How to Improve Order Fulfillment Process At Your Small Business
You can greatly increase the efficiency and success of your business by optimizing the order fulfillment process. To meet the supplycahin demand you should consider inventory forecasting software for your small business.
Having an ineffective or flawed fulfillment process at any point could negatively affect your customers’ experiences, leaving them without a reason to return. Furthermore, you might also lose out on a lot of money, turn off new leads, and keep existing customers away. You might even damage the reputation of your business.
Those negatives can be avoided with an error-free, highly efficient workflow. You will be able to increase customer loyalty, save your business time and money, and decrease labor expenses.
What is Order Fulfillment?
Fulfillment of orders is a multi-layered, step-by-step process. If you go through amazon stranded inventory management module a product’s manufacturing process is completed once it reaches the customer. The central part of our process is usually broken down into three steps: pick, pack, and ship.
- Pick. Using information on the packing slip, a “picker” in your business must locate the items needed to satisfy a new order. The chosen items are then brought to a packing station.
- Pack. Shipment of the goods is completed at a station. At this stage, some businesses create unique “unboxing” experiences for their customers by customizing their packaging. So you have the opportunity to show your creativity.
- Ship. Your products can then be shipped to your customers once you have selected a courier and printed out shipping labels for them. Your customers should receive perfectly working products and packages, if all goes well.
The order fulfillment process should be improved and systematized to build the best possible customer experience for established companies like and new startups alike. You can avoid unnecessary bottlenecks and save your company hundreds or even thousands of dollars by complying with this rule.
For an e-commerce business, the order fulfillment process consists of 13 general steps:
- The product needs to be manufactured.
- Place an order for inventory.
- Inventory needs to be organized.
- Keeping inventory on hand.
- Take delivery of the order.
- You need to process the order.
- Send an email to the customer confirming receipt of the order.
- The order must be picked up and packaged.
- Make sure quality is maintained.
- Provide the consumer with the package.
- Ship the order and notify the customer.
- The package must be delivered to the customer.
- Refund and return items as needed.
Here are 5 tips for improving your order fulfillment process
There’s no way to guarantee that you will fulfill every order perfectly – mistakes are inevitable. The process of fulfilling an order can minimize these risks, but there are a few things you could do in order to do so, which are as follows.
- Managing your inventory effectively
You need to start at the very beginning if you want to improve your order fulfillment process. Ensure that your stock inventory is managed and controlled properly even before you have had an order. Unless you do, you’re prone to all sorts of problems.
Keeping track of demand forecasts is the first step. Anticipating peaks in demand and ordering the right amount of stock is crucial, so that you can meet those demands. Prepare for seasonal sales fluctuations by knowing your supplier’s lead times well in advance. In order to do so, you also need to know the number of product lines in your supply chain. Those ordered from your supplier and awaiting delivery, as well as any ordered from your customer and returned to them.
- Automate your processes
Automating your business might seem intimidating to you, especially if you are brand new to it. You may think can you really trust a computer with your money? Despite being aware of the inefficiencies and sticking points caused by this, many businesses stick with what they know. We often think ‘better the devil you know’ when confronted with the prospect of drastic change.
Automated warehouses don’t mean you’ll operate them with robots. In other words, it means removing all those laborious manual steps that could easily lead to human error. Automated systems can tell warehouse operators, for instance, how to package the order, how to pick the items in the most efficient order, and which courier service to use, according to an order.
You can end up having trouble fulfilling orders when you receive them from several sources. Your warehouse staff can ship orders faster by using an automated, standardized fulfillment process, which avoids confusion.
- Picking and packing should be prepared
You can essentially consider picking and packing to be non-profitable when analyzing your supply chain. As time goes on, the more it will cost you to locate, package, and ship an order. Automating picking and packing can reduce the time spent on these tasks as well as reduce errors. Moreover, you can improve the efficiency of your order fulfillment process in your warehouse by doing some other things.
Think about how you have organized your shelf space for your products. Keep the best-selling and fastest-moving items in an area that is easy to find if you haven’t done so yet. You should group items that you usually order together if they are often purchased in the same order. Make your SKUs as clear and unique as possible. In a complex and poorly organized warehouse, picking and packing errors are easy to make, resulting in more customer returns.
- Reverse logistics is a good idea
Getting your products to the doors of your customers can easily consume all of your attention. Do you think about reverse distribution as much? Reverse logistics is the process of fulfilling orders after customers return a product. Any business that engages in e-Commerce will face returns, but they can be a pain point if they aren’t handled properly.
As quickly as possible, you should aim to get returned items back into your inventory. It will cause more problems if it sits unaccounted for, whether it causes you to over order stock, or to reject orders because you don’t think it’s in stock. Keep quality control in check, too. Be prepared for damaged items by ensuring your warehouse team is trained properly.
- The visibility and scalability of the site
Last but not least, knowing the full scope of your order fulfillment process is crucial to finding ways to improve it. Identifying improvement and growth areas is difficult if your data is buried in spreadsheets. Rather, you should use order management and inventory management software.
Take a closer look at the information you have at your fingertips to make smarter decisions around the areas we’ve discussed in the above points. For example, are you making the majority of your mistakes during the picking and packaging process? You may also have found that a particular supplier isn’t delivering your order as quickly as you would like. An order fulfillment issue must be handled by identifying its root cause.
Use Inventooly to Improve Order Fulfillment Processing for Your Business
Implementing order fulfillment software can automate tedious tasks, track vital information, and handle menial and high-level tasks on your behalf. We offer powerful, easy-to-use inventory software called Inventooly. In addition, you will be able to see exactly what’s on hand and what’s on order. Access the inventory software on any of your wireless devices for quick data updates or to check inventory.
Check out the Inventooly here to see more of its features.