We’ve written a lot about the importance of order fulfillment and the role it plays in every business that sells products. Successfully delivering an order from manufacturer to end user isn’t as straightforward as it may seem. Not having a system in place to navigate those orders can lead to unsatisfied customers and lost revenue.
But what exactly do those steps look like? What happens from the time an order is placed to the time customers receives their package at their doorstep?
Generally speaking, there are four key steps to the e-commerce order fulfillment process.
For most order fulfillment companies, including ours, the ideal way to receive an order is by synchronizing our shopping cart with the clients’. This way, we know—in real time—when an order has been placed and we can react in a timely manner. However, for clients who have recurring orders, a commas-separated values (CSV) file can be most efficient. Essentially the client provides an updated list each month with the corresponding orders. This method is effective with companies selling vitamins and supplements.
After being received, orders are immediately printed and prioritized. Overnight and two-day orders are managed first so they are delivered on time. Some clients have certain pick and pack instructions they’d like us to follow, so we make sure to keep that in mind as well. What’s crucial at this point, however, is organizing each product among the large number of stock-keeping units (SKUs) we operate in our warehouse. Ensuring this is done effectively allows us to operate more quickly to process and deliver orders.
Picking and Packing
We’ve received, printed, and sorted the orders according to priority; now, it’s time to pick, pack, and ship them out. Typically, units are picked in bunches and then moved to a sorting area. In the sorting area, the units are further grouped into individual orders before being moved to a packing station. Software is used to verify that each address is correct, and then we separate domestic and international orders and pair them with the appropriate paperwork. After that, the only step left is to label and ship the products.
At this stage, orders are closed and tracking numbers are sent for each of them through the integration of our client’s shopping cart with ours. We’re also able to send tracking numbers to end customers if our clients prefer us to do so. An important step within the confirmation process is updating the inventory to reflect processed orders. It’s always crucial for both us and our clients to have accurate inventory numbers.
APS Fulfillment, Inc., is a Miami-based specialist in direct-mail marketing and warehouse fulfillment. We’ve stored, sorted, and delivered products of all shapes and sizes for all kinds of companies. Contact us by phone at 945-582-7450 or by email at [email protected] for more ways third-party warehousing and fulfillment services can support and grow your business.