Having a streamlined order fulfilment process is an important operation that many companies strive for in the age of eCommerce. With an effective order fulfilment process, a company can deliver products to customers swiftly and achieve customer expectations. In the fast-paced eCommerce market, products are shipped around the globe. This means order fulfilment is more important than ever. As the eCommerce space continues to grow, having effective order fulfilment processes in place will set you up for success.
When looking to optimise order fulfilment, it’s important to understand what you are optimising and where there is room for improvement. It’s a big job considering that order fulfilment is essentially every step that a company takes from the instant they receive an order until the merchandise is received by the customer. The journey of the merchandise goes through many stages. It’s in your best interest to break down your current stages and see if these optimisation tips can be applied to your process.
Work with your suppliers
Supplier relationships are a huge asset to have that can support your order fulfilment process. If you are running an eCommerce business, you will have interactions with many different suppliers. These suppliers will provide materials for products, supply equipment for warehouses and will be the ones who deliver the actual merchandise. Each supplier supports the journey of the product and makes the order fulfilment process run smoothly.
It is important to note that you might need multiple suppliers to fulfil large orders. Having good working relationships with your preferred suppliers is optimum, but also having solid relationships with backup suppliers is important. Having a strong network of suppliers will ensure that you can deliver goods to your customers and if something goes awry in the process it is likely that they will be more willing to help you.
Integrate your systems
An integral part of optimisation is streamlining your systems. Many companies have a system for their inventory and a system for their sales and a system for their forecasting and so on. To run a swift operation, look to amalgamate your systems. With new age online inventory management systems, there is an option to bring many of these pieces into one. Online inventory management can communicate with sales data in real-time and give up-to-date information on what’s been sold and what is left in the warehouse.
The real-time updates from an online inventory management tool will support your logistics to fulfil orders. Because inventory can be tracked, it can end the search for rogue products placed somewhere in a warehouse. This means the picking, packing and shipping processes can go much faster.
Using an online inventory management system will increase the amount of automation within your warehouse. However, there are more steps you can take to enhance your fulfilment process. Robots can be used to manage inventory in warehouse settings. They can be programmed to get products off the shelves and packed for delivery. Another task they can take on it stock taking. This keeps your numbers accurate and ensures you have the right stock for your order fulfilment process.
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.