Order fulfilment plays a big role for any company with inventory. Without an order fulfilment process, a company wouldn’t be able to deliver their product to their customers. It is an involved process and it begins from the moment a customer places an order and only finishes when the product has landed successfully in the customer’s hands. The scope of the order fulfilment process is massive. With multiple steps involved to make fulfilment come to fruition, there’s always room to improves these processes.
When you hear the word waste, your mind likely equates it to rubbish. While tangible waste is an issue for the order fulfilment process, waste takes on a greater meaning here. During order fulfilment, when operations in the supply chain don’t run efficiently, they waste time and money.
For instance, if inventory on the shelves does not match recent stock take data, then this could cause a disruption to the order fulfilment process. Let’s say there was meant to be 150 beach chairs in the warehouse according to a recent stocktake. However, when a worker finds out that there’s only 130 in stock, this provides additional work for staff members – they have to spend time tracking down the other chairs or order more stock, and waste time waiting for the stock to arrive. Understocking has an impact on customer satisfaction – you don’t just lose out on sales, you potentially lose out on repeat customers.
Look for areas of waste that are slowing down order fulfilment. Sometimes delivery trucks will go out on route half full. This isn’t maximising a truckload and could be improved through cost effective delivery methods.
Evaluate customer promises
Every company has a reputation to uphold. Some companies choose to enhance their reputation by making a high-quality product, others aim to provide goods at a low price, and some companies aim to deliver their products quickly. Delivering products in a short time frame is great in theory, but if your order fulfilment process is lagging, then this promise could suffer.
Some companies try to get around this by saying they will offer free delivery in 2-5 business days. However, if your products are always getting there on the fifth day, your customers will most likely be disappointed. Look at the frequency of delivery vehicles and how you can guarantee faster shipping. If you can streamline this part of your order fulfilment process, customers will be satisfied.
Integrate your technology
There is a lot of different software that supports and facilitates the order fulfilment process. If you can integrate your technology platforms, this can speed up processes. Ensure that your eCommerce platform communicates with your inventory management software. The more information flows across the business, the smoother the order fulfilment process will be.
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.