The Commonwealth Supply Chain Advisors Blog

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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10 Ways to Achieve E-Commerce Distribution Success, Part 6 of 10 – Optimize Packing

September 13th, 2016

Tactic #6: Optimize Packing

The packing operation is often the biggest area of inefficiency that still remains when distribution centers convert to higher levels of e-commerce. Packing requirements often creep up over time, and since the evolution is gradual, companies often initially address the needs with manual processes that simply proliferate as volumes increase.


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10 Ways to Achieve E-Commerce Distribution Success, Part 5 of 10 – Practice Real-Time Warehousing

September 2nd, 2016

Tactic #5: Practice Real-Time Warehousing

As the complexity of a company’s pick methodology increases, the need for a real-time warehousing system to direct and confirm the execution of these picks becomes more and more important. While discrete order picking and very basic cluster picking can be managed with paper-based pick tickets, high-volume cluster picking, zone picking, and batch picking almost always require the use of a WMS to administer.

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