The pivotal role of a smooth fulfillment process comes from how a company manages and improves its order fulfillment and e-commerce fulfillment systems.
COVID-19 has changed every aspect of our lives, and our shopping habits are no exception. At the start of the pandemic, we can see customers start buying essential items like face masks, canned goods, and toilet paper, but now nearly everything is purchased online.
Online retail orders have been increasing significantly because of the pandemic. And, this increase might overwhelm your employees and cause them to struggle to keep your fulfillment on track. But, failing to meet customers' needs at this time will not bring any benefit to your business in the long term. So, we summarize these six ways to step up your order fulfillment process.
Effective Ways to Efficiently Manage Order Fulfillment
The good news is that there are many ways companies can take in optimizing their order fulfillment process. Some of our solutions here are curated from some of the best logistics and warehouse experts worldwide.
1. Integration Across the System by Automating the Processes
Automating processes, in general will always provide a boost of relief. In a continually running business and short time, it’ll be more beneficial to give your order fulfillment system an automated and integrated setting across all. Imagine giving those manual and repetitive systems a go with the one-click process, it will save a lot of your employees' time and it can be allocated for more valuable tasks.
2. Synchronized Real-Time Inventory Management
E-commerce fulfillment also extensively deals with orderly inventory management. Put yourself in your customers’ position and think about how unpleasant it’ll be if their order isn’t fulfilled on-time and correctly. Have your team synchronizing real-time inventory to improve this part, and evaluate each emerging issue with care. Customers who keep going back to get your products or services are those who have already experienced the impact of such an integrated system.
3. Optimized Picking System
Many don’t put the picking system in the prioritized list, but it’s actually crucial to embody the products’ picking accuracy. A good amount of time and labor is wasted placing the wrong picks back in their spaces, and sending wrong products to customers will hurt customer experience.
Optimize your picking system through a shift to more modern technologies and neat warehouse management. Use proper label and signage, move your high-volume SKU to a central location, and keep SKUs that typically ship in the same order close to one another. Use an order management system to help map out the optimal picking routes for warehouse employees to know where to go and pick items for orders.
Besides the benefit of optimization, the Operation Manager can use this chance to engage their human and non-human workforce in more profitable tasks. It’s time to start thinking about that adequate amount of wasted labor and time, right?
4. Regular Audit and Inspection
Don’t avoid the duty of doing regular audit and inspections. These procedures are available so that companies and facilities comply with the SOP as well as the government regulations. Discuss the best way and time to implement these two in your order fulfillment process.
Create checklists to make sure every stock is updated and every product is in place. Check whether the SOP you have made to improve the order fulfillment process is strictly followed by your employees. Use tools, if necessary, to help you create customizable checklists and forms. Alert the team about their responsibilities and honest input that can be acted towards resolving issues.
5. Good Communication with Your Customers
A smooth e-commerce fulfillment isn’t only done internally in the companies. Customers are also an integral part of this process, which can only be achieved through close and transparent communication with your customer. It’s not about thanking them personally and sending gift cards every month. It’s about open, updated, and real-time communication regarding their product or service order. They deserve a comprehensive report over what they’re getting.
6. Accepting Return and Refunding Like A Champ
While it doesn’t always feel convenient, product returns and customers demanding their money back are commonplace. What differs is how your company reacts to it. It’s super important to maintain your calm and efficient demeanors. Work alongside the suppliers who accept returns, charge zero restocking fees and can process refunds and replacements. And, be clear about any return policy. In essence, it all goes down to make customers satisfied and come back to your store or brand. Be a champ!
Consider Using Nimbly
Nimbly is an excellent solution for companies and businesses for many digitized processes. Nimbly is your answer in creating customized digital checklists, issue trackers, and inventory management across store branches. The audit reports work just fine with all kinds of smartphones. If necessary, you can capture pictures to elaborate on their input. You can also include your daily stock-taking in the checklists. Issues or incompliance found on the ground can be flagged green (fine), yellow (require attention), and red (severe); therefore, these issues can be sorted, monitored, and addressed accordingly.
There are many effective ways you can implement in order to ensure a smooth order fulfillment process. Make sure to integrate and automate systems while synchronizing real-time inventory. Don’t forget to think about your picking system and start regulating your audit and warehouse inspection, too. Lastly, build good communication with your customers, and keep your cool about the whole return-and-refund situation.
Nimbly is a mobile solution that digitizes operations, improves efficiency, and generates cost savings by providing companies' management with data-driven insights from field operations remotely and in real-time.