Creating a smooth fulfillment process is ideal when striving for a foundation that leads to a positive business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C) relationship. The term “fulfillment” encapsulates the whole procedure of processing, picking and shipping an order to a client or customer. There are a variety of methods to handle this whether it is by the company actually creating the product or alternatively having the process handled by a third-party logistics/3PL provider. No matter what the business itself classifies as there is an art to flawless order fulfillment.
But how do you begin? Start with a positive ecommerce fulfillment plan. This is imperative to the achievement of success in a competitive marketplace. Next, create a foundation of customer confidence. Obviously not every company is the same and possesses their own goals and needs so there is no universal fulfillment strategy that can be used for every situation. Because of this, there are a variety of factors that must be considered when deciding on what the best selection is for your company.
When Thinking about Fulfillment, Consider Your Sales Volume and Business Size
Every business should keep in mind the amount of products being offered in addition to the order size when it comes to determining which order fulfillment solution will be the best for your business.
Things to keep in mind:
- How many products are being sold?
- Are the products being sold through business-to-business (B2B), business-to-consumer (B2C) or a mixture of the two?
- How many orders are being fulfilled month to month?
- What is the prediction of growth for your products and orders over both the next quarter and year?
- What are your product storage requirements?
For example, if you have a low volume of orders then it would not be the best decision to outsource your fulfillment process. Instead, you could opt to fill the orders on your own.
However, if you are predicting that your business is anticipating an uptick in order volume you need a plan to keep up with this increase in orders. With increased orders it may become difficult to maintain a self-fulfillment structure and eventually it will become near impossible to fulfill products flawlessly and in quick succession. This is the moment to switch and have a 3PL provider, like Fulco Fulfillment by your side.
Order Fulfillment Technology and Sales Channels
Things to keep in mind
- What type of ecommerce platform are you using?
- Is a marketplace, website, shopping portal or alternative type of online store/shopping being used? Perhaps instead you are using a combination of these or including a physical storefront?
Your fulfillment strategy should be capable of providing the necessary support for your different sales channels. This especially comes into play when using technology. This technology can assist your business with becoming both more cost-effective and efficient in addition to enhancing the customer experience and satisfaction of your customers. The implemented technology being used as a part of the order processing plan should complete the goal of making things easier rather than making things more difficult.
Once the technology has become integrated, it should have the capability of streamlining the process. An API integration is a reliable way to be sure that as soon as order has been placed it will seamlessly be available to your 3PL provider to then be picked, packed, and shipped as soon as possible.
It is also important to consider that your fulfillment process is using the correct type of inventory management software. An inventory management system should be able to report on all available inventory levels across all locations. Safeguards can also be put into place that will alert you if you are running out of stock.
Keep in mind also that warehouse management software or a WMS can assist controlling the daily warehouse operation which includes shipping, sorting, storage and inventory management. Your order fulfillment software of choice can assist with the difficult and time-consuming duties of inventory and warehouse management, order picking and processing, shipping and tracking and returns processing (reverse logistics).
Flawless Order Fulfillment Leads to Satisfied Customers
Discovering the art of flawless order fulfillment can happen inside your organization or outsourcing to 3PL provider. At the top of that list should be building a positive ecommerce fulfillment plan and creating a foundation of customer confidence. This will ensure the satisfaction of your customers.
Having a 3PL should give you the capability of supporting the growth of your business and assist with the navigation of the complexities that are oftentimes associated with supply chain and logistics. Most importantly, flawless order fulfilment will give your customers peace of mind by getting products into their hands as efficiently and accurately as possible. If you need help with order fulfilment, contact Fulco Fulfillment.