Though the COVID-19 pandemic forced many consumers to cause the spike in online shopping, they are willing to pay more for the convenience it provides. Aside from the safety offered by purchasing items online, the personal touch provided by shoppers adds value to the service of buying things that were requested by others. This might have led to the rise of fulfillment centers, as entrepreneurs take the opportunity to meet demand as fast as possible and as well as they can.
You probably experienced the benefits of this uptick in delivery services and found yourself willing to pay for the delivery fees. At the same time, you might have had some frustrations toward the supplier, the seller, or the delivery man because of the mishandling of your order. Finding a solution to this problem will help you avoid costly mistakes and will keep your business operational.
Here are three ways in which business owners can improve their fulfillment centers for both their consumers and their employees:
1. Technology To Improve Efficiency
Machinery and equipment have adapted to the need for a more efficient way of performing tasks compared to humans. For instance, high-tech autonomous guide vehicles can work around the warehouse to move items from one place to another. This means there is an option of having an unmanned vehicle to do all the lifting in the storage facility, ensuring the safety of employees from possible accidents.
Since accidents affect productivity, they can reduce efficiency in the workplace. By using technology as a placeholder for humans, common errors can be avoided, and workers will no longer have the risk of being injured or have future medical concerns because of their work. People who lift heavy objects over extended periods are more likely to develop serious conditions like a hernia.
2. Customer And Worker Experience
Fulfillment centers have a reputation for poor management of workers and mishandling of the customer’s orders. Some companies are accused of human rights violations due to employee claims of being deprived of bathroom breaks while customers complain about broken items or misshapen packaging. For managers of fulfillment centers, ensuring that none of these stereotypes happen in the workplace should be a priority. It can affect employee morale and their reputation in the logistics industry.
Employees should be granted proper working conditions to improve their focus and overall productivity. This can have a positive impact on how they handle the packaging and the orders of clients and their loyalty toward the company. By uplifting employees, the management can have a more stable labor resource and a better reputation among their stakeholders. Since social consumerism is on the rise, this can help them be relatively favorable compared to other logistic providers in the same industry.
3. Space And Lighting
A fulfillment center holds inventory, a packaging area, and a receiving area. It could also have offices and break rooms for the employees. Depending on the items being shipped, some buildings need to have cold storage as part of their design because of temperature-specific requirements. Therefore, anyone managing and owning a fulfillment center must consider the space and energy costs involved in maintaining its operation.
There has to be a clear floor plan that anyone entering the facility should be oriented on. This prevents them from entering areas that may be unauthorized for safety purposes as there is usually heavy machinery on factory floors. Furthermore, the floor layout has to aid in the efficient movement of workers from one place to another. These plans have to avoid backtracking to reduce bottlenecks as employees go about their tasks.
The lighting in the facility also has to be considered. Using motion-activated lights can be a way to save on energy costs, compared to having them on all the time. After all, the rooms where inventory is kept are not always used because workers can schedule visits to maximize the light being used, taking what they need for the next upcoming orders. However, some factories work on a 24-hour schedule, making the high energy costs unavoidable.
Although fulfillment centers have a bad reputation, they still provide the necessary services that meet the growing demand for fast delivery services. They are still important for the economy that seeks to thrive against the detrimental effects of the pandemic. It can even be argued that they provide essential services to their stakeholders and new job opportunities for their employees. Managers need to find a way to balance the interests of profit and human safety while serving customers around the world.