The Commonwealth Supply Chain Advisors Blog

Getting to Know Your Distribution Center – The First Step in a Proper Warehouse Management Software Selection Process

August 13th, 2017

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10 Ways to Achieve E-Commerce Distribution Success, Part I0 of 10 – Improve Wave Management

October 14th, 2016

Tactic #10: Improve Wave Management

The forms of material handling automation covered in Part IX can create tremendous labor savings in the order picking process, largely through the creation of very large pick waves. Rather than accessing the same pick face several hundred times to pick a fast moving item, the entire supply of that item may be picked at one time and then separated by order using either a manual put-to-store process, or automated unit sortation technology such as a tilt-tray, cross belt, or bomb-bay sorters. These processes and technologies can contribute to ultra-high pick rates, but can sometimes create an unintended consequence.

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10 Ways to Achieve E-Commerce Distribution Success, Part 9 of 10 – Employ Goods-to-Picker Systems

October 5th, 2016

Tactic #9: Employ Goods-to-Picker Systems

Eventually, if piece-pick requirements increase to a certain level, then goods-to-picker systems may make sense as a means of reducing pick labor (and improving space utilization). While good cart-based systems can produce pick rates of between 100 and 200 lines per hour, goods-to-picker systems have been known to allow rates of 400–600 lines per hour.


Goods-to-picker systems are available as many different forms of technology. A company’s choice of a system should be driven by:


•    Throughput requirements

•    Product makeup

•    Order profiles

•    Space requirements

•    Budgetary limitations

•    Flexibility needs

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10 Ways to Achieve E-Commerce Distribution Success, Part 8 of 10 – Pick-to-Shipping-Container

September 28th, 2016

 Tactic #8: Pick-to-Shipping-Container

As discussed in Tactic #6 (Part VI – Optimize Packing), picking to the shipping container can greatly reduce handling requirements in the packing area. In order to execute on a strategy like this, there are several pre-requisites:

  1. Accurate product dimensions and weight must exist
  2. Scan-verification at time of picking must take place
  3. A cartonization system must be used to calculate the correct size shipping container
  4. A capable WMS system must be in use
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10 Ways to Achieve E-Commerce Distribution Success, Part 7 of 10 – Manage Parcel Shipments Effectively

September 20th, 2016

Tactic #7: Manage Parcel Shipments Effectively

Part of the reason for such differing opinions often comes down to the strength or weakness of the shipping manager’s relationship with the parcel carrier’s local account manager. The speed with which a carrier acts to resolve problems, and the perceived level of attention from the carrier, often factor heavily into a shipper’s choice. Additionally, shippers may go for long periods of time without aggressively renegotiating rates. Then, when they introduce the competing carrier and give them an opportunity to bid for the business, the new carrier submits extremely aggressive rates in an attempt to unseat the incumbent. This can lead to the perception that the shipper had been taken advantage of by the incumbent carrier. In reality, both major parcel carriers tend to get complacent when a shipper does not aggressively negotiate for better rates on a regular basis.

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