E-commerce BoomThe emergence of e-commerce, with its demands for fast and flexible customer service, has had a major impact on most businesses. European online retail sales are expected to grow at a rate of 11% a year from 2012-2017. Forecaster Research says. The pace of growth will be fastest, at 18% a year, in southern European countries.

Before the recent recession eCommerce was, for most companies, a minority interest. A website was an additional advertising channel, an inexpensive way of promoting niche products or reaching obscure markets, but not necessarily a way of taking orders and money. It was not an obvious driver of significant growth and certainly not a phenomenon that would require a complete reappraisal of corporate operations, not least in warehousing and logistics.

Half a decade on, how different things look in this internet driven age, mounting pressures on warehouse space means having a highly responsive e-fulfilment operation will ultimately become critical to most commercial organisations.

Whether goods are heavy or light, large or small, fast moving or slow moving, the general popularity of pallet racking, does not appear to be diminishing, as products continue to be sold by the pallet. But can they be stored more efficiently…? Combine this with the correct racking system and this could save up to 40% floor space.

Whereas a well thought out and appropriate order picking area can help deliver a step change in warehousing performance and maximise productivity, cut operational costs and ensure order efficiency. With various hand picking storage solutions available, an important consideration is that of product locations verses picking strategies; creating the flexibility for this to be adjusted and extended as business evolvescan be crucial.

Specialised automated storage solutions offer considerable benefits, when handling a large number and wide range of relatively small items; These automated storage systems can condense required floor space by up to 70%, whilst reducing pick times up to 60% and improving error rates by up to 70%.

Often, the challenge is when an order consists of a variety of single items from around the warehouse. Each product has an optimum storage method and picking solution, but when the order needs collating, this is best achieved with a conveyor system, providing a seamless connection between various storage areas and allowing goods to reach a single destination for dispatch.

Combining all of the above into an efficient layout is a difficult and time consuming process, Dexion can help companies to visualise future scenarios and supply storage solutions that will benefit, not only the warehouse, but the entire online selling process.


By Brian