As 2018 quickly passes us by, it’s evident that commerce is experiencing a lot of change… and will continue to. Though this change can appear fast and furious to online sellers, it’s this same change that presents the opportunity for e-commerce businesses to be profitable and successful. The question is, however, how can you achieve these goals?
As an online seller, incorporating a fulfillment center strategy into your inventory management and shipping objectives is among the savviest ways to strengthen your business and stay competitive in an increasingly expansive marketplace. Keeping this in mind, consider how the below three tips can help your online business strengthen your fulfillment center management while increasing your opportunities for stronger sales and more efficient business operations.
Tip #1: Benchmark Your Warehouse Operations
The key to efficient fulfillment center operations is having clarity to the details of every touchpoint involved within the fulfillment center experience. From sorting inventory to the packaging of goods to shipment details and more, no detail should be left uncertain or misunderstood. Having a clear understanding and analysis of every step that happens in the fulfillment centers you work with is the only way you can strengthen your overall operations. Additional details to review here include dock-to-stock time, order turnaround details, return processing and time-based metrics on all actions being completed.
Tip #2: Apply Technology to Help Your Fulfillment Center Objectives
As the cost of warehouse labor increases and human-error factors into warehouse inefficiencies, it’s important to consider how technology can help. Voice-enabled technologies can be used in the fulfillment process while inventory management technologies can strengthen tracking of goods, inventory turnover, order fill rates and more. Factor in how AI is helping to re-shape distribution of products and fulfillment centers are rapidly gaining opportunities to strengthen their performances. Plus, the metrics delivered via technology can add value to businesses, as well, since this data can provide more accurate details of operations than what the human eye can evaluate on its own.
Tip #3: Understand Your Supply Chain Management
From knowing when items are out of stock to how fast you can get more in stock to understanding timelines on deliveries from your preferred manufacturers to having a clear strategy for drop-shipping or third-party fulfillment centers in place, there is a lot to consider when it comes to improving on your supply chain management. All of these details impact your fulfillment center goals, so take the time to plan in advance and do the necessary, upfront research necessary to strengthen your fulfillment center operations.
Bonus Tip: Incorporate System Integrations
Today’s technologies designed for fulfillment centers are often built to integrate with external resources such as Refund Retriever, a parcel auditing software that can help you save money on your shipping overhead. Through these integrations, fulfillment centers can benefit from more clarity in their reporting, gain stronger analytics and incorporate more streamlined logistical efforts such as shipping management. Plus, the opportunity for automation strengthens – something any savvy fulfillment center can appreciate.
Finally, remember that a perfect order is one that is received, picked, packed and delivered undamaged and without any unnecessary costs involved in its delivery to the end user / consumer. This process should also include tracking details of every step from start to finish so that you can gain a clear and comprehensive overview of the entire process – but not just for this one perfect order but rather every order you ever complete. To ensure your fulfillment center goals are being met, incorporate technology and let data help you make stronger future decisions along the way.