9 Tips For Improving Your Fulfillment Efficiency
When it comes to running a successful eCommerce business, efficiency is vital. When orders start rolling in faster than you can manage, it can be easy to lose track of which orders have been filled and shipped and which ones still need to be. That’s why it’s so essential for businesses to take the time to optimize their fulfillment processes. After all, to stay ahead of the competition, you must ensure that your customers get their orders quickly and accurately. This blog article will cover nine tips for improving your fulfillment efficiency. These strategies will help ensure that your business is operating at peak performance, from streamlining processes to finding ways to reduce mistakes.
Focus on Inventory Accuracy
Your inventory metrics will not be accurate, and you won’t be able to store, pick, pack, ship, or fulfill your orders with high efficiency. Customers and partners want to know what is in stock and available immediately when placing orders. If they don’t see the correct information, it can lead to backorders, deadstock, stockouts, and other problems. The worst scenario is when your customers buy their products from another vendor.
You can improve accuracy by following good inventory naming, labeling, and spot checks. Also, you can perform cycle counts. To eliminate human error and manual data entry, you can use a warehouse management system (WMS) and inventory management system (IMS).
Make Your Order Fulfillment Process Predictable
Inefficiencies will occur when your order fulfillment process is inconsistent from one day to the next. You will have higher labor and operational costs as you do not know what to expect daily from your order fulfillment operations. Also, your inventory may be overstocked or understocked. Invest in order management software that can monitor, predict, and automate your systems for greater predictability. Automation is a growing trend in logistics and warehousing. Automation can save time and make it more accurate. Focusing your attention elsewhere is much easier when your software does the monitoring.
Optimize Warehouse Layout
How a warehouse layout is designed can significantly impact the order fulfillment process’s efficiency. Optimizing workflow from the initial step of receiving inbound goods to the final stage of shipping them is essential. It will help to prevent supply chain bottlenecks. If you feel your fulfillment center layout needs to be completely redesigned, consider hiring a specialist. A specialist can help you optimize your warehouse space to store your products more efficiently without renting or expanding.
Streamline Order Picking
Order picking forms a core component of any distribution center. Optimizing the picking process is crucial, as even small inefficiencies can majorly impact your bottom line. You can use various picking types, such as zone picking, wave picking, and small batch picking. Small changes such as bundling orders or organizing top-selling SKUs in a closed area of your fulfillment center can make a big difference in efficiency. The 3PL will have highly skilled pickers, so outsourcing your fulfillment can benefit their experience.
Slotting refers to the organization of your fulfillment center’s inventory prior to it being picked, processed, and fulfilled. Optimizing your slotting can make fulfillment more efficient and cost-effective, just like picking. You can improve your order fulfillment by making minor adjustments, such as placing your most popular products in the most convenient slots. Slotting should be considered a top-level function of your fulfillment operations. You must follow best practices to ensure your products arrive in the quickest time possible.
Reduce Touches and Handling
Keeping track of the average number and frequency of touches for a particular item in your warehouse is crucial. There is more chance for human error and mishandling, resulting in incorrect products shipped, labeling errors, and lost inventory. You can also reduce the risk of theft and damage by reducing the number of SKUs handled. This will increase the speed of your fulfillment process. Every step of the fulfillment process can be considered a touch. This could include robot picking or pallet transporting.
Outsource Order Fulfillment to a 3PL
Third-party logistics ( 3PL) providers can help you execute your order efficiently by outsourcing logistics. They have strategically placed fulfillment centers and high-quality staff to pick, pack, and ship your orders. A 3PL that is right for you should be an integral part of your business’s team. They will help you develop successful fulfillment strategies that avoid stockouts, backorders, and unnecessary extra costs due to mistakes. Your 3PL should be an integral part of your team and support your company’s growth.
Utilize an RFID System
Transparency and data tracking are essential to help you develop solid analytics. Analytics are also necessary for making meaningful changes daily. You can track and monitor orders with radio frequency identification (RFID) and detailed tracking software.
Every fulfillment company should make it a priority to use as little packaging as possible. Packaging adds to more work, more hand-holding, more time, and more waste. It would help if you aimed to minimize the amount of packaging used to protect your items during transit.
Fulfillment centers and distribution centers are two options for warehouses to receive their orders. They both ship and store products. When discussing logistics and supply chain management, these terms are often interchangeable. Knowing the difference between fulfillment and distribution centers will help you choose the right one.
It’s so essential for eCommerce businesses to take the time to optimize their order fulfillment processes. To stay ahead of the competition, they must ensure that their customers get their orders quickly and accurately. That is why Improving fulfillment efficiency is important.