Order fulfillment is the process of storing goods, packing orders, and shipping products to buyers. So it goes without saying, it is an essential core function of every online retail business.
Botched orders can have a devastating impact on both brand reputation and your bottom line. As such, it’s critical to create efficient and error-free fulfillment routines. Fortunately, there are effective methods for handling this. Let’s explore some common fulfillment mistakes and how to fix them.
1. Poor Inventory Control
With poor inventory control, you risk the costly issue of overselling or overstocking. If you sell an item to a customer and later find out that it is no longer in stock, you’ll likely be met with frustration and disappointment, a sentiment that can rear its ugly head through customer reviews. On the other hand, if you’re carrying too much product, it is at risk of being lost, damaged, or obsolete over time. All result in lost sales.
A robust system, like CommentSold, can eliminate these issues with features that increase your stock visibility and provide a way to streamline warehouse operations. These features include SKU generation along with barcode label creation.
Not only does an inventory management help with inventory visibility, but it can also help you accomplish a lot in terms of warehouse organization. You can assign SKUs to specific locations and destinations. With clear locations instructions, there are no grey areas for workers. In addition, some softwares will also generate a pick list for the most optimized picking paths, leading to speedier fulfillment!
2. Motion Waste
Motion waste is moving more than is necessary to get a task done. Motion waste can include looking for an item, pulling and packing a single order at a time, or searching for supplies. It results in time loss, frustration, and exhaustion. There’s no way around it- time is money. You can’t afford to waste it on the unnecessary motion.
First, try to identify sources of wasted motion. Here are some quick tips to eliminate common motion waste:
- Weigh your items at intake so that you do not have to weigh them every time you pack an order.
- Use pick lists that use item locations for more efficient picking.
- Have workers batch pick orders.
- Reduce mistakes by asking pickers to also do the order packing.
- Keep supplies close to workstations.
There may be several places in the supply chain that you are doing double, triple work to complete a single task. Ask yourself what you could do better to eliminate motion waste.
3. Human Error
While we all make mistakes, logistics is a process with very little room for error. Customers expect to get the right items, quickly, without issue.
Manual data entry is the single most disastrous and common problem associated with human error in the workplace. If essential variables such as stock quantities, item locations, shipping addresses, or order fulfillment statuses are even slightly off, it can topple your entire business operations.
Instead, streamline your fulfillment workflows with technology to reduce human error. Software that works with barcodes can make fulfillment a snap. In conjunction with inventory management software, it can ensure the correct items have gone to the right orders.
In particular, it can assist you in performing strict fulfillment. Strict fulfillment is a system of fulfilling orders that creates an ERROR FREE environment by eliminating any manual data entry.
Strict fulfillment allows you to scan all items within an order. If the wrong item is scanned, it will give an alarm and the worker will not be able to proceed until it is fixed. Workers must also scan all items listed in an order before they can move on. Essentially, anyone can create error free orders!
Software can also provide checks and balances. Work logs can improve worker accountability, improve communication between managers and workers, and help identify and fix mistakes.
While you can’t eliminate every fulfillment mistake, with software they can be greatly reduced. With complete inventory visibility across the product life cycle, eliminating motion waste, and implementing software that helps to reduce human error, you can vastly improve customer satisfaction, warehouse organization, and make life a lot easier for you and all your employees!