The COVID-19 outbreak has affected all areas of eCommerce, but some more than others. Shipping carriers in particular have seen huge disruptions to their normal ways of working.
More specifically they've seen an increase in demand and a reduction in staff, all the while having to comply with new changes in how goods should be handled and delivered.
Ultimately, all of this has led to an increase in the time it takes for your products to be shipped to your buyers.
To mitigate against this challenge, some sellers have been looking at ways they can continue operating, without relying too heavily on the carriers that can’t always ship goods on time.
One approach that has proven effective is to increase the number of locations stock is held in.
In fact, by spreading stock across multiple warehouses, each located in different areas of the country or globe, sellers are making sure they’re fulfilling orders as closely as they can to the end buyer.
Sellers with multiple warehouses
Managing multiple warehouses can come with it’s own set of problems.
You need to make sure that each warehouse has enough stock to meet local demand, and you need to keep a keen eye on where your stock is moving so nothing either gets sent to the wrong place or lost in transit.
The Linnworks Warehouse Transfer feature was designed to solve these problems.
It gives staff in every warehouse clear visibility on where available stock might be and lets them request stock from other warehouses.
The holders of stock can then pick, pack and ship these items to neighbouring warehouses, and Linnworks will keep track of every action that takes place.
Having good, structured and audited communication between your warehouses is key if you want to take a more agile approach to product storage.
Sellers using 3rd Party Fulfilment Centres
Not every business is in the position to buy more storage to spread their products across a wider area.
Warehouse space can be expensive, as are the costs to hire and train the extra staff needed to manage them. This is where 3rd party fulfilment centres come in, storing your stock and fulfilling your orders on your behalf.
Linnworks manages 3rd party fulfilment centres, much like your own locations. You can see what stock is available at a location and submit orders to those locations to be fulfilled. The key process to nail down here is effective automated communication between your business and the business that’s holding your stock.
Step one of Linnworks’s fulfilment centre management ensures you have a clear view of your own products, even when they’re not stored in a warehouse you control.
Linnworks can receive files from your fulfilment partner that tells it how much stock is available, so you and your selling channels know exactly how much is available for sale.
Step two allows Linnworks to submit order details to your fulfilment centre. You’ll need to be able to tell them what products need to be sent to which buyers.
Step three let’s the fulfilment centre update Linnworks with order statuses and tracking numbers, so you know exactly when and how an order was fulfilled on your behalf.
Fulfilment Centre Automation ensures that when two companies are involved with fulfilling an order for a single buyer, that communication is clear, tracked and formatted in a way that suits everyone.
Moving from operating one warehouse location to many can be a challenge for online sellers and you need to pick an approach that’s right for you.
The key thing to keep in mind is that operational success requires clear communication between warehouses. Every action should be easy to understand, clearly communicated and accurately tracked.