The holiday shopping season is ramping up, and reducing the time between when customers hit the ‘Buy Now’ button and when the order arrives on their doorstep is paramount for securing first-time and repeat business. But how can you reduce that timeline even further with hyper-efficient picking, packing, inventory management, and other order fulfillment strategies?
In 2022, the average cart size during the “Cyber Five” days1 was 3.2 items, with orders running the gamut, from single-item carts to dozens of items in a single order. To keep up with demand, your warehouse needs the bins and picking technologies that will get the job done.
At Flex Containers, it all starts with having the correct bulk container solutions. We’re a leading provider of bulk box containers, stackable boxes, warehouse bins, and everything in between, and we’ve produced over 66 million containers for use in standard and custom warehousing solutions.
Our bulk box containers are rigid and durable containers that can store or house goods safely during transportation. Each container can hold hundreds of units of individually wrapped goods for easy picking and fulfillment. Our bulk containers already provide value for businesses in various sectors, from pharmaceuticals to apparel and consumer goods. Take a closer look at how having suitable storage containers can help you reach more of your goals this holiday shopping season.
Ensuring Adequate Stock Levels
During the holiday seasons, online sales rapidly increase, especially for trendy consumer goods. Far from just including popular gift purchases, 3PLs and warehouses see a rapid surge in demand for holiday decor, home goods (like dishware and accessories), and winter-season items. At PC distribution centers and warehouses across the country, suppliers need to be able to address this demand quickly and through several phases:
- Phase 1: Organizing and sorting larger loads of goods for distribution across hub-and-spoke warehouses.
- Phase 2: Conveying large containers of goods throughout individual warehouses.
- Phase 3: Picking up items at the individual order level.
Companies need to constantly monitor inventory levels at each of these phases and throughout multiple custom or transitional stages. By standardizing bulk container solutions, 3PLs and individual companies can easily track inventory, even in large volumes. They can also have employees monitor the stock levels of goods in separate bulk boxes to replenish the contents or replace boxes when numbers get low. This vital sorting practice can help companies stay efficient during standard business cycles. It can also help support peak demand or buying trends during the holidays, as you can refill and reorder popular goods more quickly.
Backup inventories of different products can then be housed in separate bulk containers in other parts of the warehouse, waiting for transition to the picking portion of the floor.
First In, First Out
A “first in, first out” systematic approach to order fulfillment is crucial for most types of inventory. Consumables need to reach store shelves or individual consumers long before the expiration date. Packages and branding of evergreen goods will also change over time. First in, first out (FIFO) systems’ core objective is selling the oldest inventory first to minimize the risk of continually housing older, outdated, or lower-valued inventory. This philosophy means businesses must build precise systems where the oldest available stock is also the first stock loaded onto delivery trucks.
Building standard or customized systems that incorporate bulk containers helps achieve this. FIFO requires detailed inventory records and warehouse management systems. Operators scan in bulk containers of goods, mark that date in their records, and prioritize the bulk container accordingly. The containers can be easily stacked, pushed through in-warehouse conveyor systems, and quickly organized according to data on their labels and on-container receipt dates.
Companies that use automated technologies can label bulk containers according to date and contents, house the boxes, and then ensure the bulk with the targeted label goes to the next warehouse or retail store. By using FIFO practices and timing the duration of each bulk container before a refill is necessary, companies can more reliably forecast demand and avoid holding excess inventory after the holidays.
Cycle Counting for Accuracy
When products are moving worldwide and across the country to different distribution centers, having an in-depth inventory management system is business-critical. However, a disconnect between physical inventory availability and what digital records declare in different fulfillment locations can vary significantly. Digital records may only partially account for lost or stolen goods, goods in transit, or goods stored in the wrong location within a specific warehouse. When goods are left to sit in marked pallets and boxes, valuable inventory can disappear. Such mistakes wreak havoc on recordkeeping and fast order fulfillment.
Cycle counting and recurring inventory audits are vital to combat this. Before the holiday season begins in earnest, companies should compare physical bulk containers and inventory counts against digital records and reconcile differences. During inventory audits, operators can deep clean storage areas and prepare their facilities for the holiday rush.
Fulfill Orders Faster This Holiday Season With Bulk Container Solutions From Postal Totes
Bulk containers used within your automated systems offer several advantages for businesses throughout the warehousing and eCommerce industries. They assist with day-to-day operations by facilitating faster, more standardized picking and transportation. These products also help with administrative tasks, inventory auditing, and inventory management. Bulk containers are the hardware of innovative, efficient inventory management systems for businesses that see fluctuating demand and unpredictable cycles during the holidays.
At FlexCon Containers, we provide bulk containers and inventory solutions to over 76% of all Fortune 500 companies. Reach out today to speak with a specialist about getting the perfect containers for your warehouses this holiday season.