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Infrastructure and warehouses in the e-commerce world: the case of Care to Beauty

04 - 12 - 2019
The success and sustainability of an e-commerce business are inevitably linked to its infrastructure and logistics. And nowadays, more than ever, companies cannot neglect this corner of their operation.

The study «Digital Economy in Portugal 2019», conducted by ACEPI - Association of Digital Economy in Portugal in partnership with IDC, states that in 2018, 50% of Portuguese shop online, in transactions that represent about 3% of national GDP. The forecast for the future is for growth, with 66% of consumers buying online by 2025, reaching 9.7 billion euros.

Therefore, it is vital that companies are prepared to respond effectively to the main challenges of e-commerce, namely the management of online business support warehouses. 

This management - which includes stocking, storing, transporting and shipping orders - affects not only the company's efficiency and profitability, but also customer satisfaction and loyalty, which increasingly demand fast delivery or return and for whom an error or a delay in the order may lead to the end of the relationship with the seller.

Logistics in e-commerce have several unique challenges, resulting largely from the uncertainty in consumption that characterizes this business, namely the large variations in the number of orders and the number of products per order. For this reason, it is necessary to ensure flexibility and efficiency in operations, in order to respond best to fluctuations and peaks in this type of business.

Warehouses, in particular, are a key part of achieving significant performance improvements and reducing logistics costs. Thus, warehouse management needs to focus on ensuring process flow and flexibility, not just stocks management.

CARE TO BEAUTY: HOW WE DRAW THE FUTURE WAREHOUSE OF THIS ONLINE PHARMACY

Recognizing these challenges, and its rapid growth, the Care to Beauty company, which is dedicated to selling cosmetics, wellness and beauty products online, recent works in partnership with INEGI to design its new facilities and to define processes and operations more efficiently.

Following the principles already described, INEGI's intervention included the design of a customized solution, with layout and spaces suitable for agile and efficient operation and operational processes supporting the operation. Decisions such as the location and orientation of doors, or the automation of the means of movement, for example, may mean hours won or lost.

Priorities included optimizing workflows, space utilization, and operation and productivity, not only considering the current situation but also potential future needs.

This work will translate into optimizing warehouse flows, and thus in a faster and agile response to orders, and ensuring accuracy in online stock information, for example.

The work developed with Care to Beauty shows that strategic planning in e-commerce is an important element of differentiation, capable of adding value at whole levels of the company.

Ultimately, this is precisely the goal of INEGI's Industrial Management and Engineering team: to enhance companies' efficiency with the aim of adding value to their operations.