You might have a brilliant product and a sales funnel that slides your customers easily to check out. But if your fulfillment operations are not smooth, the online retail will not achieve its true potential.
Significance of Order Fulfillment in Warehouse Management
Fulfillment operations primarily refer to the process of getting a product delivered to the right customer at the right time after a successful sale.
Order fulfillment is the process of receiving an order and executing it by making it ready for delivery to its intended customer. It may involve warehouse pickup, packaging, labelling, and shipping. The process may slightly differ from business to business. But the motto remains the same – the faster the delivery, the happier the customer.
As customers, when we want something, we want it right away. However, as the seller, this is easier said than done. Order fulfillment may not be the most exciting aspect of running an e-commerce business and you may overlook it. But the truth is each element in the process impacts an online seller’s income and profit.
Major Processes Involved in the Order Fulfillment
There are many moving pieces involved in getting the order to the customer’s doorstep. From locating the product to picking the right packaging, each step is important for optimized fulfillment operations.
There are majorly five touchpoints in order fulfillment:
Being the first step, receiving is indeed the most important process, because before processing the goods to the final destination, it’s important to first receive them in the warehouse. To perform this process smoothly, a WMS must authenticate that warehouse has received the right product, in the right quantity, in the right quality, at the right place, and during the right time.
Putaway is the next process that includes the movements of goods. While this process seems easier to execute, failing to implement its application can cost huge losses. WMS plays a major role, as it enables the businesses to create putaway while saving them from impairing operational productivity.
Storage is the process of storing inventory at the right place. If this process is executed properly, the business process can maximize the available storage area and increase productivity.
- Picking and Packing
Picking is the warehouse process that involves the collection of products in a warehouse for order fulfillment. While this process is directly related to the previous process, streamlining this can optimize cost up to a certain amount.
- Shipping and QC
The journey of goods reaching the final destination concludes with this process. This process is also crucial as it is directly associated with the customer. If the right products are not dispatched to the right customers, it can affect the overall customer experience.
Last but not least, this step is imperative to determine whether the order has been fulfilled or not. It includes analyzing inventory and order reports across the warehouse. Additionally, this step also determines the inventory and order forecasting to understand the overall warehouse labor needs.
6 Ways to Perform at Scale with a Robust Warehouse Management System (WMS)
A well organized and structured warehouse with reliable and efficient performance is a huge asset for retail business. There are many factors that affect smooth warehouse operations. Overlooking or underestimating these minor details can end up causing unforeseen problems. This has a direct impact on order fulfillment.
1. Batch Management: By making batches of inventory, a business can minimize the bad inventory entirely. Moreover, businesses dealing with FMCG and perishable goods can also adhere to expiry management methods, such as FIFO and FEFO, which eventually enables stock rotation, based on its manufacturing and expiry dates.This is essential for pushing out old inventory and avoiding any damage due to longer periods of storage.
2. Cycle Count: Implementing the right inventory cycle count methods not only reduces or eliminates the need for periodically or annually counting the physical inventories but also enables a business to have real-time and faster updates on its day-to-day operations.
3. Shelf Management: A warehouse consists of multiple shelves in order to segregate the products separately without any damage. Managing shelves correctly can bring overall harmony to the operations.
4. Bundle Management: Product bundling is a great way to lure your customers and make them feel like they have got a steal deal. It is a process of clubbing multiple SKUs together and sell them in combo packs. But sometimes, it becomes difficult to manage the processes involved in it, from monitoring the availability of individual products to managing them for multiple sales channels. To manage the flow seamlessly, Bundle Management features plays an important role.
5. Barcoding: Barcodes are a machine-readable representation of numerics and characters. They generally consist of bars and spaces and are used in tracking inventory at an operational level.
6. B2B Bulk Order Processing: Some WMS solution providers also offer bulk order processing feature through which you can process large quantities of B2B orders at one go seamlessly.
An effective warehouse management system (WMS) enables you to perform a plethora of tasks with utmost efficiency and accuracy. Moreover, if you follow the above-mentioned processes with discipline, you will be able to deliver right products at right place on right time, eliminating any sorts of order returns. Thus, go ahead and deploy a robust WMS technology in your system today and reap the benefits of automation.
Related read –
- How does Warehouse Management System Works?
- Role of Warehouse Management in the FMCG Industry in India
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