“Omnichannel fulfillment” refers to any order fulfillment operations that service both business-to-business (B2B) and direct-to-consumer shipping (D2C). In today’s rising e-commerce environment, omnichannel fulfillment is usually seen when a business is shipping products out to retail locations as well as to any customers who order online. Being able to manage omnichannel fulfillment successfully can be a great boon for your business, as it allows you to sell products through multiple streams of business and have better access to consumers. Omnichannel fulfillment does come with challenges, however, but these can be made easier by finding the correct fulfillment services partner to work with.
Top Considerations for Finding an Omnichannel Fulfillment Services Partner
The Pick-and-Pack Process
How a candidate omnichannel fulfillment partner handles its pick-and-pack operations is a useful metric to examine when making your decision. Pick-and-pack affects the efficiency with which orders can be processed, likelihood of errors, and general standards of performance. Visit your prospective partner and observe the pick-and-pack operations in action. Ask to see the key performance indicators that are used, the standards that are kept, and the audit process that ensures order accuracy. All of these are important for any order fulfillment operation, but omnichannel fulfillment has the additional challenge of meeting D2C needs as well as the individual vendor standards required of any B2B shipments. How both sets of requirements are met and managed during pick-and-pack should not be overlooked.
In this instance, IT services refers to the way orders are received and transmitted through warehouse management systems. Ideally, your candidate omnichannel partner has their systems set up to be capable of receiving orders in multiple formats such as API, EDI, CSV, or regular e-mail. The systems should also be capable of running fluidly even in the face of peak-season order volumes. Automation is also important, such as the ability to automatically upload orders to the WMS for picking and packing.
It is normal for B2B and D2C inventories to be kept separate from each other. This requires your omnichannel fulfillment partner to have inventory management systems capable of effectively monitoring and managing both forms of stock. The system should be robust enough to manage routing guidelines, retail compliance matters, and other factors that can impact omnichannel operations.
Web-Based Systems and E-Commerce Visibility
It is important to find a fulfillment service that does not sacrifice visibility as part of the outsourcing process. Any experienced fulfillment partner should be able to provide you with a web-based system capable of letting you check on inventory status for both B2B and D2C stock, receipts, order status, tracking numbers, and shipment status in real time. Omnichannel fulfillment is a more involved process than single-stream operations and any partner you choose needs to be able to give you an eagle-eye view of how your fulfillment needs are being carried out.
Look to APS for Omnichannel Fulfillment
APS Fulfillment Inc. is a leading order fulfillment service company that operates out of Miami, Florida. Our integrative omnichannel approach tackles supply chain management, real-time inventory management, warehousing services, shipping, and everything else needed to ensure your goods get to their destination. We’ve stored, sorted, delivered, and quality assured products of all shapes and sizes for all kinds of companies across a wide variety of industries. Contact us by phone at 954-582-7450 or by e-mail at [email protected] for more ways third-party logistics services can support and grow your business.