As anyone working in either, the fortunes of a warehousing operation and the ecommerce companies that use their services are, of course, intimately connected. Expansion of the ecommerce companies and their reach means expansion of the warehousing operations. But it works the other way around too – if an ecommerce venture is going to expand its operations, they need to make sure their warehousing and fulfilment operations are up to the task of dealing with the increased load which this will bring.
In fact, it is probably better to think of it this way round because warehousing operations and their relative workload are downstream from the ecommerce ventures that rely on them. Furthermore, there is always the fulfilment infrastructure out there to meet any increased demands on the part of the ecommerce ventures. Shipping and Handling of Texas, a company offering, among other things, cross dock services, say that the effective expansion of an ecommerce venture needs to go hand in hand with the fulfilment operation.
Very rarely will this involve any structural changes to the warehouse though. Warehouses and fulfilment services typically have many different clients and expansion on the part of one or two is not going to trigger a massive ramping up of operations. The trick then for ecommerce ventures on the cusp of expansion is to expand the network of fulfilment centers they use. This is partly to increase the load of orders that passes through them, but also to more effectively serve new customers who might be located further away.
One of the major problems facing small- to medium-sized ecommerce ventures is not quite an inability to experience growth, but an inability to handle growth when it comes along. Current operations might well have been sufficient to increase market reach and the popularity of the products, but if that is going to be translated into proper growth and higher profits, then a new distribution network often needs to be worked out.
Tips for Expanding Your Warehouse Network
But what does expanding your warehouse network actually mean? On the one hand, it certainly means seeking out new distribution centers in more far off places, but it also means streamlining the entire system and making it more efficient for a larger number of orders. Here are some tips for doing that:
Identify Import Needs
When an ecommerce company needs to start thinking about imports and exports, then this is a sure sign of growth. However, sometimes imports are required simply to manufacture new products or to meet particular infrastructure requirements. In such cases, international deliveries mean that a warehouse needs to be equipped to receive and process them. The main thing to consider here is the location of warehouses and their proximity to major ports.
Synchronize With Retail Needs
Going back to the beginning of this article where we talked about the fortunes of warehouse fulfilment services and ecommerce ventures being intimately connected, you need to consider where your customers are and how quickly they expect to receive their deliveries. The details of the actual orders you are receiving is essential information and will let you know if you need to enlist the service of more regional distribution services.
The last thing to do when your ecommerce venture grows is to consider what types of products you are now selling and whether they need specialized warehouses. Splitting your products between different warehouses dependent on product type is a wise move for optimizing ecommerce fulfilment.
Ultimately, ecommerce needs warehousing operations, but they need to be at the appropriate level for the business they are doing.