CAN YOUR LOGISTICS PLATFORM HANDLE YOUR Q4 ORDERS?
A scalable tech platform integrated with your entire supply chain is essential to automating the ecommerce fulfillment process, providing data flow continuity as inventory moves from factory to fulfillment centre to customer and provide respite to the customer service team with greater visibility of parcel movement from courier to customer .
In Q4, any platform inefficiencies will have a greater ripple effect on your fulfillment operations, the usual lag in response time will have a multiplier effect as it affects higher order volumes during the holiday season.
Before we discuss the features a scalable ecommerce fulfillment platform should have to minimize errors and automate your fulfillment process, let’s go through some of the common errors i have seen my clients experience over the previous Q4s:
The products do not have a barcode, or this barcode is not communicated to the warehouse via their WMS
If products are not scanned during the picking process, there is a higher margin of error for the warehouse to send the wrong item, or the wrong quantity.
Your store and/or marketplaces are not connected to your warehouse(s), and some orders are uploaded manually
Manual orders uploads via CSV are the best way to lose information, miss fields or miss other crucial data. Whether you have multiple online stores, or whether you sell on various marketplaces, all of your orders should be automatically sent to your 3PL.
Fragmented shipping tracking
If your parcel tracking is managed through a third party (ie 17track) or through multiple vendors (ie DHL), you face 2 key main roadblocks – loss in time spent parcel tracking as it moves from third parties and most importantly, you lose visibility of the carrier’s performance.
Access to live shipping prices
Due to the pandemic and Q4, it is fair to say that shipping prices have been more unpredictable than ever. On top of that, shipping prices may vary during the peak season. Therefore, you want to make sure you have the possibility to check them out whenever you need.
The tech platform can not scale to handle a surge in orders
Be on the lookout for the following platform errors that occur due to order surges:
A. Label creation errors – the best practice is to create labels through API that route to the correct couriers. Incorrect setup or failure to update carrier choices during this Q4’s peak season can lead roadblocks in label generation
B. Orders being pulled out on a regular basis – look for at least every 15-30 min
C. Tech team support – Best practice is to have a dedicated account manager that can address your platform issues live. At Floship, the tech team will double the tech support in Q4 to ensure all client enquiries are addressed ASAP.
Being mindful of your 3PL’s historical metrics such as seasonal fulfillment rate, orders processed and understanding their development roadmap will give you better insights on the platform’s performance and capacity to handle Q4
You can’t download or create reports
The more you grow, the more your eCommerce brand relies on data for better decision making. Logistics is no different and our recommendation is they should be easily accessible and downloadable without relying on any customer service as an intermediary.
Depending on your ecommerce model (shipping domestic vs cross borders, one or multiple warehouses, marketplaces or brand.com), different technologies are needed. This is why some of the following elements may or may not be fully relevant to your business and the key word here is flexibility. The eCommerce environment is constantly changing and the best solution will probably be the one that offers you the flexibility to choose, adapt and grow.
The Floship Logistic Platform was built on these technological best practices to automate ecommerce fulfillment, diminish logistical errors, promotes scalable growth, open new markets, and simply make your life easier.
- Reduce Customer Order Errors
This is pivotal for shipping to cross-border and domestic markets. Some carriers will automatically reject orders when the postal code is wrong, the phone number is missing, the parcel increases the maximum dimensions, the declared value is above the allowance. A good system will understand all of the shipping requirements and block those issues before they happen. That will save you time, money and worries.
- Automated Returns Management via Platform
When orders get returned to your warehouse, best practice is for online merchant to receive pictures and to make decisions on restocking, disposal and/or forwarding without additional comms between the warehouse and the 3PL. It is also a great way to save time by replenishing inventory faster and re-shipping as soon as possible. It is important to predefine return conditions in the logistics platform on how to automatically handle returns based on product condition (ie: IF the product is untouched and undamaged,THEN restock straight away).
- Live Multi-warehouse Inventory Management
Using one centralized source of truth, whether ERP or your 3PL’s platform, will minimize the number of mistakes and allow you to make faster real time decisions on inventory allocation.
- Shipping & Packaging Optimization
Ecommerce orders come in a plethora sizes, dimensions, or SKUs. On top of that, it is recommended to diversify B2C and B2B orders. Defining shipping options depending on the number of products per order or based on the size/dimensions of the packaging will minimize your shipping costs and eventually shipping times. For cross-border sellers, it is critical to spend the right amount of time choosing the most appropriate shipping options based on your model.
- Complete Inventory & Warehouse Visibility
For inbound, the process of sending products to your warehouse should be automated and well-defined. This will then allow you to follow closely the receiving process: pending arrival, in-review, received. For pick and pack: Every order goes through different stages before being shipped: pending fulfillment, out for pick and pack, packed awaiting courier, fulfilled. A full visibility about what those stages will limit delays and allow you to correct your 3PL if needed.
HOW FLOSHIP CAN HELP
As a cross border logistics company, Floship logistics-tech platform is built to empower faster pick and pack, shipping and distribution speed that emphasises on automating your cross border fulfillment through order routing, automated shipping, automated document generation, packaging optimization and parcel tracking from carrier to customer to customers in 180 countries and 250 regions.
Does your current 3PL provide you with a tech backbone that enables fast and scalable ecommerce fulfillment? Speak to a Floship consultant on how our tech-first platform automates and scales your Q4 supply chain!