More and more people (and businesses) order items online and then have them shipped to their residence or place of business. How can eCommerce order fulfillment in warehouses be optimized?
Order fulfillment involves the whole process from the sale of an item to the post-delivery experience of the customer. Typically, there are several steps involved, including inventory management/storage, receiving orders, picking/packing, shipping and return order management.
Updated Inventory Lists
Ideally, a warehouse should have an updated inventory list with SKUs marked for each product. This way, managers know what stock they have before processing orders. Every once in a while, audits should be done to ensure that the inventory is all accounted for as intended. During audits, items that are defective should be discarded.
Proper Space Utilization
When storing products in a warehouse, make sure shelves and bins are utilized properly. Everything should be correctly labeled so there aren’t problems during picking. All available space should be utilized so space isn’t wasted. Also, you don’t want messy spaces. Keep a tidy, orderly warehouse.
If possible, sort orders by delivery date, giving one-day delivery orders top priority. It’s helpful to send customers an email confirming that your warehouse has received the order and then letting the customer know the estimated delivery date.
Automation and Technology
Has your warehouse invested in automation and technology? Now’s a good time to do so, especially when it comes to the picking process. Batch picking, where multiple orders are grouped into smaller batches, can help increase your warehouse’s efficiency. You might also need to hire more workers if your warehouse receives many orders and needs to do a better job at streamlining the fulfillment process.
When it comes to packaging, make sure items are adequately packed and labeled. Packing needs to be able to bear the friction caused due to transportation. Before shipping items out of your warehouse, it’s a good idea to check what’s going out, and make sure everything’s looking correct, from the labels to the boxes.
If your warehouse receives returns, ideally find an automated method to handle them.