3 Tips for Building an Efficient Order Fulfillment Process
When you’re establishing a complete shipping strategy, evaluating your internal order fulfillment process is key to maintaining a positive customer experience. For small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) across the nation, efficient order fulfillment can be a challenge. Luckily, we’ve compiled 3 top tips to help you prioritize, schedule and maintain a strategy that will get your e-commerce orders out the door in no time. Consider these tips for efficient order fulfillment:
1. Establish a daily order fulfillment process.
What’s the best opportunity to make a change in your order fulfillment process? Take a look at your day-to-day operations! By examining your daily tasks and current schedule, you can identify what is working for you and what areas need improvement. When time isn’t on your side, planning and sticking to a set schedule can keep you from feeling rushed or overwhelmed when filling e-commerce orders. Follow these helpful tips when establishing a daily order fulfillment schedule:
Evaluate your schedule.
When maximizing your order fulfillment process, make sure to schedule a set amount of time for packing shipments so that the task doesn’t take up your whole day. Set aside a block of time each day that’s solely dedicated to preparing orders for shipment and stick to it!
Prioritize your specific needs.
It’s no secret that your business has unique needs that need to be satisfied. Try assigning a dedicated order fulfillment team or, if that’s financially out of reach, establish a daily cut-off time for same-day order fulfillment. Make order fulfillment work for you, not against you.
Schedule a daily pick-up.
Work with your carriers to schedule a daily pick-up so you have a deadline to work towards each day. Make sure to keep this cut-off time in mind when establishing your daily routine.
2. Plan ahead for peak season order processing.
No matter when your peak season falls, it’s important to plan for the shipping rush ahead of time to avoid any potential complications that could negatively affect your customer’s experience. Here are some of our hottest holiday tips to keep in mind as you plan ahead for this peak season. (Hint: It’s never too early to start preparing for the next holiday rush!)
Keep carrier holiday schedules in mind.
Many carriers do not pick up or deliver on major holidays, such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Be sure to check your preferred carriers’ websites ahead of time and relay this information to your customers.
Protect your shipments with proper packaging and shipping insurance.
Unfortunately, carrier liability rarely covers the full value of a shipment, potentially leaving shippers in the red. Protect your packages from peak season chaos (and any other time of year) by utilizing proper packing materials and protecting your shipments ahead of time with parcel insurance and freight insurance.
Communicate with your customers and manage their expectations.
From overpacked trucks to dangerous driving conditions, there are plenty of opportunities for your shipments to become damaged or arrive late. Start communicating realistic expectations with your customers before peak season to ensure a more positive customer experience.
3. Consider your warehouse layout and strategy.
While it may not be feasible for all SMB shippers, opening additional warehouses can expand your operational footprint and distribution network, making it easier (and more cost-efficient) to deliver packages quickly and efficiently. This can also give you some wiggle room if your fulfillment times are delayed, since delivery times will be shortened.
If you don’t have the financial or physical capability to expand your warehouse network, you can still take a look at your existing warehouse layout and strategy to maximize efficiencies and improve your order fulfillment process. Start by looking at the physical layout of your warehouse(s) and consider your daily schedule from step #1. Think about how you can rearrange your warehouse layout to better fit your order processing sequence. This will help your shipments pass from one step to the next with greater ease, optimizing your order processing and allowing you to deliver more shipments on time.
Get Real-time E-commerce Expertise from Unishippers
Order fulfillment can turn into a full-time job for some SMB shippers. Luckily, Unishippers has the solutions, tools and expertise shippers like you need to maximize and maintain efficient order processing and more. Whether you’re looking for a one-stop-shop for your freight and parcel shipping needs or a full-force technology platform for your supply chain management needs, we’ve got a solution to fit your unique business. Connect with an expert to get started.