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How Fulfillment and Distribution Centers Can Recover Post Pandemic

The COVID – 19 pandemic has a lasting impact on the Distribution and Fulfillment Centers around the world. They are navigating through many challenges that linger a year after the start of the pandemic and will continue through 2021. These make the organizations reevaluate their investment plans and operations.


The scarcity of workers was a challenge before COVID-19 but became even more significant due to the pandemic. The supplemental unemployment benefits and the wage competitiveness were hard to get people to come to work regularly.

With the labor shortage in Fulfillment and Distribution Centers, bottlenecks in the order picking and processing, receiving, and put-away departments have increased due to the lack of human manual labor.

Some retailers have challenges meeting same-day, next-day, last-mile delivery to enhance their customers’ experience.

What are some solutions to the challenges?

Having fewer employees on the floor causes facilities to learn new ways of keeping up with productivity and customer demands.  Using the correct cart for the proper application can help employees be more efficient through their picking and put-away process. They help decrease picking time, improve order accuracy, and assist with low and high-volume picking environments. There are various types of carts that can meet picking needs, as every operation is different.

Organizing products will help improve the efficiency of order picking. Sort the products according to popularity. Put these items nearest to the picking area entrance and the least popular items at the back.

Using Autonomous Mobile Robot/ Autonomous Guided Vehicle integrated with a mobilized cart to help increase their efficiency with their labor shortage and continuous growth of e-commerce orders. AMR/AGV coupled with a mobilized cart while working parallel with an employee can enhance the fulfillment throughput better than traditional manual Pick & Pack in the Fulfillment and Distribution Centers.

Decentralize the Fulfillment or Distribution Center to be closer to the customer to reduce the risk of disruption in one part of the country, but not the other. Having smaller warehouses closer to the customer helps lower the last-mile delivery cost and reduce delivery time.

As Distribution and Fulfillment Centers change, it will require continuous innovation and adapting to the disruptions in the e-commerce sector. Carts and AGVs will improve efficiency, decrease picking time, and increase picking accuracy while reducing their overall operational costs.

If you have an e-commerce challenge you would like help solving; please contact us.

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