Top 5 Articles for Understanding the Key Takeaways of 2023

As we wave goodbye to 2023, let’s reflect on the year’s most-read and insightful articles that have shaped our understanding of the ever-evolving business landscape. Whether 2023 met your expectations or surprised you with unforeseen challenges, it undeniably unfolded as a narrative worth exploring. Throughout the year, our focus has been on sharing articles designed to guide retailers through the twists and turns of 2023, preparing them to navigate the complexities ahead. Let’s delve into the top five articles that offer indispensable insights and the key takeaways of 2023 for a successful future ahead.

Unleashing Innovation and Key Takeaways from Seamless Middle-East 2023

“In the ever-changing retail landscape, we wave goodbye to the era of stores as mere transactional spots. Now, they’re vibrant contributors to a bustling omnichannel ecosystem, having transformed profoundly. The lines are blurred across digital and physical realms, and now is the opportune moment to embrace this transformative shift.”

This seismic change took center stage at Seamless Middle-East 2023, where discussions revolved around the implementation of services like buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) and click-and-collect. These services empower customers to place orders online and conveniently pick them up at designated locations. The spotlight also shone on the importance of personalized recommendations, leveraging customer data and advanced analytics, as a crucial element in crafting innovative omnichannel strategies.

Furthermore, the integration of cutting-edge technologies such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and interactive displays was emphasized. These technological marvels are not just tools; they are the bridge between the online and offline realms, engaging customers and providing unique experiences that transcend the limitations of online interactions.

We’re starting off this countdown with our first post on Seamless Middle-East 2023 takeaways. Read it to get some perspective on how much has changed and the things that have stayed the same!

Top 5 Warehouse Management Systems in India for Optimizing Your Supply Chain Efficiency

The wave of the eCommerce revolution continues, as Forrester predicts a staggering $2.3 trillion in sales by 2024. The digital arena is no longer a playground; it’s a battleground where businesses are arming themselves with innovative strategies and tools to stay ahead in the relentless race.

In this blog, we have delved into the realm of Warehouse Management Systems (WMS), exploring the top solutions poised to redefine logistics and supply chain efficiency. Discover how embracing cutting-edge WMS technology can be the game-changer your business needs to navigate the complexities of the modern market landscape. Don’t just keep up—surge ahead with the top WMS insights for 2024.

How to Transform your Fashion Merchandising Strategy for Maximum Customer Satisfaction?

In the ever-shifting realm of fashion, a robust merchandising strategy is not a luxury but a necessity. Understanding the pulse of your customers is the need of the hour; without it, satisfaction remains elusive. Challenges abound in deciphering rapidly changing trends, staying ahead of competition, and meeting diverse customer expectations.

Thoughtful planning ensures product relevance, strategic buying navigates the market dynamics, and efficient allocation prevents stockouts or excess inventory.

This article emphasizes the critical facets of planning, buying, and allocation within a merchandising strategy. The trio synchronizes to optimize resources, prevent overstock or stockouts, and elevate the customer experience.

Technology at The Heart of Fashion Retail – Embracing Sustainability

“Balancing the alignment of supply with current and future demand is a longstanding industry challenge. Overproduction frequently arises when traditional processes, operations, and mindsets hinder retailers from effectively utilizing technology and data.”

In 2023, US retailers faced a concerning scenario with approximately $1.43 in inventory for every $1 in sales, highlighting a potential issue of overstock or excess inventory.

The concept of “sustainability” has been a buzzword in the industry for years, but its significance reached unprecedented levels in 2023 as retailers found themselves overwhelmed by mountains of unsold stock. Addressing the challenges of overproduction and excess inventory, this article explores the pressing need for sustainability in the fashion retail industry.

Anshuman Agarwal, COO and Co-Founder of Increff emphasizes that leveraging digital technologies enables retailers to not only become more agile but also embed sustainable practices at the core of their operations.

How to Increase Retail Sales During Peak Season: 3 Ways a Retail Tech Partner Can Help

According to Forbes, in the year 2023, eCommerce sales brought in 6.31 billion dollars, with 20.8% of that during peak season. By investing in the right technology solutions, retailers can equip themselves to handle the surge in demand during peak season and avoid costly mistakes. Furthermore, technology partners can provide valuable insights into customer behavior and preferences, enabling retailers to tailor their offerings for maximum impact and increase retail sales.

In this article, we will explore how the right peak-season technology partner helps you optimize your operations during peak-season sales, from inventory management to order fulfillment and more.

A few mentions of other top reads:

Best wishes for 2024!

In light of the numerous takeaways from 2023, a key resolution for many retailers in the new year is to embrace a fully data-driven approach. If you’re ready to take this leap, contact us to discover how Increff can assist you in becoming an agile, data-driven retailer and embed sustainability at the core of your operations. Here’s to a prosperous and insightful 2024.


How to put the customer at the center of everything you do to build great products, brands, and companies

Consumer science is the scientific method of forming hypotheses about customer behavior and then testing them. It is the best way to build a culture of customer obsession and to discover what delights customers in hard-to-copy, margin-enhancing ways.

In the current business environment, consumer science is essential for businesses to stay competitive and meet the ever-changing needs of their customers. By understanding what their customers want and need, businesses can develop products and services that are more likely to be successful.

How does consumer science empower the customer obsession mindset?

Customer obsession means a healthy preoccupation with customers’ unanticipated future needs. It is about using a mix of research techniques to put the customer in the center of everything you do so that you begin to see the product through their eyes.

Consumer science empowers the customer obsession mindset by providing businesses with a systematic way to learn about their customers. By using a variety of data collection and analysis methods, businesses can identify patterns in customer behavior and develop hypotheses about what customers want and need.

How does Netflix use consumer science?

Netflix is a company that is known for its customer obsession. The company uses consumer science extensively to improve its products and services.

For example, Netflix used consumer science to develop its recommendation algorithm. The company collected data on how customers watched movies and TV shows and used this data to develop an algorithm that could predict what customers would like to watch next. This algorithm has been one of the key factors in Netflix’s success.

Netflix also uses consumer science to improve its user interface. The company regularly conducts user tests to see how customers interact with its products and services. This feedback is used to make changes to the user interface that make it easier for customers to use.

How to start the revolution in your company?

If you are a product leader or engineering leader, you can start the revolution in your company by starting a discussion on the following questions:

  1. Does your company have well-defined matrices that help you in forming new hypotheses—and also educate your team about delights and margins?
  2. Do you have the ability to gather “sample data” from customers to build a trend line and identify mistakes quickly?
  3. Does your team meet and talk with customers to develop the “voice of the customer” within your organization?
  4. Do you have the ability to do A/B testing—and develop your product intuition?

There is just one more crucial requirement: Patience. Most companies struggle with this in the beginning, and becoming a great company takes about twenty years. Jeff Bezos says that Amazon followed three ideas for 18 years, and that’s what made them successful: Put the customer first. Invent. And be patient.

What are your thoughts on consumer science? How do you use consumer science in your company? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

You can read the original article written by Gibson Biddle.

Regional Utilization Smart Merchandising Warehouse Management

Riding the E-commerce Wave: Prepping for Peak Season Sales

The holiday season is the busiest time of the year for e-commerce brands. With the rise of online shopping, it’s more important than ever for brands to prepare for the peak season sale. In this article, we’ll discuss the steps you can take to ensure your e-commerce brand is ready for the holiday rush

Why Is peak season preparation important for e-commerce brands?

The holiday season is a crucial time for e-commerce brands to drive sales and revenue. In fact, according to Adobe Analytics, online sales during the 2020 holiday season reached $188.2 billion, a 32.2% increase from the previous year, and during the 2021 holiday season, online retail sales grew by 14.1% compared with the previous year.

With the increase in online shopping, it’s important for e-commerce brands to be prepared for the peak season to capitalize on the surge in sales. E-commerce brands must prepare for the peak season due to increased online competition and the need to meet high customer expectations to drive sales and revenue. This entails optimizing websites, offering attractive deals, and ensuring a seamless shopping experience, including timely shipping and easy returns, ultimately empowering brands to capitalize on the online shopping surge.

How to prepare your e-commerce brand for peak season sales?

Now that we understand the importance of peak season preparation let’s discuss the steps you can take to ensure your e-commerce brand is ready for the holiday rush.

1) Stock up on inventory

The last thing you want during the peak season is to run out of stock for your popular products. Make sure to stock up on inventory in advance to meet the increase in demand. Accurate inventory planning hinges on various factors, such as lead time, safety stock, planogram limitations, dynamic trends, and reorder thresholds.

Analyze your sales data from previous peak seasons to determine which products are most popular and make sure to have enough stock to meet the demand. You can also consider offering pre-orders for popular products to ensure that customers can still purchase them even if they are out of stock.

2) Ensure inventory accuracy across platforms

To ensure precise inventory and enhance customer satisfaction, deploy diverse inventory management methods. Begin by choosing a primary inventory management system, then seamlessly integrate it with various platforms. 

Many popular e-commerce systems provide APIs and apps for real-time cross-channel synchronization, a critical factor for multi-location sales. For further insights on streamlining warehouse operations during peak season sales.

3) Plan your pricing, promotions, and deals

Dynamic pricing during peak sales season is a savvy strategy to boost profits. It involves monitoring competitors’ pricing for similar products and adjusting yours to stay competitive. While this may entail occasional price reductions, it can also mean increases when warranted. 

Shoppers seek deals and promotions during the peak season, so plan and promote discounts, free shipping, and bundles in advance. Create urgency with limited-time offers and utilize effective merchandising solutions for pricing strategies and dynamic markdowns.

4) Prepare for shipping and fulfillment

During the peak season, shipping and fulfillment can become a bottleneck for e-commerce brands. Make sure to have a plan in place to handle the increase in orders and ensure timely delivery to your customers.

Consider a solution to help you optimize inventory distribution in a multi-warehouse network. Enhance proximity to customers, minimizing delivery time and logistics expenses effectively

Consider partnering with multiple shipping carriers to have backup options in case one carrier experiences delays. You can also offer expedited shipping options for customers who are willing to pay for faster delivery.

5) Streamline return management

Effectively managing returns is essential in the e-commerce business, especially as customers demand swift refunds and hassle-free return processes. This challenge intensifies during peak seasons, necessitating practical solutions. Utilizing software that allows sellers to record videos and streamline the SPF (Seller Protection Fund) claims process can significantly increase revenue and recoup losses from failed claims. Automate return procedures and offer convenience with curbside returns, ensuring a seamless experience for customers and retailers alike.

Other things to keep in mind

  1. Optimize your website– Your website serves as your brand’s digital storefront, making peak season optimization essential. Prioritize mobile-friendliness, quick loading, and intuitive navigation. Please do so during high-traffic periods to avoid slow loading, frustrating users, and losing sales. Test and enhance website performance in advance to guarantee a seamless shopping experience during peak season.
  2. Train your customer service team– In the high-demand peak season, a skilled customer service team is paramount. Training on products, policies, and procedures equips them to handle inquiries. Temporary staff can alleviate the workload, ensuring efficient customer support.
  3. Enable seamless cross-channel shopping behavior- Customers often navigate between online and offline channels. Only 10% start product discovery on a brand’s website. Retailers must ensure a seamless cross-channel experience, optimizing mobile apps and offering features like wishlists for in-store shopping assistance. Read more about implementing BORIS, BOPIS, and BOSS in the sales season
  4. Leverage technology– Technology is a game-changer for e-commerce in peak season. Personalize the shopping experience with targeted emails, product suggestions, and custom landing pages. Leverage automation tools for predicting inventory & sales, facilitating omnichannel, tracking progress, and return management.

Real-world examples of peak season preparation

Let’s look at how some successful e-commerce brands have prepared for the peak season in the past.


Amazon’s Prime Day, established in 2015, serves as a paradigm for peak season sales strategy. Held twice a year, this massive online shopping event features exclusive deals for Prime members, driving substantial sales. Amazon, a global e-commerce giant, excels in peak season readiness, commencing preparations as early as a year back. They stockpile inventory and employ temporary staff to manage surging orders. Moreover, Amazon entices customers and enhances sales through special peak season deals, such as the yearly Prime Day sale.

Another example is BFL (Brands for Less) Group, UAE’s leading off-price retailer for fashion and homeware. The brand was finding it challenging to manage busy warehouses and distribution centers efficiently. To discover how BFL overcame peak season challenges with Increff’s cloud-based warehouse management system.

Who is responsible for peak season preparation?

Peak season preparation is a team effort and involves multiple departments within an e-commerce brand, like planning and merchandising, warehouse management, website team, etc. However, the responsibility ultimately falls on the e-commerce manager or director, who oversees the entire process and ensures that all departments are working together to prepare for the peak season.


The holiday season is a crucial time for e-commerce brands to drive sales and revenue. By optimizing your website, planning your promotions, stocking up on inventory, and leveraging technology, you can ensure that your brand is ready for the peak season sale.

Make sure to involve all departments in the preparation process and have a plan in place to handle the increase in orders and customer inquiries. By following these steps, you can set your e-commerce brand up for success during the busiest time of the year.

Remember, the right technology partner can help you achieve your peak season goals and pave the way for long-term success. Book a demo today!

Warehouse Management

A more fulfilling season with retail’s dynamic trio: BOPIS, BOSS and BORIS

The festive sales season always brings a whirlwind of activity, and in the midst of this hustle and bustle, convenience reigns supreme for shoppers. Retailers have recognized the importance of providing in-store pickup and return options for online orders in this chaotic shopping frenzy. They’re leveraging their entire inventory, regardless of location, to ensure online shoppers can get what they want when they want it.

In this blog, we’ll delve into the importance of omnichannel retail, especially during peak season sales, where consumers have already cast their votes.

The above-presented data leaves no room for doubt – retailers have transcended the debate of whether to adopt omnichannel strategies. Instead, they find themselves at the cusp of a profound transformation, where hybrid models are erasing the boundaries between online and offline consumer experiences, fostering a dynamic omnichannel ecosystem. This evolution in shopping is a call to action driven by both consumers and retailers alike. 

At the heart of this transformation are retail stores themselves, which have evolved from mere transaction hubs into versatile fulfillment centers. They adapt with agility to meet the changing demands with innovative strategies like BOPIS (Buy Online, Pickup In-Store), BORIS (Buy Online, Return In-Store), and BOSS (Buy Online Ship to Store).

BOPIS, BOSS, BORIS: The Winning Trifecta for Modern Retailers

As more and more customers are opting for the convenience of online shopping over traditional in-store visits, the implementation of fulfillment options like BOSS (Buy Online Ship to Store), BOPIS (Buy Online, Pickup In-Store) and BORIS (Buy Online, Return In-Store) has become not just a choice but an essential strategy for retailers to thrive in this changing environment.

BOSS – Buy Online Ship to Store.

BOSS allows customers to place orders online, and instead of picking them up in-store or returning them in-store, the products are shipped directly from the nearest store location to the customer’s address. This approach optimizes inventory management and leverages the retail store as a mini-distribution center.

For Customers

  • Faster delivery
  • Reduced out-of-stock
  • Convenient local pickup
  • Improved product availability
  • Reduced shipping costs

For Retailers

  • Increased sales
  • Efficient inventory management
  • Faster order fulfillment
  • Reduced shipping expenses
  • Optimized store utilization

BOPIS: Buy Online, Pickup In-Store

BOPIS is a retail strategy that allows customers to shop online and then pick up their purchases at a physical store location. This approach has become increasingly important during peak season sales for several reasons:

For Customers

  • Convenience, cost savings, and safety
  • Avoiding shipping delays and crowds
  • In-store exploration

For Retailers

  • Increased foot traffic
  • In-store upselling opportunities
  • Reduced shipping costs, especially when dealing with high
  • order volumes during peak sales
  • Improved inventory management
  • Competitive advantage and customer loyalty

BORIS: Buy Online, Return In-Store

The third player in the mix, BORIS offers another layer of flexibility, convenience, and efficiency, especially when shopping frenzy and return rates soar. This approach not only elevates the shopping experience but also streamlines retail operations, proving its significance in bustling sales seasons with benefits including:

For Customers

  • Convenience and hassle-free return options, especially for gift purchases or impulse buys
  • Swift, in-store refunds or exchanges
  • Savings on return shipping
  • Personalized assistance and in-store help enhancing the shopping experience

For Retailers

  • Boosts store visits, aiding cross-selling during peak sales
  • Streamlines reverse logistics
  • Reduces reverse logistics expenses, vital during high returns
  • Reinforces physical store presence, enhancing brand trust
  • Fosters loyalty, generating repeat business and referrals

What makes BOPIS, BORIS, and BOSS possible:

What makes BOPIS, BORIS, and BOSS possible:

As the peak season sale looms, retailers are reimagining their approach to omnichannel strategies, catering to the convenience-craving consumer. In this retail showdown, each player holds the power to craft a unique festive game plan as there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Some opt to entice hordes of shoppers into their brick-and-mortar stores, luring them with exclusive discounts on in-store pickups. Meanwhile, others place their faith in dedicated distribution centers for online order fulfillment, with physical stores standing by as reliable reinforcements.

The omnichannel landscape, rich with possibilities, hinges on the effective deployment of the right technology and the training of employees to leverage it optimally. Those who tread this path aren’t merely eyeing sales objectives but are also curating customer goodwill, setting the stage for a promising and joyous festive season.

For more assistance on how to implement an omnichannel ecosystem for your brand, get in touch with our experts today.

Warehouse Management

How to Streamline Your Warehouse Operations During Peak Season Sales

The holiday season is here, and we all know what that means—sales and discounts! Both consumers and businesses look forward to this time of the year for major price cuts and a significant uptick in order volume, respectively. While it’s a great time for customers, peak season sales can feel like an all-out sprint for businesses managing warehouse operations. The stakes are high, the pressure is relentless, and the ability to meet customer demands swiftly and accurately can make or break a business. 

During this time, warehouses often face significant challenges, from inventory and space management to quick order processing, handling returns, and reverse logistics. All this while ensuring that orders are fulfilled on time, and SLA requirements are met. So, businesses must streamline their warehouse and supply chain operations to ensure they do not have missed sales opportunities. 

In this blog, we will explore how your can warehouse can streamline its operations during peak sales season with some of the best practices that can come in handy.

Top strategies to overcome warehouse operational challenges during sales season

1) Efficient Inventory planning and management

Historical sales data can come in real handy during this time. It can give you insights into how much uptick in order volume your business generally sees during the sales season. This will help you prepare inventory in advance. Without demand forecasting, you will either end up with too much inventory that will hog capital and precious warehouse space or too little stock that your business won’t be able to take full advantage of the sale. 

Past data can also help you identify the top SKUs that sell the most and s for the entire sale. All this might sound like a real hassle, but a capable merchandising solution can make it really easy, and, in addition, it will help you reduce inventory holding, increase revenue, and manage discounts.

Now, once you have the required inventory in the right amount, it is critical to have real-time visibility over it. This ensures that if a product goes out of stock, you don’t take orders and cancel them later, hampering customer experience. 

2) Fast order processing and fulfillment

During a typical sales season, the order volume can increase 4-5 times or even more. So, it is difficult for warehouses to manage and fulfill orders on time. However, it is also a non-negotiable part because delays in shipping can often lead to cancellations from the customer end, which means missed opportunities and profits. 

So, warehouses must make order picking and packing as efficient as possible. This can be done by implementing methods like batch or zone picking and using pigeon holes that are far superior to put-to-light systems that many warehouses still use.

Optimizing the warehouse layout is another easy way to streamline the order fulfillment process. For example, there can be a picking area close to the packing desk with inventory that is in high demand, ensuring easy accessibility. There can also be another area with QC checkpoints to manage returns.

3) Reduce dependency on skilled manpower

While it is essential to plan and have extra manpower during the sales season, the most optimal way is to reduce dependency on skilled labor altogether. Considering the high turnover rate in warehouses, it’s time for businesses to switch to a warehouse management system that does not need high technical skills to operate and is easy to learn. It reduces dependency and means new workers can be hired and trained much quicker in a labor shortage.

It can help reduce staffing costs by about 20-25% and also get new workers up to speed in a matter of hours. This is particularly important, especially during sales when thousands of orders are processed every hour. Such a system can also help automate manual tasks, which further reduces dependency on people.

4) Returns and reverse logistics

Handling returns and reverse logistics during peak sales seasons can be complex, but it’s crucial to maintaining customer satisfaction and ensuring smooth operations. So, to manage it efficiently, businesses need to look at past data that gives a general overview of the percentage of returns from total orders.

After getting an idea, a separate space can be designated (as per volume) in the warehouse with all the necessary quality checkpoints to process returns and get them back live on marketplaces as soon as possible. The faster the process is, the easier it will be for businesses to clear the inventory during the sales period. 

Best practices to follow during the sales season

The sales season is a great time for businesses to boost sales and profitability, enhance customer satisfaction, and build brand loyalty. Here are some of the best practices warehouses must implement to make the most of this festive season.

1) Customer communication: Businesses should maintain clear and proactive communication with customers by providing information about order status, delivery times, and delays. 

2) Quality control and assurance: It is important to implement stringent quality control processes to ensure that products meet quality standards before shipping. This can reduce quality-related returns, saving a lot of cost and time.

3) Omnichannel strategy: Businesses can maximize their sales by offering a seamless shopping experience across different sales channels. However, ensuring that inventory levels and pricing are consistent across channels is essential.

4) Supply chain resilience: Before the sale begins, enhance the resilience of your supply chain by diversifying suppliers and logistics partners. At the same time, develop contingency plans for supply chain disruptions and have backup suppliers in place.

5) Data analytics: By leveraging data analytics to gain insights into customer behavior, sales trends, and operational performance, you can make informed decisions and adjust your strategies in real time.

Final thoughts

Managing your warehouse operations efficiently during peak season sales should always be the first priority because it directly affects your business profitability. So, are you ready to elevate your warehouse management and thrive during peak sales seasons? Discover how Increff tech driven solutions can streamline inventory management, reduce costs, and boost customer satisfaction. 

Contact us today for a demo and take the first step towards peak season success.

Warehouse Management

Why Does the Increff Digital Pigeonhole System Beat Put-To-Light Systems for E-commerce Operations

The technology you use in your warehouse for the entire picking and packing process is critical to how efficiently the different processes happen. This is especially true in the case of B2C orders, where meeting the marketplace SLAs is very critical, and the volumes are high, but the number of items per order is low as compared to B2B dispatches. 

In fact, generally, in e-commerce, around 70%-80% of orders received only have a single item. The complications increase further due to multiple e-commerce sales channels like Amazon, Flipkart & Myntra that a single warehouse might fulfill orders. 

From different types of packing materials, taping, invoices, shipping labels, and stickering to image capturing and QC processes, there are a lot of variables that apply to each order. When this is combined with a generic sorter and PTL (Put/-to-light) system, the operational efficiency and speed drastically fall. 

There are a lot of limitations that such a system has as compared to Increff pigeonhole, which makes the latter a much better choice for warehouses. Let’s take a look at them.

1) Throughput and scalability

Most light-directed systems can have only one person in a work zone at a time, which reduces potential throughput. In addition, since the lights are wired to the shelving location, it can be expensive and time-consuming to expand or modify a pick-to-light system.

Whereas for Increff digital pigeonhole works on concepts of zone aisle and serialization. So, multiple operations can simultaneously work on the pigeonhole at the same time.

Since there is no need for any integrated hardware, it’s as easy to scale up as to add new shelves and put barcodes on them. Suppose you need to downscale; that is also easy by just disabling the pigeonhole in the system.   

2) Maintenance and dependence on hardware 

A PTL system is highly dependent on hardware as it uses a physical light that a worker must find and press to do a put-to-light. These hardware lights require a lot of maintenance, and every item put in needs to be manually entered into the system. In case the warehouse is very large, the efficiency decreases further because multiple workers are required in different areas just to make sure when a light is turned on, it is visible to someone.

However, in the case of Increff Pigeonhole, everything is done digitally. The only requirement is to do stickering with a barcode. Once that is completed, the exact location is shown to the sorter where they need to collect their item. In the case of larger warehouses, the locations can also be divided into multiple layers like shelves, isles, and more.

3) Item count accuracy

In put-to-light systems, multiple lights turn on for consolidating one SKU in multiple orders, so there are high chances of operators making mistakes in putting the right number of items in the right order. 

Increff pigeonhole works on serialization. To keep any item in the pigeonhole, a serialized item code has to be scanned. This ensures that there aren’t any errors. 

4) Path optimization post consolidation 

In the case of large warehouses with thousands of square feet in space and 100+ pigeonholes, picking consolidated orders post-pigeonholing becomes a big deal.

If a worker has to pick items from 50 orders before bringing them back to the packing desk, just collecting them at random reduces their productivity, as it takes time to find where the next light is on, and then turning it off becomes difficult if there are 100 – 200 shelves. A PTL system is incapable of offering an optimized pick path route post consolidation because when 15 lights are on in different bins, and all of them are not even visible to a worker, they won’t know the best route to take. 

In Increff pigeonhole, once orders are consolidated, Increff shows a dashboard that tells operators which pigeonhole aisle has orders of what channels and SLA. Once an operator starts picking for consolidated orders, the Increff system automatically optimizes their pick path and gives guided picking. Increff pigeonhole also allows marketplace-wise order picking, which gives a very high rise in productivity if there are marketplace-wise packing stations. In traditional PTL systems, this kind of filtering is not possible.

Why do we even need a pigeonhole if 70% of orders are single pieces? 

Absolutely correct observation. Let’s go a step back from order consolidation and go to picking. In traditional WMS, which works on SKU bases and not on serialization, for example, if 100 items are picked for e-commerce, there is no good way to sort the 70 items that are for single-piece orders vs. 30 items that are for multi-piece orders. Hence, all have to be taken to the pigeonhole. 

Increff WMS works on serialization, and every item that is getting picked gets instantly mapped to an order. So, just by a single sorting scan, the 70 items for single pieces can be segregated from 30 items for multi-piece orders and even on channel level. These 70 items don’t need to go to pigeonhole and can be directly taken to packing stations of respective channels. 

This reduces the need for pigeonhole by a large factor and saves a lot of time as well by only doing consolidation where it’s required.

TLDR Increff Pigeonhole a must-have in your warehouses

  1. Increff pigeonhole acts as both a sorter and consolidator.
  2. A single pigeonhole can be used for multiple orders, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. In general, the first item of an order can go to any pigeonhole, and the second item onwards goes to the same one. 
  3. When there are multiple bins with fewer SKUs than the limit, they will be consolidated to empty more bins. Once this happens, the consolidated bin will be prioritized for picking.
  4. Fast-moving items like top-sellers will be kept in pigeonholes closer to the packing zones to fastrack picking and packing.
  5. In large warehouses, Pigeonholes can be categorized into shelves, isles, and zones for easy locating.
  6. For B2C orders with only one item, once the picker picks it, it will bypass the pigeonhole and go directly to the packing table.

Also Read: Top 5 KPIs That a CEO Must Be Tracking in the Warehouse

Warehouse Management

The Frugal Warehouse: 5 Ways to Save Costs in Logistics

Warehouses play a vital role as the pivotal hubs where products await their journey to customers’ doorsteps. However, as indispensable as they are, warehouses can also become significant cost centers if not managed with precision and foresight. However, businesses often invest significantly in warehousing, either because of a lot of manual work contributing to labor costs or not implementing the right technology.

As efficiency and optimization reign supreme, the need to reduce warehousing costs while maintaining quality service has never been more critical. From managing inventory and process optimization to implementing automation and data-driven decision-making, in this blog, we will explore the different aspects of warehouse operations with a keen eye on how to save costs.

1) Investing in the right tech stack

Using the right technology can transform a warehouse into a cost-efficient, agile, and responsive operation by minimizing paper-based operations and reducing labor dependency. The overall impact can be as high as a 20-25% reduction in costs. This is possible due to the digitization of processes and the implementation of intelligent pick-paths increasing picking and packing efficiency.

Additionally, a capable WMS can also help in processing B2B and B2C orders from the same platform, thereby eliminating the need to juggle between different applications. This results in reduced training time and helps in getting new workers up to speed in a matter of hours. 

There are many other benefits of finding the right solution for your warehouse operations, like optimized space allocation, end-to-end inventory tracking, data analytics, and more.

Finally, you should choose a reliable solution that has historically proven to work well without any bugs that could affect the warehouse operations. Customer care should also be exceptional because the operations team is bound to need some support, especially when starting out. All of these factors contribute to better operations and save warehouse costs.

2) Streamlining inventory management for enhanced efficiency

Effective Inventory Management is mission-critical for businesses. It can help minimize carrying costs, reduce stockouts and overstocking, optimize storage space, and improve overall warehouse operations. This can be made possible by gaining real-time visibility into inventory levels, locations, and movements. It also allows managers and workers to quickly identify where specific items are located within the warehouse.

With the right system in place, there will be no need for cycle counting for regular inventory. This ensures that inventory accuracy is maintained without requiring extensive, time-consuming annual physical counts. Businesses can also implement models like just-in-time (JIT), which allows them to get inventory just in the nick of time. This means they can save on tons of excess storage costs and free up tied-up capital. 

3) Accurate demand forecasting and resource allocation

Precise demand forecasting and resource allocation are fundamental to efficient warehousing practices. They help minimize the inefficiencies and costs associated with excess inventory, stockouts, labor misallocation, and other factors that can drive up warehousing costs.

Reliable demand forecasts enable you to anticipate an increase or decrease in demand and manage stock levels accordingly. This means you won’t lose out on sales opportunities when the demand is high and won’t end up overstocking in the opposite scenario. 

Demand forecasting also helps in understanding your future needs. It helps in building better relationships with your suppliers and gives you an upper hand when negotiating costs and delivery times. This allows you to allocate capital more efficiently getting better ROI.

4) Retaining employees and building morale

The warehousing industry has among the highest turnover rates among all at 37%, which is 10 times higher than the average of 3.6%. This calls for a fool-proof system that prevents errors, ensuring newly hired employees are not affecting business. However, the primary focus should be to retain old employees and build strong relationships with workers. 

A motivated and stable workforce tends to be more productive, efficient and committed to maintaining a well-organized and safe warehouse. It also reduces costs as for every new employee, there is an advertising, interviewing, hiring, and onboarding cost alongside the training they need to go through, which also requires a lot of time.

From an overall operations perspective, older employees also tend to be more productive and make fewer errors, resulting in fewer returns, rework, and customer complaints. Combined with a highly motivated workforce, all of these reduce the labor costs significantly for a warehouse.

5) Adapting a strategic approach to risk management

By proactively identifying, assessing, and mitigating risks, warehouses can operate more efficiently and cost-effectively by minimizing unexpected disruptions and losses. Being proactive is important because the damage will already be done if a business is reactive. So, investing in measures and strategies to prevent inventory loss or damage is critical.

For example, businesses also need to ensure that the system they implement is stable and doesn’t have any bugs that can affect the operations or risk system data.

There are many other aspects to risk management, like having multiple vendors to prevent supplier risk, safety management so that warehouses are compliant with laws and regulations, and much more. However, the most important aspect would be to manage the workforce efficiently to reduce turnovers and absenteeism, as they are the core of operations.

Final thoughts

If your business hasn’t yet started implementing these measures, it’s high time to get started. By adopting a holistic approach that encompasses all the above points, you can significantly bring down your operational cost while improving efficiency and customer experience. Connect with our experts today to explore how Increff WMS can help you achieve your warehousing goals.

Smart Merchandising

Mastering Demand Forecasting: A Comprehensive 7-Step Roadmap to Maximize Sales

Amazon, the massive online retailer, rakes in significant profits in North America because numerous local stores struggle to accurately predict how much of a product people want to buy. So, when eager customers head to their nearby stores to purchase something they truly desire, they are often met with disappointment as the item is out of stock. Frustrated and impatient, these shoppers turn to the ever-reliable Amazon, which appears to possess a remarkable knack for promptly meeting their demands.

This anecdote underscores a fundamental truth in the retail world: accurate demand forecasting is not just about predicting how many units of a product you’ll sell. It’s a strategic imperative that can determine the fate of businesses. Beyond bolstering sales, effective demand forecasting is a linchpin for managing cash flow and maintaining streamlined operations. If you’re caught with excess inventory or can’t keep up with customer demand, you’re essentially bleeding money.

In this blog, we embark on a journey through a seven-step action plan tailored for retail merchandisers to revolutionize demand forecast accuracy. By implementing these steps, retailers can drive significant sales growth while ensuring financial prudence and operational efficiency. Let’s explore how these strategies can transform your retail business into a well-oiled, demand-forecasting machine.

Step 1: Understanding Your Customers

A solid demand forecasting strategy hinges on a thorough grasp of your customer base. This entails the meticulous collection and analysis of data related to customer preferences, purchasing behaviors, and historical buying trends. To delve deeper into your customer base, it is advisable to establish direct communication channels with them. In the context of B2B operations, supplier portals and data exchanges can prove to be invaluable resources for forecasting customer demand accurately. 

Conversely, in the realm of B2C enterprises, harnessing real-time localized consumer data serves as the cornerstone for crafting a comprehensive demand forecast that can form the basis for a unified demand forecast shared with stakeholders. This multifaceted process involves the implementation of surveys, careful scrutiny of customer feedback, and segmentation of customers based on various factors such as demographics and buying habits, all of which yield invaluable insights.

To gain a comprehensive understanding of your customers, it is advisable to explore questions such as:

  1. Do my customers exhibit seasonal shopping patterns, or do they maintain a consistent buying pattern throughout the year?
  2. What are the preferred sizes and colors among my customers?
  3. Are there particular brands that hold a special appeal to my customer base?
  4. What are the unique preferences of shoppers in my local area?
  5. How swiftly do consumer trends catch on with shoppers in the vicinity of my store?

This in-depth comprehension of your customer base forms the foundation upon which you can tailor your forecasts to precisely match the unique needs and preferences of your customers.

Step 2: Leverage Technology and Automation to Increase Accuracy

In the realm of retail, a notable portion of industry participants continues to rely on antiquated planning systems and labor-intensive methodologies for gauging customer preferences. In times past, these conventional approaches sufficed due to a relatively stable market landscape. However, in today’s dynamic and ever-evolving market environment, the imperative for change is unmistakable.

A noteworthy issue lies in the fact that approximately 15% of inventory inaccuracies can be attributed to software systems that lack interoperability, thereby fostering communication impediments. Moreover, when we disregard the integration of technology, we expose ourselves to data inconsistencies that arise from human errors.

Embracing advanced technologies and automation tools can significantly enhance demand forecast accuracy. Algorithms, artificial intelligence, and predictive analytics can process vast amounts of data quickly and provide more accurate predictions.

For retailers looking to secure a competitive edge, investment in cutting-edge forecasting and adaptable tools, capable of learning from evolving market patterns, is imperative. By doing so, these businesses can not only rectify inventory inaccuracies but also empower their teams to concentrate on more strategic, high-value tasks, thereby ensuring the continued prosperity of their operations.

Step 3: Centralize Your Data for Real-Time Visibility

To improve forecast accuracy, retailers should centralize their data sources and create a single source of truth. A centralized data repository enables real-time visibility into inventory levels, sales data, and other relevant information. This centralized approach allows for quick decision-making and ensures that all stakeholders are working with the same data.

Step 4: Don’t Let Go of Past Data

Historical data represents an invaluable asset in the quest for more accurate demand forecasting. Retailers should maintain a comprehensive historical dataset that includes records of sales, revenue, discount strategies, promotional activities, size-related variations, stockouts, and exposure metrics. This historical data provides a solid foundation for forecasting, as it sheds light on past patterns and trends, which are essential for shaping future forecasts.

Furthermore, a thorough analysis of historical data can uncover valuable insights for optimizing the assortment mix and depth. By examining this data, retailers gain a holistic perspective that helps in fine-tuning inventory strategies. This comprehensive approach also simplifies the identification and rectification of issues, such as size cuts and highly discounted sales within the sales history. All of these factors contribute to a more refined and accurate forecasting process.

Step 5: Bring in In-Depth Algorithm Analysis

In-depth algorithm analysis is crucial for retailers to enhance demand forecasting. This involves ongoing assessment to understand model strengths and weaknesses, ensuring adaptability to shifting market dynamics. Steps include identifying persistent top sellers, conducting granular-level computations with multiple product attributes, and analyzing past data to determine the ideal assortment mix and depth. By focusing on these aspects, retailers can fine-tune their forecasting algorithms, leading to more accurate predictions and improved inventory management.

Step 6: Incorporate Granularity Models

One-size-fits-all forecasting models may not provide the level of accuracy needed in today’s retail landscape. To improve accuracy, consider incorporating granularity into your forecasting models. Granularity here entails crafting distinct forecasts for various product categories, individual store locations, and even delving into the realm of SKU-level forecasts. This meticulous level of detail empowers retailers to make more pinpoint predictions and execute inventory optimization strategies with greater finesse.

This approach is not just about accuracy; it’s also about understanding the intricate nuances of your inventory. It enables retailers to predict true size ratios more effectively, ensuring that stock levels align with customer demands. Additionally, incorporating planned trends and promotions through a granular override system further refines forecasting accuracy. By dissecting and addressing each component of your retail operations with granularity, you’re better equipped to navigate the complexities of the modern retail environment, ultimately driving growth and profitability.

Step 7: Remember External Factors Do Matter

Recognizing that demand forecasting extends beyond historical data, it’s crucial to understand the significant influence of external factors. Economic conditions, weather patterns, seasonality, and market trends all play pivotal roles in shaping consumer behavior. As we touched upon when discussing causal relationships in forecasting demand, the integration of these external factors is paramount.

Let’s emphasize this point for its critical importance: always consider external factors. While you may have a solid grasp of your marketing strategies, promotional schedules, and the predictable holiday selling seasons, the realm of unpredictable and uncontrollable variables remains. These external factors can introduce unforeseen changes and disruptions that must be accounted for within your forecasting models to ensure accuracy.

Over to you

Have you started basic forecasting for your retail business? Implementing these strategies can put retailers’ guesswork to rest and make them better at understanding what their customers will buy, all based on data analysis. It’s like having a predictive tool that helps them stock the right items at the right times. When they do this, it makes everything in their supply chain work more smoothly, like a well-oiled machine.

What’s even more critical is that it ensures customers are more likely to find what they want when they come to the store, which makes them really happy. And as we know, happy customers are more likely to return and buy more, creating a win-win situation for everyone involved!

If this is something you are interested in, we can help you with it. Just get in touch with our experts today. 

Smart Merchandising

Top 5 Merchandising Solutions: Global Leaders in Enabling Accurate and Seamless Inventory Optimization

Have you ever considered the intricacies of managing a fashion brand across both retail and online realms? Juggling numerous stores across cities, gauging distinct identities, predicting demand, and maximizing sales require strategic finesse. Navigating markdowns, stock transfers, and style discontinuations is paramount. The complexity of nationwide operations, warehouses, and logistics renders manual Excel management overwhelming. Here, merchandising software steps in, boosting efficiency and accuracy.

Effective retail merchandising drives sales, enhances experiences, optimizes inventory, and fuels revenue growth. This blog will compare the top five global merchandising solutions (alphabetically): Impact Analysis, Increff, Nextail, O9, and Onebeat. Through this assessment, you’ll gain insights to select the optimal software for your business, streamlining processes and boosting profitability.

Key Capabilities of an Ideal Merchandising Solution 

A smart merchandising solution has several vital features contributing to its effectiveness and efficiency. Some essential features make it ideal:

  • Demand Forecasting: Accurate demand forecasting is crucial for maintaining optimal inventory levels. A robust solution should leverage historical data, market trends, and analytics to generate precise demand forecasts.
  • Inventory Optimization: The solution should enable retailers to manage inventory efficiently by recommending reorder quantities, safety stock levels, and markdown strategies. This prevents overstocking or stockouts and minimizes carrying costs.
  • Assortment Planning: Effective assortment planning involves selecting the right mix of products for each store or channel. The software should help retailers analyze customer preferences, buying patterns, and local market trends to curate the ideal product mix.
  • Pricing Strategy: Implementing dynamic pricing can boost competitiveness and maximize revenue. An effective solution optimizes real-time pricing by considering competitor rates, demand elasticity, and market positioning. It should also align financial goals with annual merchandise and sales plans.
  • In-season Management: Monitoring sales performance during the season allows for timely adjustments. The solution should provide insights into product performance, enabling retailers to make data-driven decisions regarding replenishments, markdowns, or promotions.
  • Collaborative Tools: Merchandising involves multiple stakeholders across the supply chain. A good solution should facilitate collaboration between teams, from buyers and planners to suppliers and distributors.
  • Data Visualization: Clear and intuitive visualizations help merchandisers grasp insights quickly. An ideal software should offer customizable dashboards and reports that present data in an understandable manner.
  • Integration Capabilities: Seamless integration with other retail systems, such as POS and ERP software, ensures smooth data flow and cohesive decision-making

Top 5 Global Merchandising Solutions

1. Impact Analytics

Impact Analytics is a leading retail merchandising solution provider. Its solution focuses on

enhancing the customer experience, helping retailers optimize and tailor product assortments to local market preferences with the help of AI. By leveraging data-driven insights, retailers can make informed decisions about product selection, pricing, and promotions. This leads to increased customer engagement, loyalty, and overall revenue growth.

Key Modules:

Demand Forecasting– Enable precise demand forecasts, covering SKUs across all hierarchy levels throughout their lifecycle.

Assortment Planning– Craft smart retail financial plans and efficient Open-to-Buy budgets with forecast integration. Boost margins and inventory turns. Enhance product attribution for optimal accuracy and ROI.

Pricing and Promotions– Eradicate errors with top-tier retail price optimization software. Utilize AI and ML-driven insights for precise pricing strategies.  

Allocation– Enhance customer-centric assortments by optimizing allocation decisions and space-aware planograms. Elevate execution with AI-driven shelf monitoring.

Business Intelligence– Achieve data-driven insights with intelligent reporting.

Enhance decision-making and improve business performance. 


  • AI-driven assortment optimization for improved sales
  • Dynamic pricing strategies to enhance competitiveness
  • Personalized offerings based on customer behavior analysis
  • Increase customer engagement and loyalty
  • Maximize revenue through strategic pricing and promotions
  • Quick deployments that reap immediate visible results

2. Increff

Increff merchandising software empowers planners, buyers, and merchandisers to make well-informed decisions across inventory management, from purchases to markdowns in both pre-season and in-season periods. With over 100 customizable, patent-pending algorithms tailored to the fashion and lifestyle industry, Increff enables sustainable and profitable growth. It also provides solutions for both omnichannel and smart merchandise planning. 

Increff’s solution covers the entire merchandising spectrum, from planning and buying to allocations. The software analyzes real demand and automates decisions, enhancing sales, profitability, and inventory efficiency while reducing costs and boosting customer satisfaction.

Key Modules:

  • Planning, Buying, Future Inventory Projection & Reordering: Bring in granular data analysis in merchandise planning and buying using advanced algorithms operating multiple levels and planes of calculation. Increff empowers planners to optimize store-level inventory mix, extending to granular design-level attributes of styles
  • Allocation, Replenishment, Interstore Transfer: Optimize assortment mix and distribution based on the store-style ranking algorithm for maximum sales. Ensure accurate inventory placement at the correct time in the correct location and depth, adapting to sales trends.
  • Regional Utilization: Optimize inventory distribution across a multi-warehouse network to increase proximity to customers, reduce delivery time and logistics costs.
  • Markdown Optimization: Improve the sales and margins by automating discounting decisions based on a first principle discounting engine, which can provide suggestions for each style at each store, specifically making it more granular, accurate and scientific.  
  • Merchandise Financial Planning: Enable pre-season and in-season budget planning, aligning with KPIs like Margins, Revenue, and COGS. Achieve data-driven financial goals, optimize inventory, and enhance profitability.
  • Business Intelligence: Empower every role from store manager to CEO with essential Business Intelligence dashboards. Quickly grasp business performance insights and drive better decisions all across brands and retailers.


  • Streamline assortment planning with data-driven recommendations and smart inputs from the software
  • Calculate the True Rate of Sale by automatically correcting for loss of sale due to unavailability and artificial spikes because of discounting
  • Intelligent Store Style ranking to set priority for style allocation. Enhance customer satisfaction by offering the right products at the right time
  • Reduce anomalies like overstocking and understocking
  • Buying/ Allocation for new stores without any historical data available
  • Additional recommendations, including Planogram, Price Bucket, and Style Depth, contribute to streamlined allocation processes
  • Recommends store-level pullbacks using style performance and availability data for inventory optimization, correcting depth and brokenness
  • Fast deployment and easy integration
  • Highly customizable data model created on your data
  • Real-time insights into demand patterns and trends
  • Flexibility for taking Strategic/ Subjective calls for multiple modules
  • Improves inventory turnover and profitability

3. Nextail

Nextail transforms retail merchandising with the help of AI. Predictive analytics offer precise customer demand forecasts, while real-time insights empower retailers to make informed choices regarding allocation, replenishment, and markdowns. This optimization reduces waste, maximizes profits, and enhances overall retail efficiency, showcasing Nextail’s prowess in elevating merchandising to new heights through agile, data-driven approaches.

Key Modules:

  • Assortment Planning: Optimize sales and profit by determining ideal product assortments using AI recommendations, flexible parameters, simulations, and continuous monitoring.
  • Buying and Reordering: Forecast local demand for optimal new product purchases, empowering buyers with data-driven decisions and intuitive expertise.
  • First Allocation and Replenishment: Distribute precise initial SKU units to all points of sale, replenishing sold stock efficiently. Anticipate demand for optimal allocation.
  • Rebalancing or Inter-Store Transfers: Move stock between stores to reduce overstocking and consolidate broken size sets
  • Events and Promotions: Measure elasticities to improve and prepare promotions and recalculate demand baselines after events
  • Business Intelligence: Instead of just reports, Nextail integrates actionable insights into systems for seamless execution.


  • Hyper-local demand anticipation
  • Real-time insights into demand fluctuations
  • Reduce inventory holding costs and waste
  • Improve stock availability and sales performance
  • Enhance profitability through optimal markdown strategies
  • Efficiently manage replenishments/reorders to align with customer demand
  • Responsive to trends
  • Advanced AI-driven insights

4. O9

O9 Solutions offers a comprehensive platform that seamlessly integrates supply chain and merchandising planning. This all-inclusive solution empowers retailers with complete operational visibility, facilitating well-informed decision-making. With the help of AI-driven analytics, O9 forecasts demand, optimizes inventory, and aligns processes, resulting in heightened efficiency and greater customer satisfaction.

Key Modules:

  • Integrated Business Planning: Align decision-making across functions for streamlined operations
  • Demand Forecasting: Demand forecasting and inventory optimization supported by AI. Enhance customer service levels while reducing carrying costs.
  • Assortment Planning: Enhance store efficiency and sales by data-driven assortment planning, inventory allocation, and trend-based strategy implementation.
  • Allocation and Replenishment Planning: Enhance profitability with efficient allocations, distributing merchandise to stores for optimal sales across product lifecycles. Adaptable, multi-tier replenishments.
  • Merchandise Financial Planning: Build and manage customer-centric Merchandise Financial Plans across a global network.
  • Markdown Management: Unified platform for pricing management. Swiftly adapt strategies for market changes, ensuring resilience to evolving demands.


  • End-to-end visibility and collaboration across supply chain processes
  • Accurate demand forecasts for effective inventory management
  • Optimize assortment planning and allocation for improved sales
  • Reduce costs through efficient supply chain decision-making
  • Improve customer satisfaction through better stock availability
  • O9 serves expanding businesses, adapting to evolving needs and scalability

5. Onebeat

Onebeat specializes in merchandising solutions designed to enhance retail performance through AI. Their platform offers demand forecasting, inventory optimization, and replenishment recommendations. Analyzing historical data and real-time market trends, Onebeat’s solution empowers retailers to align their inventory levels with customer demand, thereby reducing excess stock and improving turnover rates.

Key Modules:

  • Demand Forecasting: AI-driven demand prediction ensures precision. Balanced Bottom-Up and Top-Down methods for consumer-centric and strategic planning
  • Assortment Management: Master dynamic category management and raft store-specific assortments from real-time demand.
  • Smart Replenishment and Allocation: Optimize replenishment, prevent overstock, and ensure stock availability by tracking SKU demand. Maintain real-time inventory targets and enhance inventory distribution for peak sales and ROI. 
  • Inter-Store Transfers: Streamline goods movement, accounting for broken sizes, sets, seasonality, and SKU sales variations.
  • Special Events: Monitor product performance per store, aiding seasonal and promotional event preparation. Algorithms optimize slow-mover liquidation and guide future planning.


  • Accurate demand forecasting for improved inventory management
  • Optimize inventory levels for better turnover rates
  • Efficient replenishment strategies to meet customer demand
  • Minimize excess inventory and carrying costs
  • Enhance overall profitability through data-driven decisions
  • Streamline retail processes through AI-driven insights

Final Thoughts

As the industry evolves, merchandising tools prove indispensable, ensuring optimized operations and heightened profitability. Embracing advanced technology empowers retailers to navigate complexity and deliver unparalleled shopping experiences, solidifying success in a dynamic market.

In modern retail, the choice of merchandising software shapes your business journey. Tailor your selection to your unique needs, scale, and goals. As retail’s dynamic landscape demands precision, the featured top five systems offer robust solutions, enhancing merchandise strategies and profitability. Remember, this investment secures your business’s future success.

Warehouse Management

Top 5 KPIs That a CEO Must Be Tracking in the Warehouse

Utilizing and monitoring key performance indicators (KPIs) are essential operational metrics that reflect warehouse performance and present a strategic approach to identify issues and capitalize on opportunities for enhancing efficiency and expediting order fulfillment with precision.

For instance, establishing a target to enhance picking and packing accuracy allows for adjustments to the picking processes. The subsequent measurement of these changes enables a data-driven assessment of their effectiveness in attaining the set objective. By employing this systematic approach, businesses can drive continuous improvement, ensuring smoother operations and an elevated ability to meet customer demands promptly and accurately.

As a CEO overseeing warehousing operations, there are several key metrics and aspects you should be tracking to ensure efficient and effective performance. These top 5 warehouse KPIs will help you monitor your warehousing operations’ health and identify improvement areas.

1) Number of daily dispatches

The number of daily dispatches serves as a vital performance metric for a CEO overseeing a warehouse. It provides valuable insights into operational efficiency, customer satisfaction, and overall business success. As the primary metric for measuring operational efficiency, the number of daily dispatches helps the CEO understand how well the warehouse is performing in meeting customer demands.

The number of daily dispatches has a direct impact on customer satisfaction. Customers expect timely deliveries, and a higher number of daily dispatches implies faster order processing and shipping times. Satisfied customers are more likely to become repeat buyers and advocates for the company, contributing to long-term business growth.

2) Rate of returns and cancellation

High return rates can be indicative of underlying issues that demand immediate attention and resolution. As returns incur additional costs for the company, including transportation, inspection, restocking, and potential refurbishment or disposal of damaged items, the CEO needs to closely monitor this metric to minimize financial losses and maximize profitability.

Performing a root cause analysis of returns can reveal valuable information about customer preferences and pain points. By analyzing return reasons, the CEO gains a deeper understanding of why customers are dissatisfied or encountering issues with certain products. This knowledge can guide product improvements, inform marketing strategies, and even lead to the introduction of new, more desirable products. Addressing these root causes proactively can help enhance customer satisfaction and create a competitive advantage in the market.

3) Percentage of not found

The percentage of “not found” refers to the proportion of customer orders that cannot be fulfilled because the items in the warehouse are lost. One of the most apparent consequences of not found is lost revenue. When customers come to make a purchase but find the desired items are not available, they may abandon the purchase altogether or delay it, resulting in a direct loss of sales. For the CEO, this translates to missed revenue targets and decreased profitability.

It also points to lost items or theft, which can be an alarming concern. Stolen inventory or equipment directly affects the bottom line, reducing profitability and hindering business growth. These losses can be especially concerning if they go undetected for an extended period, exacerbating the financial impact.

Warehouse staff may spend valuable time dealing with the aftermath of theft, such as filing reports, cooperating with investigations, and implementing security measures. This diverts their attention from core warehouse tasks, leading to decreased productivity and efficiency.

4) Rate of QC fail items

It is the proportion of items that do not meet the quality control (QC) standards in a given batch or production run, expressed as a percentage of the total number of items inspected. In various industries and manufacturing processes, quality control is crucial to ensure that products meet predetermined specifications, performance standards, and safety requirements.

A high percentage of QC fail items can result in multiple problems that a business must address as soon as possible. By having checkpoints in quality control, businesses can pinpoint the problem, be it at the vendor end, raw material suppliers, or shipping.

Monitoring this metric over time also helps in implementing corrective actions and process improvements to reduce the number of failed items, leading to better overall product quality. At the same time, business leaders can ensure that the cost of production is kept to the minimum and customer expectations are met.

5) Picking/packing efficiency

Picking and packing efficiency refers to the effectiveness and speed at which items are selected from a warehouse inventory for customer orders, manufacturing, or distribution purposes. It measures how well a warehouse can fulfill orders accurately and quickly. Warehouse leaders must track picking efficiency to minimize travel time and maximize efficiency during order picking.

Tracking efficiency also helps warehouse leaders allocate their resources, such as labor and equipment, more effectively. This results in fewer man-hours required to fulfill orders and can reduce overtime costs and potentially downsize the workforce during periods of low demand.

Another major advantage of taking this KPI seriously is the ability to optimize organizing the warehouse layout for high accessibility and minimal travel time between picking locations. It helps identify opportunities for layout improvements and better space utilization.