Our Global Geniuses Answer Your Top E-commerce Questions
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The e-commerce sector is vast, with sole proprietors competing alongside multinational giants for customers’ attention. But some of the biggest issues they face are consistent regardless of scale. In this article, Global Industrial’s product experts tackle a few of the most common questions they get from e-commerce operators.
How do I determine how much shelving and storage I need?
This is a great question, and we hear it all the time. Senior product manager Michael Janiszewski offers a couple of suggestions:
Storage space is always at a premium. New buildings and expansions provide more space but come at a huge cost. You may be surprised by how a new rack and shelving system relieves space congestion and saves your capital budget for other priorities. But it’s important to take time to investigate your storage system options. The right one lets you access items quickly and supports a cleaner, safer workplace.
Consider these questions as you get started:
- Do you store a lot of items in a small area?
- How frequently do you need to access the items? Are they part of a workflow?
- Are you storing uniquely shaped items, bulk items, or extra-large items?
Going vertical with storage space has also been a trend in the last few years, with customers investing in mezzanines to increase their space utilization.
When you’re ready to expand or upgrade your storage and shelving needs, keep Global Industrial in mind. We can help with more than 72,000 storage and shelving items to choose from.
Fatigue is an issue on the job. What products can I use to make it easier to move materials around my facility?
Our safety and services manager, Eric Reuscher, shares his advice:
In today’s world, we have more product, fewer workers, and are feeling the pressure to move faster than ever before. This situation has intensified the need to protect employees from heat stress or cold weather and material handling injuries. There are a few ways to keep your workforce energized, productive and safe.
One way is by using mechanical and engineering solutions to move products. This includes manual hand trucks or battery-powered hand trucks, pallet jacks, tilt trucks, pumps, and conveyors. Each one helps employees get more done with less effort, which can have a knock-on effect on recruitment and retention.
The right personal protective equipment can also keep workers healthy and on pace. For cold conditions, make sure coats, overalls, and gloves are available. This isn’t limited to weather: Employees who work in freezers and refrigerators also need protection from cold temperatures. The same care and concern apply to heat. Lightweight clothing and cooling towels and tents can help mitigate heat illnesses.
Don’t forget hydration, which is critical in all cases. We carry dozens of sports drinks, which can be made available to your workers to help them replenish electrolytes.
Your people are your most valuable assets. A modest investment in keeping them safe and fatigue-free will pay back dividends in productivity and goodwill.
How can I make my packing station more efficient?
We’re turning this one over to product manager Roslyn Gendjoian:
Think critically about every step that goes into your operation’s packing process and how your workstation accommodates those needs (or not). Are commonly used items difficult to reach? Does replacing a depleted item require traveling across your facility? Is the work surface cluttered?
An efficient packing station removes unnecessary steps from the order preparation process. Here are a few tips for making your packing station work for you:
- Keep the work surface clear for easier order consolidation.
- Determine which packing materials are used most frequently and store them close to the packer.
- Ensure backup materials are close by, making use of extra storage space under the packing workbench or on adjacent carts, shelving, and shop stands.
- Consider putting anti-fatigue mats underfoot to reduce strain on packers and enable them to work for longer stretches of time.
Having the right setup can help your team fill orders faster. Global Industrial offers packing workstation options to accommodate nearly any packing requirement, and the shipping supplies needed to get the job done.
What can my small or midsized company learn about order fulfillment from the big distributors?
We work with a wide range of distribution operations. Here’s what our distribution expert Anthony Carrotta has to say:
The pandemic has forced everyone to stock more SKUs and manage an unprecedented number of inventory turns. Their challenge and yours is to manage high-velocity inventory, including the pressures of having to deliver multiple small orders.
Here are five ways large distributors optimize their operation for high-performance e-commerce fulfillment:
- Stock fast-moving SKUs and related products across multiple pick zones.
- Fast track single line orders through faster process flow.
- Utilize multiple pick methods (racking, pick mods, put walls, and sorters).
- Right-size box packing for shipping.
What looks like success for order fulfillment is continually evolving, and so it pays to study how larger operators structure their workflows for efficiency. With more than 14,000 shipping and packing materials to choose from, we can help level the playing field with fulfillment materials you need to compete at any level.
Whether you need to expand your storage, equip your workers, or improve your fulfillment processes, Global Industrial is here for you. Contact our product experts today for answers to all your e-commerce questions.
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