Employees, Automation, and OMS

September 7th, 2019

Following an article by Multichannel Merchant
Crystal Creek does its best to stay up to date on Fulfillment and Ecommerce News to share with clients and other subscribers to this newsletter. This month we’ve delved into an article written by Mike O’Brien for Multichannel Merchant titled The Customer Expectation Chase ContinuesIn this article it outlines that there’s no doubt that the increased demand for fulfillment has been affecting merchants and businesses small and large. With an average increase of 15% annually, the growth of ecommerce is stretching operations and fulfillment resources to the max. Topics related to this dilemma regarding fulfillment bandwidth include scarce and more expensive labor, tight markets for facilities, ever-rising shipping costs, and the growing need to invest in new innovative technology and systems to push more orders out. 
Attracting and retaining employees can be a challenge when currently it is a matter of hours instead of days and weeks for warehouse workers to trade up and find a position elsewhere in the industry. The article lists suggestions from experts on how to bring more employees into the business: referring a friend, performance bonuses, local temp agencies, job fairs, recruiting websites, identifying turnover rates and capturing the reasons for employee departure. Here at CCL, we’ve found that cultivating an all-inclusive culture and driving unique programs keep our employees engaged at the workplace. This yields us moderately low turnover rates and high order accuracy. We host programs where we offer free food, employee safety loans, open calendars and schedules, team time off requests, and the option of working from home for our admin team.  
Productivity demands and labor issues have merchant companies turning to robotics and automationWe want to work faster, with flawless accuracy all while lowering costs and this new technology and help us get there. CCL is looking into certain technologies to streamline pick and pack operations that will free more personnel for more complex tasks on the warehouse floor. In the article, it states that “based on different industry measures, companies can realize productivity gains up to 46% from warehouse automation”. 
MCM created an Outlook survey and OMS (order management systems) were highest on the priority list for technological investments next to automation for 2019. These systems are used to manage a depth of inventory across the country. Having multiple facilities and consistently expanding, CCL currently uses an OMS and WMS (warehouse management system) for inventory. At this time, we are interested in the possibility of developing our own custom OMS/WMS software with new capabilities to fit all our clients’ needs. This could be seen in the form of more visibility, custom reporting, and better integration for inbound and received inventory.  
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