Great Customer Experience
starts in the Warehouse

Introduction

In today’s modern world, superior customer experience is a key differentiator in a busy marketplace. if you can’t provide customers with what they want, when they want it, they simply go to a competitor. now, for those of you still questioning how important it is to provide superior customer experience to today’s buyers, consider this…

86% OF PEOPLE ARE WILLING TO PAY UP TO 25% MORE FOR A BETTER CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

So, having implemented all of the necessary communication/support channels for buyers, and trained your customer-facing staff to provide the best levels of service, that’s all you can do, right? Not quite. The fact is, with all the will and investment in the world, a company is only as good as its warehouse. Without the right tools, processes, and procedures in the warehouse, a company will struggle to distribute its products on time and to the right buyers – resulting in poor customer experience. Ultimately, making a sale is only the start of the process, it’s everything that comes after this point that will help to create an excellent relationship with customers.

If you’re looking to help your organisation generate more sales, revenue, and profit, then the focus must start in the warehouse. Many of your competitors may not yet have realised the important correlation between the warehouse and their business success, so now’s the time to act and stay ahead of the market curve. To help you gather the information you need, and to direct your focus towards the relevant areas of your operation, we’ve created this helpful guide. Simply read on to see how you can make sure your warehouse is the driving force behind your organisation’s growth.

Employee Engagement

When looking to improve processes and wider business results, employee engagement is a hugely important factor to consider. Engaged employees think more creatively and are more likely to suggest alternative processes and procedures to improve their role/output. In a warehouse environment, engaged employees who are actively looking for ways to streamline the way they work is a valuable asset for any business, and one that can ultimately have a massive effect on the company’s customer experience.

ENGAGED EMPLOYEES ARE 18% MORE PRODUCTIVE

To ensure your employees remain engaged and focused on potential improvements, start by including them in plans and discussions. Inform them of the importance of their role and the warehouse in general, and explain how their performance can ultimately improve business output and the customers’ relationship with the brand. Where necessary, offer your warehouse operatives learning and development opportunities so that they can become experts in their field and identify improvements much faster. Additionally, ensure they have the right tools for their role, as this will enable them to perform at an optimum level, remain engaged, and be better positioned to identify further opportunities for change.

When looking to improve your organisation’s customer experience through the development of warehouse processes, focusing on employee engagement may seem trivial. However, this investment in staff will pay dividends when the operatives themselves start to provide valuable suggestions and feedback. Not only will this mean that ideas are generated ‘at the coal face’, but change will be easier to implement if the initial idea came from the employees themselves.

Good Relationships With Suppliers

There are always strong arguments for consolidating suppliers and reducing the overall number of suppliers to an organisation – and rightly so. But, the real value of reviewing the current supply chain is to identify the organisations that provide the most ‘added value’. this means that over and above their product/service, what else do they do to help your business? in today’s crowded marketplace, it’s not simply a case of selling their products, it’s about opening discussions, providing advice, and doing their best to ensure that your business is given the best possible chance to succeed.

REDUCING SUPPLIERS CONTRIBUTES A 3.35% COST REDUCTION FOR INDIRECT SPEND AND A 9.18% REDUCTION FOR GENERAL EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES

So, start by reviewing your current and prospective future suppliers, and look for those that offer a consultative approach. This methodology means that instead of simply trying to generate a sale from you, these organisations will look to work with you, guide you, and empower your business. For example, let’s say you are looking for a warehouse storage solution. Of the suppliers you contact, 9 out of 10 suggest standard racking that they know is similar to your current solution. But then, the other supplier visits, carries out a full-scale review of your warehouse operation, and your business’ needs. From here they share their expertise with you and advise that you opt for a different form of racking entirely. As experts, they provide clear and concise reasons why this change would benefit your business and help streamline your processes.

Now, as you can see from the example above, if you just want to update your existing tools like-for-like, then there are a variety of suppliers who can help you. However, if you are looking to dramatically improve your warehouse procedures, your company’s output, and your brand’s customer experience, then look for industry-leading suppliers
that provide a consutative approach. A valuable partnership such as this can go on to become your competitive edge in the already busy marketplace.

Process Review and Amendment

Given how important and closely linked the warehouse operation is to a business’ success, it’s important to make sure that all processes and procedures are optimised. this guide has so far suggested a variety of areas which you can turn your attention to. however, to help you carry out a comprehensive review procedure, here is a simple checklist of factors to consider…

46% OF SMBS EITHER DON’T TRACK INVENTORY OR USE A MANUAL METHOD

Inbound Processes

  • Receiving – speed of dock to stock
  • Returns – enhance reverse logistics
  • Quality Control – exceed customer expectations

Inventory Management

  • Replenishment – stock products for faster order fulfilment
  • Cycle Count – eliminate downtime for costly physical inventories

Outbound Processes

  • Waving – plan and process what you need, when you need it
  • Picking – improve your accuracy
  • Packing and Shipping – reduce costs, stay on time

Visibility to Your Workflow – System Intelligence

  • Workflow Monitoring
  • Visibility Benefits – eagle’s-eye view of all processes and movement

With an estimated 35% of facilities experiencing ongoing picking error rates of 1% or more , this type of review and analysis of your operation will help to highlight areas which can be streamlined, improved, and if necessary, overhauled.

Conclusion

The previous statistic shows that following a good customer experience, buyers will continue to prioritise your brand for the next two years. this is a level of loyalty that some organisations can only dream of, and it’s all down to providing a good level of service.

24% OF CUSTOMERS CONTINUE TO SEEK OUT VENDORS FOR 2+ YEARS AFTER A GOOD EXPERIENCE

When it comes to customer experience, the entire organisation has a responsibility – from the customer-facing staff, to the finance team in a back office. And, as the warehouse operations manager, the landscape within which you can improve the business is, of course, the warehouse. It’s worth remembering too that a coordinated warehouse and high-performing workforce, mean a reduced level of stress and chaos for you too.

Effective and efficient processes within your warehouse mean smooth operations and happy customers at the end of the line. And this well-organised and streamlined approach is dependent on the tools and procedures you have in place. By utilising the knowledge of industry/product experts, it’ll be possible to make tasks simpler for you, your staff, and your business in general. And, of course, with a warehouse operating at optimum level, a business can be sure that it’s doing all it can to provide customers with an unrivalled experience.

What our clients say

Every time we look at an application, Locators approach it like a blank canvas and always recommend the best equipment for our business. Locators have proved themselves as a very reliable and proactive service provider by keeping our trucks working and our fleet costs as low as possible.

Adam Conrad
Group Transport Manager for Covers

Being able to work with one supplier for storage and materials handling has been a benefit to us. Locators managed the complete installation and ensured the correct materials handling equipment was specified for their design. They also service and maintain all of the equipment they have supplied and offer a rack inspection service to make sure our warehouse remains a safe working environment. We are very happy with our new facility and we believe we have made the best use of the available space.

Marc Congdon
Engineering Manager, Costa

We have worked with Locators for nearly 20 years. We are confident they can always make the best use of the space we have available and provide us with forklifts that are well suited for the long loads and other stock we have to move.

Colin Macgregor
Director, Y Goldberg

We purchased our first Toyota forklift from Locators 14 years ago for our farm. This truck has been very reliable and is still in service so we had no hesitation in deciding to purchase another Toyota machine. Locators recommended an electric forklift for our machinery depot as it is very quiet, has low running costs and does not create any pollution, making it ideal for working both inside and outside. Our operators are very pleased with our new Toyota truck and our business is very happy to be operating a forklift that has such a low impact on the environment.

Ed Smales
Director, NFFM

Locators installed the new racking system within a tight timeframe while our business was fully operational. They have provided us with a facility that has a similar storage capacity and reduced the size of our forklift fleet allowing us to lease one building instead of two. We are very happy with the outcome.

Paul Bickell
Nippon Express

Locators gave us the benefit of working with just one supplier for all of the storage and materials handling requirements of this project. By mixing 3 and 4 wheel trucks from the same model range, we have gained extra pallet locations and have the option to battery change between them and work multi-shift in the future. I was initially sceptical that electric trucks could replace LPG, but I am very pleased with the successful outcome of this project.

Mark Davis
Logistics Supervisor for Hall & Woodhouse brewery

We are very pleased with the change from an engine to an electric fleet. The trucks have been well received by our operators as they are comfortable and quiet to drive and give excellent protection from the elements. We even have the option and flexibility to use spare batteries and a simple battery change system if we ever want to work back to back shifts in the future. Locators also design, supply and install all types of racking and storage systems. They reconfigured the CooperVision warehouse for narrow aisle operation which increases the storage density and pallet locations. Locators supplied Aisle-Master articulated forklifts to work in this area.

Coopervision, Hamble

It is a great benefit to us that we have a single source supplier who understands the needs of our business. This saves us time, improves efficiency and ultimately reduces cost.

Richard Horrocks
Smurfitt Kappa