Supply Chain Management for Small E-commerce Businesses
June 26, 2012 2:09 PM   Subscribe

Is there a practical handbook or online course for an ambitious small e-commerce business on how to do supply chain management the right way? I'm particularly interested in logistics, warehousing and stock-keeping. Bonus points if this resource also aims to inspire you to innovate despite being a small business.

Some of the stuff I'm looking for:
* How to design a warehouse
* order picking optimization
* Why and how to identify, label and barcode products
* Day-to-day Inventory management
* Designing work processes

Also, is there any point as a small business in contacting scm consultants to guide you through the basics, making sure you have a solid foundation for your business?
posted by Foci for Analysis to Work & Money (2 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: the Mister recommends you try "Handbook of Supply Chain Management" by James B. Ayers

He's dubious of the value of hiring someone at this stage for general set-up help. Hiring a consultant to help decide something specific and targeted (where to go for warehousing, for example) would probably be more useful.
posted by hms71 at 9:10 PM on June 26, 2012

Best answer: There are lots and lots of books out there. You may also want to check out the resource pages of groups like CSCMP and SCC (although the resource page of the latter doesn't have anything right now).

What you're really going to need, even as a small business, is a decent Warehouse Management System (or, if your SC is more than just inventory / warehouse management, like say it includes procurement or distribution, a more holistic system solution). You can definitely get WMS modules of some of the leading systems (Microsoft Dynamics AX, etc.) at a cut rate for a small business with a limited number of system user licenses needed. A good SCM consultant would know about how to approach this but may be biased to a particular system based on where you find them. That said, if you could draft a good Terms of Reference for a consultant to help you evaluate system solutions, it might be really helpful for you. In any case I agree with the advice to have a really specifically defined project in place before bringing in a consultant. And I say that as a SCM Consultant. IANYSCMC. :)

SAP has a pretty useful Warehouse Management Guide online for free, btw.
posted by allkindsoftime at 9:24 AM on June 27, 2012

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