E-commerce vendors know they need speed and accuracy on their side when it comes to their fulfillment operations. As online shopping continues to show no signs of slowing down as the way people prefer to shop, online retailers are constantly in a race with time to get their orders to their customers accurately and as fast as possible. To increase success rates, most e-commerce vendors are continuously taking stock of their pick and pack and shipping processes and looking to optimize their fulfillment processes. To compete with other online retailers, try these 5 tips to improve the key areas of your fulfillment process.
Technology, Automation, Shipping, Communication, Outsourcing
- Technology Your business will run more efficiently when you implement a Warehouse Management System (WMS) with inventory management capabilities or an Order Management System (OMS) that helps promote transparency in your warehouse operations from onboarding to tracking inventory, to providing real-time inventory counts. Out-of-stock messages and backorders do nothing for your success rate as an online vendor. In fact, these oversights in inventory management could cost you customers as consumers are not willing to wait for their orders to arrive. Most are likely to abandon your site for another e-tailer that can meet their online shopping delivery needs. Your technology should also easily integrate with your shopping carts and shipping platforms, as well. This kind of technology can be an expensive investment for many online vendors.
- Organizing your fulfillment and pick and pack processes will reduce the time it takes to perform your fulfillment orders. For most online retailers, their warehousing space is not set up with full automation equipment, but there are some things you can do to save time and money in your fulfillment process. Organize your inventory so SKUs are easy to find and color-coded to indicate sizes or various product options. Arrange your inventory so that it is easier for pick and pack personnel to access. Proper shelving, bins, or other containers should be readily identifiable with proper lighting to speed up the picking process. Training your staff in the specifics of your packing process will save time and money on packing supplies, also. Posting packing specs and instructions as a reminder for your staff provides packing personnel with clear, specific instructions that will help improve your packing process. Inexpensive low-tech tape machines and box erectors can save you a lot of money each year by improving efficiency. You can measure your fulfillment processes for optimal pick and pack practices by tracking personnel performance. You can do this by bringing attention to the need to achieve a competitive edge by tracking performance and rewarding your staff for exemplary performance, improved performance, and other measurements.
- Shipping Often, one of the most time-consuming issues e-commerce retailers encounter involves shipping regulations and shipping zones. The farther away the shipping zone is, the higher the cost. If possible, ship from warehouses in different parts of the country to reduce shipping costs to distant zones. If you ship enough volume, you may be able to receive discounted rates from your preferred carrier. You can also ask carriers if they offer any shipping discount for dedicated shippers. Some independent courier services offer comparisons between carriers and will ship your packages, as well. Learning to pack your orders properly will help you save on actual weight and dimensional weight. Offer two-day shipping to local and nearby destinations that you can deliver on.
- CommunicationOpen lines of communication are important in every aspect of your e-commerce business. Our Account Managers are here to support you and your team as needed. Personable, professional Account Managers help improve your fulfillment process by answering your questions and addressing your concerns about warehousing, shipping, tracking orders, etc. promptly so that you can get your customers the information they need as quickly as possible.
- Outsourcing A recent DHLstat revealed that “60 percent of e-retailers outsource their fulfillment to 3PL service providers.” E-commerce vendors are realizing that they can leverage the expertise that a 3PL service, such as Phase V Some of the ways that outsourcing can improve your fulfillment operations include:
- Skilled and experienced logistics personnel that can pick and pack your orders more accurately and faster than you can do it in-house.
- Offering two-day shipping out of regionally distributed warehouses ensures your orders arrive on time.
- Providing deep shipping discounts and a knowledge of shipping regulations and freight management that saves companies a significant amount on shipping costs and time management for deliveries.
- Streamlining your fulfillment operations by optimizing your fulfillment processes speeds up your pick and pack processes.
- Offering prompt support in the fulfillment process.
- Offering a turnkey solution that saves you the costly and disruptive time investment involved in leasing or purchasing and maintaining a warehouse and training fulfillment personnel.
- Utilizing state-of-the-art technology, powered by data analysis to provide replenishment alerts for your products, to avoid the pitfalls of out of stock and backorder issues.
Phase V can help your e-commerce business with improving your fulfillment process. With over 40 years of experience in the industry, we have everything you need in place and ready to go from the necessary technology and automation to the ins and outs of shipping from our warehouses in Florida and Arizona. When you think about outsourcing fulfillment for your e-commerce business, consider partnering with Phase V Fulfillment Services. Contact Phase V to learn how we can work with you to optimize your fulfillment processes to seamlessly scale the growth of your e-commerce business in a way that works for you!