One of the most vital processes to get right when you’re in the business of selling goods is the process of actually getting those goods to your customers. For those with retail stores, this is pretty straightforward: customers simply walk in and grab what they need off your shelves.
However, for business owners who ship products, maintaining a consistently well-functioning order fulfilment can be a real challenge. In this article, we provide some helpful tips for streamlining your order fulfilment processes so that you can maximise customer satisfaction and increase sales.
Inventory stock accuracy
One of the very first steps a business owner should take to start perfecting the order fulfilment process is to ensure the accuracy of their inventory stock. One of the quickest ways to lose a customer is through inaccurate inventory records – especially if they purchase a product online only to be told it is no longer in stock.
To avoid this situation, those in charge of inventory management need to consistently check the real stock levels against the company records and update them in real-time. Of course, this in itself can be a mammoth task especially as your inventory stock grows; but this is where you may want to consider implementing cloud-based inventory software to make managing stock more efficient.
By using inventory management software that supports tools such as barcode scanning, you can efficiently track and check stock levels with ease. These automated processes lessen the risk of human error during inventory stock counts, which will really help ensure that you’re providing your sales team and customers with the most accurate and up to date stock information.
Especially as your inventory stock levels grow, the placement in your storeroom or warehouse of individual products can hugely influence your order fulfilment processes. Imagine for example a surge in demand for a particular product occurs, and those products are stored in multiple hard to reach places throughout your warehouse – this would result in time wastage and delayed order fulfilment.
This is where what is known as slotting optimisation comes in handy: the process whereby inventory managers store products in the most efficient way possible in order to make picking easier. This includes storing the most popular items closer to the picking area, while also spacing them out well enough so that the area doesn’t get congested. Further, placing faster-moving items at a height where pickers don’t have to bend down or reach up can drastically help speed up the process.
By ensuring popular products can be easily located and picked out from stock, you can speed up the time between the customers’ order and the moment of delivery.
Communicating with suppliers
For retailers as well as manufacturers, the process of selling goods almost always involves multiple external parties who help with the production or coordination of the production of your company goods in some way or another. This means that communication between all parties involved is essential for perfecting order fulfilment processes.
Without consistent communication between all parties, you can be left with lack of both data and general knowledge of what happens with your third-party logistics. For example, a third-party may experience a hold up; but if you aren’t aware of this, you may provide customers with delivery times that are not in fact accurate. While on the surface a brief hold up like this may not seem to be a huge issue, it could lead to late shipments and dissatisfied customers.
Topics: inventory control, inventory management, order fulfillment, retail