Curt Barry

Fulfillment labor costs have increased 10 percent to 15 percent over the past five years, even greater for many companies. List prices for small parcel shipments have increased 3 percent to 5 percent per year every year for the past 12 years. How you think about the cost of fulfillment and its effect on your merchandise assortment that may need to change? If products don't make money when fully loaded with costs, shouldn’t you take a serious look at your merchandising assortment and strategy?

At the recent National Conference on Operations & Fulfillment in Las Vegas, Curt Barry, president of the Richmond, Va.-based multichannel operations and fulfillment consultancy F. Curtis Barry & Co., presented 15 tips on how to reduce expenses in the warehouse. Here's a rundown of his presentation:

You’re sure to get a lot out of this, our sixth annual Catalog Success Resource Guide. This special section provides you all the crucial details, company information, contact numbers and addresses of product and service providers to catalog/multichannel marketers. You can find the most current information for these companies in the December print edition of Catalog Success, and that data will be reflected at the link above by the middle of December. This year, we’ve simplified our approach a bit, and it’ll make the guide easier for you to navigate. We have one primary listing of companies by product/service category. Then at the end

Of all the strategies for reducing costs in your catalog business, vendor compliance programs may be the most underdeveloped. A well thought out, formal vendor compliance policy can reduce warehousing and freight costs, speed up order processing, and lead directly to increased customer satisfaction. To achieve this, you must spell out your requirements and chargebacks for vendor noncompliance. Without a formal vendor compliance policy, the warehouse has no recourse but to absorb both direct and hidden costs for noncompliance. Without compliance, it’s impossible for multichannel merchants to implement advanced supply chain systems (ASNs), just-in-time inventory, source marking and ticketing, or radio frequency identification programs.

Below is a list of typical policies, requirements and chargeback schedules included in fully developed manuals used by larger companies. But don’t let this list intimidate you. Start with policies that give you the greatest benefits, cost savings and efficiencies. If you develop those requirements first, you can expand the manual in later seasons: • company history, vision and expectations for customers; • what back orders cost the business; • service standards; • on-time delivery to committed delivery date; • products delivered in proper condition and agreed-upon manner; • product quality specs; • product packaging and polybag specs; • label marking for retail

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