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    Retail Supply Chain Warehouse Consulting

    Retail Supply Chain Warehouse Consulting

    I) Challenges faced in Warehousing & Supply Chain

    #1 Instant Gratification

    With the same day and next day deliveries becoming the golden standard, the biggest challenge lies in fulfilling customer orders. While variety has its benefits, proliferation of products and channels is enhancing operational complications. While retailers refine their omni-channel strategies as a ticket to play, additional operational complexities directly impacts warehouse operations, working capital and operational costs.

    Further, 100% productivity is available to fulfill customer orders for delivery in numerous formats like inter-store-transfers, home delivery and alternative site collections through a cost-efficient approach for distribution. Retailers can use technologies to automate replenishment of stocks and minimize lost sales at their distribution centres. For this, SOPs need to be in place to mitigate stock wastage while limiting exposure to higher inventory levels, securing the supply base and using source products to arrive at the supply chain right in time. Data sourced from within the extended value chain further analyze events and scenarios to prevent sourcing risks and create alternative strategies to mitigate supply chain disruption.

    #2 Emphasis on Transparency

    Looking into the future, supply chain products will require financial infrastructure, enhancing operational efficiency, adding to the buyer-supplier association and build stronger supply chain partnerships. Commercial discussions offering fairness and transparency to all parties yield maximum benefits. Suppliers win, because there is clarity in terms of the invoicing procedure and amount due. For the retailer, it can provide better cash forecasting systems and processes.

    As cost of finance widens between weak and strong credit, this will boost better funding. Sophisticated reconciliation processes, improved cash flow predictions and simplified terms of payment offer back-office benefits as well. Suppliers with stable liquidity can also work on commercial advantage. For streamlining operations, an SOP proves invaluable in this context.

    #3 Last Mile Delivery Process Efficiency

    With the emergence of e-commerce channels, along with existing channels, time for order processing can be a real challenge in multi-channel retail supply chain and logistics. Customers placing an online order seek immediate delivery. On the other hand, batch orders by brick-and-mortar stores for in-stock takes an average of 2 to 7 days for last mile delivery from their distribution centre. New problems emerge when peak seasons come about, because it becomes difficult to process orders and give an assurance regarding delivery times. To overcome this, warehouses need to have well-defined processes for every channel, building enough process checks to ensure order processing in time, with a 100% capable WMS system to help managers check on order processing times and order fulfillment. For this, an SOP that lays out the components of effective WMS systems is essential.

    #4 Structuring Picking Processes

    In multi-channel retail logistics, D2C selling order volumes have risen, rendering conventional picking methods useless. A one-size-fits-all picking process cannot work, on account of this; warehouse managers must adopt different picking methods for bigger batch stock holding units as against the smaller ones.

    #5 Best Packaging Systems in Place

    Retailers need to have an understanding of how their products are optimally packaged before delivery when operating through multiple channels. The experience and expertise of multi-channel retail logistics partners becomes really important. It is essential to have consistency in the packaging method utilized at warehouses for products to make these more presentable to the end buyer.

    #6 Layout & Workflow Optimization

    Distribution centers need to rapidly process orders during peak demand seasons or hours. A well designed layout will ensure the timely delivery, especially during peak hours and efficient manpower productivity. Thus, a warehouse system design supporting the SOPs and WMS is of utmost importance and generally neglected while planning the layout infrastructure, wherein here a Warehouse Layout Expert from YRC can be the right decision.

    #7 Advent of Warehouse Automation Technologies

    Warehouse automation has become critical. But this is easier said than done. Bringing it all together and training the workforce is just the first step. SOPs for implementation of automation technologies are essential, too. Mechanization can bring certain implementation and procedural concerns to the surface. Resources employed in warehousing operations must be engaged with the right training and guidance, contributing to the development and making operations simpler. This will boost warehouse operations efficiency.

    II) Why YRC offers the Best Warehouse Consulting Services

    Strengthening multi-channel logistics is the key to fulfilling the demand of end customers. Changing trends in the industry, different behavior patterns of buyers, government regulations etc, all concerns the industry. To overcome the challenges, inventory management consultant and supply chain management consulting services provider Your Retail Coach is your trusted choice. Warehouse operations consultant, YRC excels at retail inventory management and is among the premier inventory management consulting firms.

    Warehouse space planning consultant team at YRC will meet your every requirement in the field of warehouse, supply chain and inventory management. Warehousing remains one of the most critical connections in multi-channel retail logistics and experts can get hands on expertise in this domain. YRC’s team of supply chain experts have tackled the hardest supply chain issues and obstacles. We combine unmatched expertise, critical analysis and cutting-edge SOPs to facilitate change management and ensure retail companies deliver sustained results across time.

    III) About Retail Supply Chain Warehouse Consulting

    The warehouse management process is complex, given the way this industry is expanding. The warehousing and logistics services have experienced further disruption through digital technologies. Emerging alternative business models and changing consumer trends add to the mix. Sustained and profitable growth is becoming challenging. To address the challenges of today and tap the opportunities of tomorrow, every retailer needs a warehouse management system (WMS) consultant they can rely on. Operating a supply chain at peak efficiency is not enough. In today’s business ecosystem, customer expectations have become more complex. Fragmentation of chains and shortened cycle times necessitate that supply chains should be agile to successfully respond to business pressures and global trends.

    Demand for products is becoming more fragmented, complex, volatile and diverse. It is happening just as companies are facing more economic and technological pressure, as business markets and manufacturing locations are constantly shifting. Due to increased interdependency at each level, supply chain networks are susceptible to disruptions. Supply chains need to be more adaptive for determining company’s success. In fact, supply chain and warehousing strategies must support the overall business strategy. The most effective, adaptive supply chains are responsive, smart and resilient.

    KPMG estimates that by 2021, leading retailers will shift from on-the-shelf availability to on-demand, providing 100% product availability for fulfilling customer orders. A company with on-demand supply chains can grow sales by 4%, cutting operating costs by 10% and inventory reduction by 30%, according to KPMG. Supply chain warehousing is set to touch new heights of innovation, as retailers have improved store clustering and customer segmentation through Big Data analysis and advanced clustering techniques. This supports better optimization of the mix of products, as well as the pricing, promotion, launch, planning and marketing spend. Effective inventory management using new warehousing technologies is on the anvil.

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    We work only for Visionaries.

    PROCESS AUTOMATION

    The idea of having Ecommerce Consultants on-board from the beginning itself points towards reducing the involvement of the promoters in daily operations. Ecommerce Businesses willing to be a brand reaping profits & sustaining the competition must ensure that most of their processes should be automated. The more the manual intervention, the more would be the errors.

    In Ecommerce business, you get only 1 chance to impress the customer & if you mess up there, you lose the customer for long.

    Process automation in respect to all the activities pertaining to customers from order receiving to order fulfilment is a must for a seamless experience for the customers.

    Task Management is another grey area where most deadlines fail as 90% of the tasks are assigned manually & are forgotten, unheard, misunderstood or mistaken.

    YRC Team of Ecommerce Management Consultants helps to make maximum of the processes system-driven to ensure minimalistic manual intervention.

    VIDEOGRAPHY & PHOTOGRAPHY

    No matter how good your product is, the customer would know only if it looks good.

    Photography includes the following steps:

    • Cataloguing your products
    • Cataloguing your images
    • Backup your images (A few cloud storage solutions include Dropbox, Google Drive, Bitcasa, Apple’s Cloud Storage etc.)
    • Choose the right camera & lens (You may also outsource the photography to a third party agency)

    DIGITAL MARKETING

    Digital Marketing includes SEO & SMM. SEO i.e. Search Engine Optimization includes activities like back-linking, meta tags, blog-writing etc. to ensure your website ranks on the 1st page on Google Search.

    Next comes SMM i.e. “Social Media Marketing” which as the name suggests including promoting your products on all the social media sites, email marketing, influencer marketing & several other BTL activities.

    These activities are going to be recurring & would decide the traffic on the website, the conversions, whether the right target market is tapped, the likes, the views, the orders, the reviews & much more. YRCs Ecommerce Consultants create a budget for digital marketing right from pre-launch to launch & for each month thereafter.

    Building digital marketing strategies in coordination with the agency, selecting them to signing them off would be the role of YRC.

    This ensures seamless coordination, detailed interactions & desired execution as it is always advisable to work with a single agency than multiple of them.

    IT INTEGRATION

    Selection of the right software for smooth functioning of back-end operations right from production to webstore display would be suggested and integrated by YRC Team.

    YRC’s Team defines SOPs of Product Movement, maps it with the locations & people. They then create a blueprint of all the features required in the software & help in shortlisting & selection.

    IT Integration involves connecting your offline inventories with real-time online webstore so when a sale occurs, inventories get deducted real time across offline as well as online platforms.

    This helps in accurate inventory management, maintaining the MOQs, re-order levels & achieving the optimum inventory levels.

    Some popular software include unicommerce, viniculum for your front-end website management & Genisys for your entire back-end Purchase, Production, Accounting, Invoicing etc. management.

    WAREHOUSE & LOGISTICS PLANNING

    • How many cities or countries you wish to sell in?
    • Where should your Warehouse be located?
    • Should you have one warehouse in each country or city?
    • Should you be having your own delivery team in your base city?
    • Would the 3rd party vendors be reliable? What happens when they lose or misplace your product during delivery?
    • How should I manage the logistics if my goods are coming from different countries?
    • How should the goods be stored and barcoded?
    • How much space do I require for warehouse?
    • I am sure several such questions must be haunting you while you think of starting your own fashion ecommerce brand.

     

    At YRC, our warehousing and logistics experts can help you devise a strategy for all of the above mentioned queries and much more.

    We design the layout of the Warehouse considering the inward, goods processing, software entry, barcoding, outward, goods return, scrap storage, goods stacking & much more.

    Logistics route plan is devised considering the manufacturer to your warehouse and from there to last mile delivery locations.

    UI & UX DESIGNING

    This Step involves 03 distinct parts:

    Part 1: Choosing the right Platform:

    From several platforms available in the market right from Shopify to magento, woocommerce, prestoshop, wordpress etc. you must choose the one that fits best for your business

    Part 2: UX Designing:

    “UX” denotes User Experience, which if put in simple language is building the functional requirements of the website.

    UX Designing includes designing the features required in the website, customer journey map, website features, the browsing features, navigation features, ecommerce order management process flow, checkout cart features, catalogue management, ecommerce payment system, cross selling features & much more.

    “As per statistics, 68% of the customers abandon the carts before payment”

    An interesting UX ensures the customer sticks on to the website for a longer time.

    Part 3: UI Designing:

    UI stands for User Interface, which means designing the look and feel of the website. UI includes using the right colours, elements and the entire aesthetics of the website.

    A good User Interface ensures the user completes the task that he has come for. It navigates the user through the journey of the brand in the simplest but most effective way.

    The UX designer maps out the bare bones of the user journey; the UI designer then fills it in with visual and interactive elements.

    If User experience is the bare bone, user interface wraps it up with an attractive cape.

    At YRC, our team if experts can help you develop the entire User Journey to ensure it is engaging!

    SAMPLING & PRODUCTION

    This step follows the “Designing” Phase, whether you have an in-house design team, freelance designers or an outsourced design company. It is one of the most exciting phases, as here you see your designs turning into products & your ideas turning into reality.

    In most start-up cases, production is outsourced i.e. brands tie-up with the established manufacturers/ job-workers to get their products manufactured.

    Sampling involves multiple 04 Stages, Fit-Sample, Prototype Sample, Pre-Production Sample & the Production Sample.

    Prototype Sample is the first sample provided to the buyer. It can be in any fabric/ colour. This sample is just to understand whether the product design looks equally great in reality.

    Fit Sample, as the name suggests is prepared to check the fit of the garment i.e. the various sizes, length, width etc.

    Pre-production is made by the actual production line. Here the stitching quality and other aspects related to manufacturing are checked. This is the last stage where rejection can be accepted.

    Production Sample is made before the production which is the replica of what is going to be finally produced.

    Once you are through with all this, you are good to go ahead & get your goods manufactured.

    PRODUCT DESIGNING / SOURCING

    Product Designing or Sourcing is the heart of the Ecommerce Fashion Brand.

    Product Designing / Sourcing can be done in several ways, as follows:

    • In-house Design Team
    • Freelance Designers
    • Outsourced Design Team
    • Ready Product Sourcing (From Manufacturer or Wholesaler)

    At YRC, we evaluate your business strategy & business model to arrive at the decision, which of the above ways would be best-fit for your business. In certain cases, product sourcing may be a combination of the above.

    These are the people who are going to build your brand! Whether they are the designers or merchandiser, your brand look is going to be in their hands.

    If you are designing each garment from the scratch, the sourcing would play crucial role in developing design identity of your brand.

    Sourcing includes fabric, trims, lining & all the raw material required to build the garment.

    BRANDING

    Branding is the “Look of the Brand”, right from logo to tagline, the colours used, the brand story, the brand communications on social media, the packaging & all the other aspects which speak directly or indirectly to the customers. Branding constitutes the look & feel of the brand & hence must be thoughtfully planned to match with the product that we are selling.

    Branding must appeal to our target audience. Example : A golden colour logo depicting finesse, art, richness, premium, however beautiful it may be individually cannot go with a brand selling affordable kids wear products. So, your logo must be in-line with your brand positioning, whether you are an expensive brand or a luxury brand or a value for money brand, it must be depicted from your “Branding”.

    It is an integral part to attract the target audience.

    ORGANOGRAMS & SOP’s

    Organogram is the “HR Blueprint” of the business which is created at the onset, to map out the team required across each function at various stages of the business. At the launch, only key people need to be got on board to ensure the project gets started & at this stage, all of them need to multi-task. Similarly, certain financial as well as operational goals are set for addition of the further team. Example, for the operations team, we hire 1 operations manager during the pre-launch phase & we add 1 more only when the business kicks-off & we reach a volume of selling more than 1000 pcs/ month or a turnover of more than 0.1 million USD.

    SOPs are Standard Operating Procedures, a bible to run the entire organization right from Sales, Purchase, HR, Order receiving to Order fulfilment, Inventory Management, Accounts, Warehouse, Logistics, Supply Chain, Production & all the other relevant functions for the business. Business must be organized from its first day of operations; only then the tasks can be delegated.

    At YRC, we design the organization structure, the processes, and approximate time taken to execute each process, job profile of every member within the organization, their KRAs, KPIs & the Reporting Structure.

    CRITICAL PATHWAY

    Critical Pathway Analysis (CPA), is a project management technique which cannot be overlooked while launching an ecommerce fashion brand. Brand launch process is cumbersome with multiple inter-dependent & time-bound tasks involved, which need to be tracked to ensure the project remains on track.

    CPA outlines key tasks across the project, their turnaround time (TAT) & the dependencies of tasks upon each other. It identifies the sequence of tasks, their interdependent steps from inception to completion, their criticalities, and their dates of onset, target dates of completion along with the key responsible person for the respective activities. Critical Pathway helps in understanding the unimportant & not urgent tasks which may jeopardize the execution of the project because of an unexpected snag! It also maps out the potential bottlenecks which might be posed because of the dependencies of tasks upon each other & cases where the next task cannot be commenced before the completion of the previous one.

    CPA detects the minimum & the maximum time involvement of a particular individual or team to execute the task, thereby arriving at the overall deadlines associated with the project.

    At Your Retail Coach, we design the Critical Pathway & review it periodically to ensure the project is on track & the progress is measurable.

    BUSINESS STRATEGY & BUSINESS PLAN

    Business Strategy includes the vision, mission, goals, business model, business plan & strategy for all the functions within the organization.

    Business Strategy is a well-defined plan that outlines who, what, where, why, how & when for the company; for example, who would be the target market, how to attract the target audience, when to launch new products, where to operate from, how to handle competitors, what would be the USP, what would be long term goal of the organization & several other answers to the 5Ws of Strategy.

    Business Strategy aligns the organization towards a common goal. Business SWOT helps company to identify & overcome their weaknesses & focus to sharpen the strengths. Business strategy forecasts future risks and helps business in building skillsets to overcome the potential threats.

    YRC’s Business Plan focuses on creating a “Blueprint” of the business, thereby deriving the feasibility of the concept & gauge whether the opportunity is lucrative to invest time, energy & effort. Business Plan creates cash flow understanding i.e. building inflow & outflow cash projections from Week zero to week 60 i.e. 05 year projection. Business Plan calculates the capital investment, operating costs, one-time costs, recurring costs & all the other numbers relevant to obtain the breakeven sales, return on investment, return on capital, internal rate of return & several other ratios. Business Plan is also one of the important requirements if you are targeting the “Investor Route”. Fund raising becomes extremely transparent & channelized. With business plan panned out clearly, the business will know until what point must it be stretched & where to stop, which reduces the probability of unplanned investments.

    MARKET RESEARCH

    Starting the concept of Ecommerce Fashion brand with Market Research ensures we get detailed understanding of the industry & this research report also acts as a social confirmation for your concept. Market Research helps in understanding the target locations, their population, potential online buyers for your product, competitors for each category, and top selling products of the competitors, competitors’ price range, offers & their responses & much more. Market Research helps in thorough understanding of your brand position as compared to our competitors. It helps in identifying gaps in the market, in your category along with the scope of the said product in the desired market. This will help in validation of your concept & prevents you from making the same mistakes as your fellow brands, eventually saving your time, energy & efforts. This phase is also a make or a break phase, as the market research study may at-times come up with some eye-popping numbers & statistics which might compel you to re-think on your product or category that you are planning to sell or alter your entire concept itself!! Market Research Reports analyse the competitors’ webstore for their traffic, conversion & sales. This is extremely valuable information to derive our inventory budgets & projections, which takes us to our next phase.