Order fulfilment is a critical area for both B2B and B2C businesses as it directly influences the brand’s image and trust – essential elements for maintaining and growing a successful business. An order fulfilment process flow determines the extent to which the business can meet its customer requirements. With many are players in the fast-paced eCommerce market, businesses need to ensure they get their customers’ order to them as efficiently as possible.
The order fulfilment process begins when an order is placed and ends when the shipment is made, between these points, there are a number of complex and interrelated processes; these include inventory stock allocations, billing, invoicing, delivery scheduling and more. These steps need to be perfected to achieve a 100% order fulfilment rate. Here we identify six order fulfilment process steps that help fulfil an order successfully.
Streamline inventory handling
Your order fulfilment process begins with great inventory management, so ensure your inventory and everything related to it is set up right. Having the right amount of inventory at the right time in the right place is one of the key steps in the order fulfilment process.
Stock level accuracy
Your stock levels have to be up-to-date no matter how they have been used. Apart from orders, scenarios like returns, damages, free samples often go unaccounted for and can affect your stock level accuracy. Ensure even the smallest change is updated in your inventory management system.
Forecasting customer demand for each sales channel will help with reducing dead stock. Know your customer behaviour and be prepared for fluctuations in demand at any given time.
Once you know which sales channel demands the most, you can start adjusting the inventory stock numbers accordingly to ensure you never miss out on a sale.
A greater quantity in orders means a greater quantity of inventory stock and therefore a bigger need for warehousing space. While maintaining multiple warehouses, the demand for ideal warehouse specifications surfaces, making warehouse management itself a nightmare. If warehouse management is not seen to correctly, the order fulfilment process in eCommerce will encounter serious complications.
Knowing what is happening with your orders helps towards perfecting your online order fulfilment. Your delivery team should know about the status of each order so delays are minimised when getting the products moved on to the next level.
Simple editing and return process
Customers sometimes need to make changes to their order, or return stock based on your businesses returns policy. Allowing some leeway in processing orders helps better your order fulfilment process.
Increased accuracy in forecasting
Analysing consumer-based orders will create valuable insight into identifying preferred products. Insights on seasonal sales are critical to help the business prepare for demand. Compare sales performances based on time to detect which season yields your business maximum revenue and which products make it to the top selling list. Seasonal sales analysis can help you better your order fulfilment.
These steps can help lead to perfect order fulfilment. A great inventory management software will sit at the heart of your business, taking the headache out of order fulfilment, helping you to save time, money and energy.
Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.