For many ecommerce businesses it’s coming up to peak season.
This means there is going to be a significant increase in pressure on fulfillment teams as more orders come pouring in. Despite it being a busier season for your internet shop, this is no excuse for your delivery process to falter.
Customers will not understand late deliveries and it is important to keep them satisfied as quality service is the key to retaining customers for the long term.
So this leaves you with a problem:
How can you ramp up ecommerce fulfillment enough to cope with the demands of the upcoming peak season?
If you haven’t already started planning, here are some great tips:
The first step is to ensure your fulfillment teams and their space is organized properly.
The more time it takes your team to package an order, the fewer items than can be sent out every day. Therefore, your main goal should be to make your warehouse processes as efficient as possible.
There are several steps to this:
- Rearrange your stock so items that are likely to be ordered together are close to each other and that products in the highest demand are closest to the packaging area.
- Ensure all products are in the right locations and that all staff members in your fulfillment team are educated as to the layout.
- Label the products correctly with unique product numbers. Some staff find it easier to check product numbers than to compare product names. Accurate labeling is essential even if there is only a color change between two products (i.e. yellow golf ball compared to a white golf ball).
- Keep the pathways clear of obstructions. If you have an overflow of products, don’t keep them on the floor of the warehouse. As well as it being a safety risk, it is also an obstacle that slows down staff as they collect goods.
- Ensure stock levels are accurate. If your system says there are five but you only have three, staff will end up wasting time searching for 2 that you haven’t got.
2. Warehouse Staff
You need to make sure you have enough hours in the warehouse being worked to meet with demand.
The obvious solution to this is to hire more staff, such as temporary or short term contract staff.
However, these people will need training and this can be inefficient as it takes time for a new employee to become competent in a new role. Mistakes, training, productivity and the additional costs could place you in a worse position.
The next choice is to extend warehouse operating hours and offer existing staff the chance of overtime.
This can be rather popular as staff will be appreciative of the extra money during what is considered the most expensive time of the year.
They will also know where the stock is and how your systems work so you don’t have to be worried about training or additional supervision for them.
However, working too long can be a disruption and affect employee positivity and productivity. So ensure there are limits on how much overtime they can do.
3. Internal and External Partners
Next you need to ensure that your partners are ready for your increased demand.
Your courier should be prepared to make more pickups from your warehouse and if you use a fulfillment company, you need to warn them of the additional demand on your products.
However, it isn’t just the external partners you need to be communicating with.
Your ordering team can be very important to the warehouse’s performance.
By increasing the speed at which your sales team can process orders and send them down to the fulfillment team, the quicker the orders can be processed. So ensure the system is working smoothly by running tests prior to the peak season.
Check for bottlenecks and areas where you can improve the efficiency of the system.
Fulfillment can be particularly tricky when it comes to your ecommerce business. You need to continue to deliver goods at a rate which customers expect.
To do this you might need to reorganize your stores, hire more staff or check processes – but the faster your orders can be processed, the happier your customers will be.
How do you ramp up your ecommerce fulfillment during peak periods? Are you prepared for the holiday season?
- Reorganize your stores to ensure they are placed efficiently.
- Motivate your warehouse team ready for the peak season.
- Test your ordering process to check for bottlenecks.
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