In our previous post, we detailed the challenges and costs associated with warehousing and operations for multichannel ecommerce businesses. For each person, and each step in a process, there needs to be a computer system to keep a record of everything. Often, the systems taking care of different parts of the business are separate, and not joined up into one integrated end-to-end solution. From the booking in of goods, through to the back office reconciliation, systems that can’t talk to each other need manual intervention to do workarounds, re-key information and connect the links in the chain, otherwise the numbers don’t add up. As you can imagine, this adds an extra layer to the costs of doing ecommerce business.
How we can help
Volo was founded in 2006 to help companies grow their ecommerce business and control their costs to maximise margins. Since then we've worked with hundreds of companies and developed some best practices around how to improve and automate the inventory management, warehousing and operational sides of the business. This post lifts the lid on some of them. These best practices can be boiled down to two essential factors to control your costs, namely flexibility and co-ordination. Flexibility allows you to run a number of different processes and systems to match the complexity of your operations. Co-ordination allows you to bring together all the areas of your operations and overcome the gaps in the chain.
Having a seamless back office process
With a barcode scanner attached via a USB to your warehouse computer running the Volo system, you can accurately book in your received goods and automatically assign them to warehouse locations. The system can support multi-item locations, multiple warehouses and virtual locations, as well as a combination of all three. Full automation of your purchase order system for ordering and re-ordering also drastically cuts down on administration time.
Volo can organise the printing of the location on the invoice, the shipping list and the pick list for your fulfillment team, saving you time and reducing errors. The system can also take care of printing product labels based on the items received, for use on the product packaging and as shelf labeling, cutting down on manual intervention in the warehouse and making it easier and quicker for your order fulfillment team to locate the exact item they need.
What are the next steps?
Your back office operations have the tricky task of providing the necessary information to different areas of the business. Customer service people need to be informed with dispatch confirmations. Supplier management staff need to understand stock levels and be sure the reordering processes are in hand. Returns management operatives need to process refunds and exchanges, reclassify goods and return the original products to the same or different locations. Finance staff need to post orders, invoices, sales and refunds to the accounts system. That’s a lot of different people to satisfy.
Automation plays a vital role
The answer to the problem of connecting as many of your warehousing and operations processes is automation. The more you can automate, the more you can eradicate errors, accidental or otherwise, the more time you can save, the quicker you can operate, the more compliant you’ll be for legal, regulatory and tax purposes, and the fewer people you need to touch the end-to-end process.
Ultimately, then, the more you automate, the more you grow your efficiencies, your margins and your profits. Multi channel ecommerce systems like the Volo platform are designed to automate your business processes and integrate them into one central system. It's dual aim is to help you sell more, and save more.