Same Day Shipping – Some Thoughts
Perhaps your supply chain company is switching to a same-day shipping promise as a result of changing customer needs. You might be involved in a new 3PL venture specializing in time-critical shipping. Maybe you’ve been hired to stop the rot in a same-day shipping organisation that’s not meeting its goals.
Whatever the reason, this post will help you to organize for same-day success. The following five tips offer some guidance on where to put your management focus for a more efficient and flexible same-day shipping operation.
1) Develop Flexible Processes
In a same-day shipping environment, workloads can vary dramatically over the course of a day. Your warehouse team needs to be able to adapt fast to sudden changes in order volume. You need processes that support flexibility, especially with regard to picking. For example, you will probably need to enable all of the following process variants:
- Dividing large orders among multiple picking operatives.
- Picking of mid-sized orders individually
- Picking of numerous small orders together in a single pass of the picking route
2) Invest in the Best Tools and Equipment
It’s not easy to maximise efficiency in a same-day shipping operation, so you need to leverage every small advantage. That means all the equipment and tools used by your workforce must be made to a high standard and kept in tip-top condition, as well as being readily available and easy to locate.
Cutting corners and costs in this aspect of your operation will expose you to wasted time and motion in your warehouse—something you can ill afford in a same-day shipping environment.
3) Keep a Pristine Picking Area
When all customer orders must ship on the day of capture, you can’t afford to waste even a moment of picking time. You can’t allow your warehouse operatives to waste time moving or working around clutter in the aisles. There is no space for an empty pick face or storage location errors.
What this means is that your warehouse house-keeping must be exemplary. The warehouse should be tidied and prepared before every scheduled shift start time and you should have somebody performing (and supervising) house-keeping throughout warehouse operating hours.
4) Give your Operation Space to Breathe
Choose your warehouse carefully, especially with regard to floor space. A same-day shipping operation needs a greater floor area then non-expedited logistics, especially in the marshalling and dispatch area.
5) Implement a Good WMS
The better your workforce is supported by technology, the more productive they can be. Investing in a capable WMS solution can help to keep things organized in an environment where timescales are compressed and peak workloads must be completed inside very small time windows.
A system that can send an operative to pick an item which isn’t in stock, for example, has no place in a same-day shipping DC or warehouse.
Other Same-Day Shipping Considerations
In addition to following the five guidelines above, running an effective same-day shipping operation will require consideration in other areas such as workforce flexibility, cross-training, use of dedicated troubleshooters, carrier pick-up times and contingency planning.
Same-day shipping is a different animal to less expeditious types of operation, but while it can be challenging, it’s never mundane. At the same time, it doesn’t have to be the chaotic nightmare that some logistics managers might imagine.
More than anything, same-day success is simply a matter of organization. Perhaps the primary leadership requisite is the ability to keep a workforce motivated and prepared to do what it takes to get those products shipped on time.