COVID-19 has derailed retail and eCommerce and has presented several challenges never experienced before. It has significantly impacted global supply chains and order fulfillment.
For modern businesses to get out of the rut and embark on a seamless order fulfillment experience, it is imperative for them to develop strategies that would help them get rid of these bottlenecks and supercharge the fulfillment process.
The question that crops up is which strategies should businesses focus on and help them navigate these challenges with optimum ease.
This article discusses seven order fulfillment strategies to help you get rid of shipment and delivery issues.
What is order fulfillment?
Order fulfillment refers to the entire process that starts with the sale and ends with the post-delivery experience.
It involves –
- Receiving goods first-hand
- Storage in the warehouse of a distribution center
- Customer order processing, including picking and packaging, and
- Picking and packing from storage location to grouping into individual shipments
- Shipping the final groups and handling the returns
Strategies to optimize order fulfillment
90% of consumers want an omnichannel experience.
Optimizing order fulfillment is a strategy that works irrespective of your business. Still, it would only do so when you know what you are trying to achieve and employ the best practices towards attaining it.
Optimize inventory management
While having too much of a non-moving stock can entail unnecessary carrying costs, having too less of a product in demand can land you in a different kind of trouble.
The pandemic has disrupted the existing supply chains, and the customer understands, but they cannot help you if you are not working on optimizing your inventory yet. So, it is imperative to have set rules regarding your stocks, and having a module baked into your system will make the task much more manageable.
Read about “Multi channel eCommerce inventory management.”
Focus on improving supply chain visibility
Supply chain visibility refers to tracking production and shipments to garner vital insights regarding your supply chain operations.
It helps you figure out potential pain points that can hurt your order fulfillment processes. It will also enable you to discover optimal shipping routes and slow your overall shipment. Once you have the issues figured out, you can work on finding an optimized solution and devise solutions to fix them.
This proactive attitude will help you save time, money, and a lot of other probable issues.
Choose an efficient order fulfillment ERP system
ERP plays an integral role in managing your inventory and its related processes.
With an efficient ERP system, it becomes easier for organizations to manage their inventory and the overall shipment process. It also enables the different departments to work in conjunction and optimize their order fulfillment.
Use last mile tracking
Customers today remain inquisitive about when their ordered products will arrive and prefer having a real-time overview of the current status of their online order.
With last-mile delivery, customers get to see the exact order status and an approximate lead-up time to the delivery.
It also helps cut down the chances of theft or products getting lost. Adopting a last-mile delivery approach also enables the users to change their perception of you and increase the likelihood of completing a purchase.
Work out reverse fulfillment logistics
Once you scale, your product returns will also increase. It means that it is imperative for your teams to keep up with both aspects with equal elan.
If you don’t, your internal processes will disintegrate because of their inability to manage incoming inventory as returns. Having a seamless reverse fulfillment experience for your team would enable you to register your available products with ease.
Having well-established POS or barcode, or RFI scanners in your warehouse would contribute to better inventory management and seamless returns.
Integrate with suppliers
Most eCommerce retailers do not manufacture most of the products they sell. So, most of them rely on their suppliers to fulfil customer orders.
But with third-party providers, it becomes difficult to keep track of every process, and you may not get real-time updates on delays that may plague their work.
For this, it becomes vital for the eCommerce vendors to establish a system that seamlessly integrates with their vendors and allows you to keep a tab on their operations and any possible occurrences that can hamper their shipments and products.
Invest in intelligent warehousing systems
With IoT sensors becoming more mainstream every passing day, intelligent warehouse systems have become a reality for most eCommerce businesses.
These systems use interconnected tech to leverage human problem solving and boost accuracy and efficiency by automating multiple processes. In addition, it enables the workforce to handle products efficiently and ensure seamless shipping.
The year 2022 is when businesses revamp their order fulfillment processes and embark on holistic growth. With the pandemic introducing several new standard scenarios that look very different from what existed, it is vital for eCommerce businesses to be flexible and find means to optimize delivery experiences.