Order fulfillment can be a big challenge. Your fulfillment process includes all the steps you must take from the order receipt to your customer’s receiving the package. There are many steps involved that can cause issues. As an example your process may look like this:
- Order is received, either on the web, in person, on the phone, via email, etc.
- Customer is notified that the order has been received.
- Order is sent to the warehouse.
- Order is picked.
- Order is packed to prepare for shipping.
- Order is shipped.
- Customer is notified that the order is on its way.
- Order arrives.
There are many steps to the process that can cause a breakdown or areas where you get bottlenecked. So, here are some tips to help you fulfill orders more quickly, accurately and efficiently.
- Demand: Planning for demand involves knowing in advance what demand for a product will be and having stock on hand to fulfill the orders.
- Inventory Management: Order fulfillment is all about meeting customer expectations. If you are out of stock on the items your customers want, you have a big problem. You must have systems in place to replenish low stock. Also, make sure you provide visibility on stock levels when customers place the order; it keeps them from being disappointed with backorders and delays.
- Supply Chain: Do you have the right supply chain in place? Do you know how long it takes to produce each item you sell so that you do not have back orders?
- Logistics: Once the items are ready to ship, how are you going to get them to the customer? How long will it take? Will the items be handled carefully so they arrive in one piece?
So now that you have fine-tuned these 4 areas, how can you speed up the process?
- Have logical staging areas for an easy pick/pack process such as most commonly ordered items grouped together first in an easy access location.
- Make sure you have software that helps you manage the orders and processes. This can be a seamless transition between employees and departments.
Many companies find that their fulfillment of orders is consuming too much time. They then look to outsource the fulfillment to save time and meet customer expectations. Happy customers mean you will get more orders. Do you have a great process in place? Tell us about it.
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