisation Founded by Bob Weston in 1987, Weston Homes Plc (Weston) are a large and successful property construction company providing high specification traditional style homes, apartment blocks, large complexes; and refurbishments……
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Weidmann Case Study

The Supply Chain Consulting Group Review Warehouse Operations For Weidman Weidmann Electrical Technologies (Weidmann) are a division of the WICOR Group based in Switzerland. In the UK, Weidmann have two divisions, electrical components and a papermill for the production of……
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Davis and shirtliff

Warehouse Design Project for Davis and Shirtliff

Davis & Shirtliff (D&S) is the largest water-related equipment supplier and industry leader in the East African region. Based in Kenya, D&S operates through a network of 70 different branches within the country, whilst exporting to different regional affiliates in……
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Wacoal (Formerly Eveden Group) Case Study

The Supply Chain Consulting Group Implement Standard Global S&OP Platform Wacoal (formerly known as Eveden Group) is a leading manufacturer of intimate apparel, offering various brands including Huit, Fantasie and Freya. Wacoal designs and manufactures high quality, fashion conscious lingerie……
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Volvo Group Case Study

Volvo Group Choose The Supply Chain Consulting Group Volvo Construction Equipment (a division of Volvo Group UK Ltd) has a warehouse operation in Duxford that supplies parts and equipment directly to end customers nationwide and to regional Customer Support Centres.……
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Triumph Motorcycles

Triumph Motorcycles Case Study

The Supply Chain Consulting Group Race Towards A Global Logistics Triumph Triumph Motorcycles engaged The Supply Chain Consulting Group (SCCG) to review and develop their consolidated Global freight and Logistics strategy, with the objective of engaging a single Logistics Service……
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ToffeIn Case Study

The Supply Chain Consulting Group Conducts Internal Process Review For ToffeIn  Toffeln is one of the world’s leading experts in the design and manufacture of specialist ergonomic design footwear for professionals working indoors in hygienic environments such as hospitals, kitchens,……
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Get in Touch

Call us on +44(0) 1926 430 883​

Supply chain and Logistics Specialists highly experienced in all aspects of Supply Chain and Logistics Operations, Distribution Network Strategy, Warehousing Operations, e-commerce Logistics and Warehouse and Distribution Centre Design.