Shady Rays is an online seller of high-quality sunglasses that utilizes SkuVault’s pick, pack, ship workflows. With a value proposition for buyers that says “if you break them or lose them, we replace them,” this Louisville-based retailer is doing big things.
“We found that a lot of people will go out and buy a $200 pair of expensive sunglasses and almost everybody will lose them or break them at some point,” explained Dan Ratterman, Distribution Operations Manager at Shady Rays. “So, what we’re able to do is come in at a $48 price point for most of our pairs, but if you lose them or break them, you get two free replacements.”
They started as a home business. Ratterman said their warehouse and fulfillment happened in his parent’s living room. “My Dad would pack up around 20 orders a day,” he said. “Now, we’re in a position where we can do more than 10,000 orders in a single ship.”
As Shady Rays evolved, it needed an efficient way to handle the pick, pack, and ship process. When they opened up their distribution center, they turned to SkuVault. “SkuVault was extremely effective at helping us start up this operation,” Ratterman said.
Shady Rays particularly loves the ability to pick, pack and ship orders all in one day with SkuVault.
More Efficient Pick, Pack, and Ship Operations
For most sellers, efficiency is the key to optimizing operations. You need a simple, efficient way to pick faster, ship faster, and sell faster. Manual systems can’t effectively handle the volume. Many inventory management systems can’t integrate effectively or manage the automation to create the needed efficiencies.
SkuVault helps create a seamless process using automation, integration, and inventory and warehouse features designed to maximize time and output. A fully digital process means reduced wait time when team members are not being productive. There’s no need to wait around for paper picklists to print. SkuVault also adjusts automatically when picking workflows change. Also, changes are reflected in real-time – something that’s impossible with paper picklists.
“I can’t imagine not being able to have the program (SkuVault) to help with the picking of the orders,” said Michele Blevens, Order Coordinator at Shady Rays. “It helps with inventory. It lets us know if we’re running low on things, so we don’t accidentally oversell to the customers.”
One of the key competitive advantages, she said is that it helps create faster turnaround periods to get products out the door to customers.
“When I get to work, I grab the tablet, log into SkuVault, and grab pick sessions from there,” said Sam Mayic, Warehouse Team Member at Shady Rays. “It gives me the location of the item, gives me the item number, and it gives me the quantity.” This way Mayic knows which bin it goes in along with what products and how many go into each bin.
SkuVault provides an end-to-end process for picking, packing, and shipping that keeps product flowing.
Because the pick, pack, and ship process is automated via custom workflows with SkuVault, it can be adapted to any warehouse operation. Barcode scanning, and digital picking techniques, such as wave picking or hyper picking, help increase efficiency in daily warehouse activities. The pick, pack, and ship process is tracked in real-time in SkuVault, so everyone is aware of the inventory location and quantity before and after it leaves your facility.
Faster Fulfillment and Shipping
As Shady Rays grew, it evolved from three different styles to 140. This led to an explosion of SKUs for various customizations. Many businesses struggle to handle fulfillment with such rapid growth. It can be difficult to manage inventory. The number of pick errors can increase without a seamless workflow and the right inventory management software.
Do any of these situations sound familiar?
- You’re scrambling because you need better workflows
- Endless inefficiencies are killing you
- You have no idea how much inventory you have (or don’t have)
- You live in constant fear of out-of-stocks
- Incompatible software is creating extra work for you
- Your business has outgrown your old inventory app
If so, you’re not dealing with an inventory management problem. You’re dealing with a failing inventory management system. You need Smart Inventory Management (SIM).
SIM helps you control costs and fuels growth using data and software to help you fulfill increasing customer demand with the least amount of inventory. This data provides greater visibility allowing you to forecast demand and improve efficiencies. Automated technology syncs your inventory across multiple sales channels allowing you to maximize sales.
SkuVault handles changes to inventory, including new product lines, in real-time.
“With SkuVault,” Ratterman said,” We can come out with something (new), immediately get the inventory in, and then immediately have that part of the process to pick that and pack that as part of the order the same day.”
Improved Efficiency with SkuVault
SkuVault’s native features and integrations can help you rest easier knowing your product will arrive at its final destination on time, at the right place, and in quality condition.
Here are a few results you can expect using SkuVault warehouse management system:
- Increased warehouse accuracy
- Increased pick efficiency
- Reduced inventory costs
- Reduced carbon footprint from lack of paper materials
SkuVault connects with all the integrations you already use. Customizable open APIs allow you the ability to create a warehouse management system suitable to your specific integration needs. You have instant access to your Amazon FBA orders, accounting data, or shipping labels all in one information hub. Because it’s all digital, this access is available anywhere at any time.
Accurate Inventory Counts
SkuVault makes sure your inventory counts are always accurate. That’s critically important to managing operations and keeping things running smoothly. According to the GS1 US Apparel and General Merchandise Initiative, a consortium of retailers, distributors, and suppliers, the average retail operation in the United States has an accurate inventory count on just 63% of its stock.
This creates a host of problems, including oversells and out of stock – each which create frustration for customers and logistics nightmares for sellers. More than a third of businesses report shipping orders late after selling items they did not have in stock but is still listed as available. Customers hate backorders – especially when they were unaware of the possibility when purchasing.
Just managing your inventory accurately will improve margins. Simply reducing stock-outs and overstocks have been demonstrated to lower overall inventory costs by 10%.
Inventory management is crucially important for multi-channel sellers. It can be easy to get off track with inventory counts when you are selling on multiple platforms which each has its own reporting system. An integrated inventory management system means clear insights into inventory levels, supply chains, and forecasting data across all platforms. Automated purchasing at a predetermined stock level, quantity buffers, and real-time reports help make better data-driven decisions.
Easily Handle Case Packs
SkuVault increases the transparency into your inventory whether it is stocked as individual items or held in packs. Case packs can easily be converted into individual quantities. This gives you the ability to track received case packs, as well as the products included in each case. This feature helps sellers that order products in cases or packs and sell either as cases or individual units.
Better Inventory Management
Every time you buy inventory, you are tying up capital you could be using somewhere else (or taking as profit). Your money is tied up in the goods you have on hand until you sell them. With increasingly shorter product life cycles, the longer an item sits in your inventory, the less relevant it may become. Getting products sold and shipped quickly keep cash flowing.
If you overbuy, you are tying up money in excess inventory that may not sell. Some companies do this as a safety net to be able to fulfill unpredictable customer demand. If that’s the way you’re doing business, you’re making a mistake. Smart inventory management lets you manage the supply chain to have enough inventory on hand to meet demand without buying excess goods. The same holds true if you are unable to meet demand due to inventory shortages.
SkuVault’s real-time reporting helps you forecast properly to meet demand to maximize your opportunity costs. Money that’s tied up in excess inventory, or customer demand you are unable to meet, prevents you from investing in other areas of your business.
It also helps prevent inventory pileup or “death piles.” Death piles occur when dead stock (inventory that isn’t selling) starts to accumulate. It’s inventory that isn’t selling – and may not be likely to ever sell – but is taking up space in your warehouse and costing you money.
There’s also a less visible issue with excess inventory. You’ve got to warehouse it somewhere. Carrying costs can add up quickly. Besides capital costs and lost opportunity costs, you may also have additional carrying costs, including:
- Warehouse and storage costs
- Utility costs
- Depreciation due to aging inventory
- Expired inventory
It’s a simple fact: the less inventory you have, the more money you have. The key is having the right amount of inventory you need. Smart inventory management frees up funds while still meeting customer demand.
SkuVault’s inventory management software reduces lost profits to better manage inventory. IT provides a seamless process to assure accuracy:
Order Receipt: Orders are received directly from purchase orders. As orders arrive, PO numbers are checked against original shipment POs. This reduces human error and checks for discrepancies.
Barcode Tracking: As inventory is received, barcodes are tracked. Barcodes on shelves help manage inventory locations to help when it’s time to fulfill orders. This means inventory can be put anywhere you need in a warehouse but still be found easily in your inventory management software. You can organize inventory placement for optimal efficiency, or you can scan products, location barcodes on shelves, and put products anywhere without losing track.
Pick Lists: When it’s time to fulfill an order, automated picklists are generated. SkuVault’s picklists are digital which eliminates the need for paper and makes sure lists are always current. Picklists reduce human error. They are completely customizable and can be created with pick routes to optimize efficiency.
Shipping: SkuVault integrates with the most popular shipping systems, including ReadyCloud, ShipRush, ShipStation, ShipWorks, and Temando, to complete a seamless workflow.
SkuVault’s warehouse management systems pay off for its customers. Businesses using SkuVault say an average of:
- An 87% reduction in order fulfillment time
- A 10X reduction in out of stocks
- A 30% reduction in labor costs
Let those numbers sink in a bit. If your operation could achieve these results, it would provide significant savings and dramatically improved profit margins.
Advanced Features to Manage Your Entire Operation
Advanced features help improve the overall efficiency of your entire operation.
SkuVault warehouse management software can manage your supply chain from start to finish. This improves efficiency and maximizes cash flow.
- Manage multiple warehouse inventory from the cloud
- Track supplier costs and manage suppliers in one location
- Reduce costs by knowing exactly what you have in stock so you can forecast better
- Ensure you always have the products on hand that you need, when you need them
- Use barcoding to save time receiving inventory
- Reduce costs by knowing exactly what you have in stock
By managing multiple suppliers in one place, including costs, lead time, and part number for products, you can pull vendor contact information directly into purchase orders.
You can set predetermined inventory levels in SkuVault. Rules-based automation will trigger events and allow for one-click reordering. SkuVault lets you control and replenish inventory quantities, using replenishment reports. Reorder, replenish, and assemble inventory using pre-set thresholds for reorder points or MOQ (Maximum/Minimum Order Quantities). This lets you avoid overstock or understock and helps you know when it’s time to move inventory from one warehouse to another to continue to meet demand.
Detailed real-time reporting allows you to better forecast inventory:
- Investigate previous transactions to confirm accuracy and past quality control actions
- Track sales, quantities on hand, and every warehouse action from order to fulfillment
- Promote strong interdepartmental communications and further optimize workflows
- Manage inventory across all FBA and third-party platforms so you can view stock in real-time
- Easily juggle kits and raw material components so your warehouse team can locate and fulfill orders with ease and fewer mistakes
- Avoid painful oversells
- Create a purchase order based on what’s on order, in-house, and pending
- Transfer on-hand inventory between warehouses and retail stores
- Identify cycle count opportunities and prevent human error
SkuVault allows for custom catalogs. You can create SKUs, define attributes, and pull in the level of detail about each product you desire. Existing products can be imported into SkuVault. Integrating with various online marketplaces and product display software, you can use your preferred listing tool to push out product details to customers.
Kitting and Bundling
One way to improve pick, pack, and ship efficiencies is by selling multiple SKUs in ready-to-ship Kits and Bundles.
SkuVault’s unique Kitting feature allows your business to maximize potential sales through several SKU variations. Develop different kit types, or bundles, to accommodate your product’s needs and expand on customer inventory selection. This allows you to complete purchase orders faster and with more variation using Kits and Bundles.
- Easily dictate alternative SKUs for kit components
- Automate every step of the kitting process
- Quantities automatically calculated and updated
- Streamlined Manufacturer Print-to-Order features
Reduced Expired or Aging Inventory
If your business manages inventory that expires, you know how quickly you can lose money if you aren’t managing the inventory flow. The expense of expired inventory cuts directly into profitability.
Aging inventory can also be a problem. SkuVault’s Lots Feature helps you sort inventory based on expiration dates or product entry. You can use FIFO (First In, First Out) or FEFO (First Expired, Fire Out) to keep products rotating and fresh.
- Minimize shrink
- Keep products fresh and safe for consumers
- Eliminate expired products
- No manual monitoring of expiration dates
“There are a lot of features we aren’t even using yet,” Ratterman said. “As we grow, we’ll pull those pieces in and make them part of our everyday operation.”
With such advanced features available, the set-up process remains simple. With most businesses, SkuVault can be fully up and running within 90 days. In many cases, the time from start to use can be less than half of that.
“It was extremely straight-forward,” Shady Rays’ Ratterman said. “It’s very, very simple to go in, set up, and train people on it.”
He points to the simple user interface as a key advantage in moving quickly.
SkuVault has a dedicated team of onboarding specialists with years of software experience and eCommerce expertise to help guide sellers to success. Step-by-step training programs are designed to optimize workflows and help merchants achieve a positive ROI as quickly as possible. We offer both remote and in-person training, as well as online resources and information for all levels.
SkuVault also offers a support team that is accessible by phone, email, or ticket. If you have an issue or a question, you can always reach a real live expert – no robots or chat bots.