Is order fulfillment keeping you up at night?
Unfortunately, many e-commerce business owners find themselves in this situation. Optimizing the picking, packing and shipping of products needs to be a priority, but streamlining the process is easier said than done.
Your inventory needs to be classified, sorted and stored using the right systems. Your workers need to know exactly what they need to do. This is the only way to reduce overhead and ensure speedy delivery of customer orders.
Are you looking to achieve peace of mind with your fulfillment process? Then you’ve definitely got your work cut out for you – but don’t worry, it can be done.
Here are four steps you can follow to achieve greater peace of mind:
Organize Your eCommerce Fulfillment Items
Ensure that your products are classified, organized and sorted by:
It’s also good to be thinking about plotting out your warehouse so that you have easy access to top selling products.
It’s good practice to cross-reference order frequency and picking time to create a big picture view of the cost associated with fulfillment.
In most cases, it the classic pareto principle–you will find that 20% of your orders will make up for 80% of the results.
Performing an 80-20 analysis on your sales and business operation, not to mention overall productivity has proven a valuable tool to leverage both time and profits over the past few decades. Watch the video below to find out more how optimizations can contribute to streamlining your processes, from the Shopify Mentoring Series.
By optimizing the organization of your wares, you can ensure warehouse efficiency.
Optimize Your Storage
Products aren’t all created equal, and when you have a large number of wares that vary in size, color, weight and shape, you need to be able to store them using different methods.
There are racks, shelves, drawers, modules, and carousels to name a few. Each have their own advantages and disadvantages, and are suited to different types of products.
Your goal should be to determine what storage methods need to be used for each item in your inventory, and how to improve your overall efficiency.
Automate What You Can
There are both software applications and other technologies – such as storage and retrieval machinery – that can help you achieve greater levels of efficiency.
But this isn’t just about making sure that your fast movers get out the door and into the hands of your customers as fast as possible. This would mean ignoring the remaining 80% of your inventory.
You can take a more holistic approach to automation.
Automation can boost productivity, help you save on storage space, improve accuracy, and so on. Whether you’re using a software or hardware solution, you should always be thinking about what you can automate in your business.
Create Systems & Processes For Your Employees To Follow
Technology has yet to replace the need for warehouse employees.
This means that, no matter how well you’ve followed the previously outlined steps, if you haven’t created predictable and repeatable systems for your employees to follow, your process isn’t as streamlined as it could be.
Even if you hire great people, if they aren’t procedural and methodical in how they handle their work, it can cause slowdown and inefficiencies. Errors can be made.
Checklists and documented procedures allow your workers to function at their very best. If they have any questions, being able to consult a company wiki or manual can make a huge difference in how often they come to you with queries as well.
Systematizing your whole operations with frameworks like the one’s found int Sam Carpenter’s book Work the System and creating SOPs, or standard operating documents, will take the headaches out of your day-to-day and even increase value by turning your business into one that is Built to Sell.
If the above seems confusing or difficult, don’t forget that there is another option available to you – you can take advantage of outsourced fulfillment.
What this means is that you can partner up with an experienced company to handle the warehousing and delivery of customer orders while you remain focused on growing your business.
This is a solution worth considering. A well-oiled distribution centre has already done the work necessary to optimize their overall efficiency. In the long run, this means less anxiety for you, and happier customers too.
When you are ready to partner with a specialized ecommerce fulfillment center, such as Floship–that allows you to sell globally from one warehouse location in Hong Kong, China–then act now and get a quote to see how we can take the fulfillment challenges out of your life.