Whether you’re looking for a fulfillment company or are a fulfillment company looking to improve your procedures, there’s one thing you need to know: fast order fulfillment can make all the difference for your business. You can spend a ton of money on marketing and advertising, but the fact is that if customers are unhappy with your service, then your business won’t do well.
The widespread use of social media has made it extremely easy for consumers to connect with each other, and give suggestions on who has not only the best products, but the best customer service. The faster you’re able to fulfill orders, the faster your customers will receive their order. If you read our last post, then you know that fast shipping is one of the top things that consumers expect—and fast order fulfillment process means fast shipping. You can build your business by providing your customers with an awesome experience, which will not only encourage them to return, but to bring their family and friends with them as well. Furthermore, speedy order fulfillment can make your supply chain more efficient by eliminating redundancies and waste, and reducing cost.
Have we convinced you it’s worth your while to speed up your order fulfillment process? If the answer is yes, then keep on reading to find out about the five key ways to reduce your order fulfillment time.
Assess Your Warehouse
The heart of your process is your warehouse and the employees that run it. Whether you’re shipping goods to a retailer to straight to the customer, the speed in which its gets there depends on the efficiency of your warehouse. If you’ve identified a problem in your order fulfillment process, it’s best to start here.
Begin by looking at the layout of your warehouse and thinking about whether it’s set up to be as efficient as possible or if it could benefit from a little rearranging. Place operations next to those that make sense; for example, if one department needs to be in communication with another, it wouldn’t make sense for them to be on opposite ends of the warehouse.
Secondly, you’ll need to make sure that your employees are adequately trained and able to do their job as fast and effectively as possible. Having partially trained employees on the floor will not only slow down the order fulfillment process, but will open your operation up to sending out wrong orders. It’s better to spend time with them at the beginning of their employment to make sure they’re thoroughly trained rather than have them learn on the job and potentially make mistakes.
Smart Warehousing Strategies
With the rising popularity of two-day, next-day, or even same-day shipping, consumers have come to expect impossibly fast shipping on pretty much all online orders. How are you supposed to meet these seemingly unrealistic expectations? There are two options: ship by air or ship from a warehouse close to your shoppers’ locations.
The former is a pricier solution and can end up costing you in the long run. While ground shipping from close warehouses is clearly the better option, you may be wondering how you’re supposed to afford warehouses across the nation. The answer is you don’t have to. The most practical way to give fast, cheap shipping options to consumers is to integrate with the third-party logistics service provider that has a large network of warehouses across the country. This way, you can achieve the same results at just a fraction of the price.
Master Inventory Planning
Adjust Your Inventory to Align with Promotions
If you have the foresight to know about promotions before they happen, use this information to your advantage. When you know which products will be on promotion and when, take the opportunity to move these products to the most convenient location in your warehouse, which will most likely be near your picking staff. Since the numbers of orders will likely be high, this will work to offset the resulting delay and hopefully speed up your order fulfillment process altogether.
Kitting or Pre-assembly
Kitting is a strategy that speeds up the order preparation process for products that are sold with a number of additional accessories. For example, skincare devices may be sold with a carrying case, charger, and samples of a promotional face wash. By pre-assembling these items and having them ready to go upon order placement, your order fulfillment time will be significantly reduced.
Study Demand Trends
Taking note of purchasing trends can give you a huge advantage when it comes to lowering your order fulfillment time. One key trend is the practice for customers to purchase multiple different items together. For example, customers who purchase a cellphone online are also likely to buy a protective case and car charger with it. When you take note of trends like this, you can organize your warehouse to increase efficiency; instead of having items that are commonly purchased together on separate ends of the warehouse, place them next to each other to expedite order fulfillment.
Speed Up the Picking Process
In addition to strategically organizing the products in your warehouse, you might want to think about changing the way orders are picked. Picking orders manually can be time-consuming, which is why most order fulfillment companies now choose to sort and batch their items by product lines or SKUs. This allows items to be quickly located in a potentially massive warehouse and be on their way for packing and shipping.
Plan Efficient Routes for Delivery
Once a package has left the warehouse, there’s not much that can be done to speed up the time in which it reaches its destination aside from speeding, which is a liability. However, there is one thing that can be done to optimize ground-shipping time: planning efficient routes. Take the time to plan out the most efficient routes for your drivers so that they can avoid traffic, bottlenecks, and other delays if possible. Using data to plan efficient trucking routes will not only reduce delivery time, it’ll lower fuel costs as well.
If you’re looking for an order fulfillment company that will fill and ship your order as fast as possible, then look no further than APS Fulfillment, Inc. With a fail-safe pick-and-pack service faster than any other, the only thing you’ll regret it not having chosen us sooner. Contact us today to learn how we can help handle all of your product and e-commerce fulfillment services.