- by eSellerHub
As an eCommerce seller, nothing matters to you more than fulfilling orders of your customers. While fulfillment is a straightforward thing–you pick, pack, and ship; things get a little complicated when you have too many items to ship to multiple buyers across various channels.
Picture this! You are cross selling over a thousand products on multiple online marketplaces and fulfilling more than 300 unique orders every day from each warehouse. You have limited personnel to do picking, packing and labeling. Your competitors are providing next day delivery on Amazon. There isn’t a reason you should not. Owing to competition, you’re already holding on prices, narrowing your profit margin. Add it to the higher cost of fast delivery and warehouse operations and your eCommerce journey soon becomes a journey of survival. Then you realized your competitors are selling the same products yet they are not surviving but thriving while you’re a victim of competition. They must be doing something different.
Streamline Order Fulfillment with the Right Strategy
Selling on a leading online marketplace means you’re competing with many sellers for the same product. If your competitors are advertising free shipment, then you must too. If your competitors are earning 50 cents on each sell, you are too. The last statement is not exactly true. There are various fulfillment strategies you can apply to cut costs and raise margins. If you streamline order fulfillment the smarter way, you can even earn the double they are on each order.
Let us take a look at some of those strategies smart buyers should apply to streamline their fulfillment process.
1. Bring in Real-time Inventory Management
Keeping a track of your inventory count in real time ensures that your warehouse is neither overstocked nor understocked. Real-time inventory management enables you to monitor the inventory levels of your numerous products, assisting you decide if you must to increase production of those products or decrease. Taken together, one of the more problematic facets of running warehouses is what to do with additional inventory, so you need to condense it as much as likely.
To conclude, if your online store disallows your patrons to buy ‘out of stock’ items, it’ll declutter order fulfillment software. Concisely, you don’t have to ship future orders of products; you only need to worry about fulfilling current customer orders.
2. Streamline Slotting to Improve Picking Time
This strategy is quite useful but hard to implement. Slotting streamlines picking processes at your fulfillment centers and warehouses.
“The process of determining where items should be placed in the picking area so that the popular items are stored close together and in close proximity to the starting point of picking so as to minimize walking time is called slotting.”
In simpler words, slotting is about strategically placing products in a warehouse to facilitate faster picking. Slotting streamlining includes placing in-demand items nearer to picking area than low-demand items and placing them together in a way that they do not look out of place. In addition, the key placements should in the line of the sight of the picker. They should neither be stored at a height he needs to use the fork picker for nor too low so that he has bend down and look around.
Moreover, slotting is about picking items in an order respecting their size, weight, and general fragility. Logically, fragile products are lifted last and thus are packed last.
If your slotting strategy revolves around storing similar items together, you are making a million dollar mistake.
3. Run Integrations with your Supplier
Products you put on sale at your online store or an eCommerce marketplace are usually sourced from various suppliers and you have to deal with them quite often from placing orders to returning defective pieces. However, things are not always on the brighter side with your supplier. When a shipment is delayed, you blame them for every customer lost while they won’t miss a chance to remind you of a missed payment. Disagreements are bound to happen when you’re doing business for such a long time. However, when those disagreements start leading to late shipments, frustrated suppliers and dissatisfied customers, you need a fix, and faster.
An ingenious way is to run integration with your suppliers’ internal management system. If your inventory management system can fetch data from your supplier’s internal software, you will get the transparency to avoid disagreements. When you have a point of disagreement, you will have the data from supplier to back the points. The problem will be addressed and not bother you, the supplier or the customers.
Integration with supplier will eliminate miscommunication problems such as billing errors. For example, our order management system can integrate with your supplier’s system so that missed orders, endless supplier coordination, invoicing errors and other such aggravations become things of the past.
4. Insist on Our Smart Warehouse Management System
Smart warehouse systems are commonplace in today’s warehouse ecosystem. A smart warehouse epitomizes automation and co-ordination of inter-operable technologies. These technologies ramp up productivity and efficiency of the warehouse, mitigate errors, cut labor requirement.”
Various technologies can automate a warehousing process and make order fulfillment more efficient: robotics, radio-frequency identification, Artificial Intelligence, and the Internet of Things. A modern warehouse management system can glue these technologies together to build smarter experiences.
An example of such smart experience would be smart slotting: When fulfillment centers get a shipment of products, RFID scanners tag each item and update the numbers to the inventory management system. A robotic arm strategically places those items in the warehouse and the same arm and picks it up when the order arrives and places it on the packing machine.
Technological advances keep human errors in check but also turn out faster storing and picking. Not to mention, you will require less humans for running the warehouse.
5. Make Supply Chain More Transparent
Transparency streamlines order processing by making your supply chain management more conspicuous. Supply chain visibility includes tracking supplier, product requests and deliveries to gain insights all over the supply chain operations. In modest terms, it is the ability to collect data all over your supply chain.
Improvements in supply chain visibility can gain powerful insights into what is holding your fulfillment processes.
For example, you believe late-coming workers are slowing down fulfillment at a warehouse. However, the insights blame the tagging system at your warehouse. You run some predictive analysis and find that an automated tagging system around RFIDs can raise the efficiency of the warehouse by 30%.
Of course, order fulfillment is a reminiscent of your supply chain visibility and you must element the cloak preventing visibility. It could be at your end, your supplier’s or logistics partner’s, regardless you order fulfillment process must run without hassle, save your precious time and money and a recurring customer service headaches.