Warehouse management plays an important role in delivering quality customer service. Look at it this way, shoppers want three things when they buy something: finding the items they’re in the market for without difficulty, getting them at a good price, and having them delivered quickly without problems. Of course, they expect to be treated with respect if they have to interface with personnel like sales staff or the complaints department, but what’s foremost in keeping them happy are the operations that take place in the warehouse.
In this blog, we’re going to look at four ways that warehouse management can help you deliver good customer service.
Warehouse management and customer service
If customer service means getting your shoppers the items they’ve selected, then making sure they’re in stock is, hands down, the number-one rule for warehouse management. Should a stockout – running out of an item – happen, a whole host of negative ramifications will follow.
Stockouts don’t just mean no sale for those items, they could mean losing those customers who cannot get the products they ordered, and not just for those particular transactions. When a shopper finds out their order can’t be filled, they’re likely to lose faith in the vendor and may take their business elsewhere.
So what causes stockouts? A study by the Harvard Business Review found that 72% were due to retailers just not being on top of their stock ordering, not noticing levels running low, and therefore, not issuing purchase orders for more. Only 28% were attributed to issues in the supply chain, like supplier shortages.
The best way to prevent stockouts is to automate with a good inventory management system like Cin7 Core. The fact that this software is constantly monitoring the stock, and can issue purchase orders for more when levels are low, makes stockouts a thing of the past. You’ll always be able to fill orders and provide quality customer service.
Again, we’re talking about getting items to customers as smoothly and quickly as possible. The order fulfillment process begins as soon as the company receives the order from the customer. It consists of the following:
- Getting a pick list together and pulling items from the warehouse,
- Checking that all items are in good order,
- Packing items securely before they’re shipped out,
- Shipping packages to the customers,
- Delivering orders to the customers, and
- Handling returns.
For customer service to be at peak level, every stage listed has to be as frictionless as possible, meaning that the items have to pass from one department to the other seamlessly. For this to happen, everything has to be worked out and organized to the nth degree. From picking lists that follow the fastest routes round the warehouse to shipping labels that are printed correctly at the right time, everything has to run like clockwork.
The quicker items are in the shoppers hands, the happier they are. On the flipside, companies that take their time with deliveries aren’t well received. In fact, a European study conducted jointly by French-based market research company Ipsos and marketing solutions company Octopia found that 85% of customers would not go back to a retailer that failed to get their purchases to them in good time. A number of companies have taken note of this and are trying to get packages to their customers on the same day.
From the perspective of warehouse management, achieving these fast turnarounds comes down to quickly moving orders through the system and working out exact logistics for shipping. Sometimes this is achieved by processing an order from a warehouse nearest the shopper, and it certainly involves mapping out the best route for the delivery vehicle to take.
From Christmas decorations to beach balls, there are items that are only wanted at certain times of the year, and when those periods roll around, demand for those items soar. These seasonal products present problems for warehouse management: the products have to be brought into the warehouse ahead of time, they have to be stored properly, and there has to be enough of them to fill anticipated demand.
Anticipated demand is the key here. If the warehouse manager overestimates demand, the company will be left holding unwanted stock; but if an underestimation is made, customer service goes out the window and the company could lose its good reputation along with the sales.
The way around this, again, is to automate. A reliable inventory management system can produce accurate forecasts that predict demand, can work out the best area in the warehouse for storage, and can facilitate the stock’s movement through the supply chain. All of which enables a company to keep its stride during those times of peak demand. And when a company can do that, they’ve fulfilled their customer-service mission.
In a nutshell
Good warehouse management results in satisfied customers. It’s as simple as that. And a good inventory management system can be a big help in achieving those goals.
To learn more about Cin7 Core, click here for a 20 minute consultation with one of our experts.