Scaling eCommerce Warehouse 101: 5 Tips to Perfect Your Fulfillment Center Operation


Most “how to improve your eCommerce business” guides emphasize the importance of having a great website. Yes, having a well-optimized website with a great user experience is essential, but the eCommerce business is much more than keeping your online shop tidy. The fulfillment center is what lies at the core of the eCommerce business.

If your warehouse operates at the highest level possible, you will be able to cut down operational costs, delight customers with on-time deliveries, and minimize the risk of damaging products. However, scaling up can disrupt your operations. 

With this in mind, we’ve come up with a list of five tips to help you perfect your eCommerce fulfillment center operation even when scaling up.

1. Use quality materials for palletizing and bundling products

When moving products in bulk, you will have to palletize them. Bundling products together is one of the best practices in a warehouse; it helps save space. It’s also often used when shipping products in bundles which often happens when you send products to other fulfillment centers. 

However, if you don’t do it properly, you risk palettes breaking down and damaging precious goods. It also results in inevitable downtime, which only piles up the costs even more.

You must switch to using quality strapping materials and durable strapping buckles to prevent that. It goes beyond using the quality strapping materials and buckles. You need to use the strapping solutions that are appropriate for your products. 

For instance, steel strapping is optimal for industrial equipment, and plastic is optimal for lumber. Polyester is a great replacement for steel strapping.

2. Maximize the use of vertical space

The next thing you can address is your racking practice. Are you making use of that vertical space? You are paying for the entire warehouse. Why not use the entire available space then? Expanding up is the most cost-efficient way of expansion. 

With the right racking solution and a couple of forklifts, you will be able to make the best use of your vertical space. What are the benefits of this investment? You will increase your eCommerce inventory capacity. Additionally, you will be able to improve product access and warehouse layout and increase safety.

With the best strapping practices, you will be able to lift your palettes without worrying about damaging goods.

3. Improve your labeling and signage

Ecommerce fulfillment centers often deal with high product velocity. It means that you need to be able to find the right products fast to keep those orders circulating at an efficient rate. If you go vertical, your labeling and signage needs will change, and you will need to improve your practices. One of the ways to improve it is to use long-range scanning.

Long-range scanning will make the lives of your warehouse operators easier. You will also improve barcode scan accuracy to streamline stocking and picking. However, most importantly, you will minimize the picking errors. 

With long-range scanning, your staff will be able to quickly and accurately locate inventory even if it is high on the rack. It can also help you improve transportation management if you are running your own logistics operation.

4. Automate your warehouse processes

The two most important processes in a warehouse include inventory management and order fulfillment. However, when you scale up, it becomes quite challenging to stay on top of these processes and keep them as accurate and efficient as they were when you were running a small operation. 

A warehouse management system can prove to be the most valuable tool in this scenario.

With a cutting-edge WMS, you will be able to completely automate your inventory management processes. You will be one click of a button away from listing your inventory, seeing exactly where products are, and accessing the incoming/outgoing shipments schedule. 

Your warehouse operators will also be able to get important notifications in real-time.

5. Is it time for an additional distribution center?

There are a few factors to consider when scaling up – the demand, your warehouse capacity, and distance from your customers.

If you do everything by the book and you see that you are lagging behind your orders, maybe it’s time to open an additional distribution center. That’s precisely what many companies in the niche did to be able to optimize their operations and offer one-day shipping. 

Opening a distribution center closer to the consumers will help you delight them with one-day shipping. It will make your eCommerce business more competitive. Additionally, you will be able to reduce the strain on your primary warehouse and focus on improving your core processes.

Scaling your eCommerce warehouse can be challenging. Fortunately, you can do plenty of things to make the entire process go over smoothly. Investing in reliable palleting solutions, maximizing the use of your warehouse space, and automating processes will enable you to scale up while ensuring high efficiency and optimal operational costs. 


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