While order fulfillment is, by definition, the method with which a company processes a sales order to the customer’s specifications, that understates its importance. Customers hold more power than ever, are more informed, and have higher expectations.
Efficient order fulfillment is the key to your brand’s reputation, your company’s profits, and your ability to retain clients.
Without sales, there is no business. Without order fulfillment, there are no sales.
Understanding Fast Order Fulfillment
Order fulfillment means fulfilling a sales order to the customer’s satisfaction. This means fulfilling the client’s requirements as per the specifications.
Order fulfillment means fulfilling a sales order to the customer’s specifications. That is, delivering goods as promised at the time of sale. There are three main steps in this process: receiving, processing, and shipping.
Why is order fulfillment important?
Companies make money by selling goods, products, and services to businesses or direct to consumers. No matter whether you’re B2B or D2C, the sale is not complete until the sold items are received by that customer. Order fulfillment is how companies complete the sale and it’s at the heart of every business.
Order Fulfillment Process
The order fulfillment process typically involves inventory management, supply management chain, order processing, quality control, and support for the customers, which requires reporting problems or making product exchange or returns.
Whatever the scenario becomes, the inventory must be counted, inspected, and inventoried to make sure a proper amount was received in the accepted quality.
SKU’s or bar codes on the arriving products are used in the receiving and storage processes and to retrieve products from the internal storage later
In inventory storage, goods are inventoried after they are received from the fulfillment center. They are either dispersed or sent to short-or-long storage or are ideally just long enough to help organize the orderly distribution of goods for existing sales.
The order processing process: The order processing process includes product picking and packing activities from every new customer’s order
An order processing management system dictates the product picking and packing activities per each newly received customer order. In a larger marketplace, order management software can be integrated with the shopping cart on the eCommerce website, so that it helps in automatically initiating orders.
The picking system is completed by the automated warehouse robots that select items from the warehouse according to packing slips instructions. Usually, the packing slip contains specific information, like a list of items of SKUs, product colors, sizes, etc.
The picking system is completed by the automated warehouse robots that select items from the warehouse according to packing slips instructions. Usually, the packing slip contains specific information, like a list of items of SKUs, product colors, sizes, etc
Because space on delivery trucks is at a premium, optimizing dimensional weight or DM Weight is more important to speed transport while also potentially lowering the shipment costs.
Moreover, the packing teams often include the return shipping materials and the labels in case the customer wishes to exchange the item for a refund.
The concept of shipping:
The order is sent to a transportation channel or shipping node to be shipped to the customers. Shippers and Carriers determine freight billable costs by whichever is greater, actual package weight or its dimensional weight.
Even if the actual weight becomes low, getting it packed in the lowest dimension is more worthy of keeping from adding significantly to the overall package weight.
The process of delivery:
It is very common for the shipping routes to include more than one carrier. For example, the USPS delivers even to remote areas where most other commercial carriers don’t.
The return processing begins with including shipping material and a return label with the original customer’s order.
While returning a product for exchange for a refund, the process must be executed very carefully, as it is important to ensure its appropriate to restock it. But if the product malfunctions, it can’t be restocked back again. The process of return processing involves quality control checks and also sorting returned products accordingly. The products are then restocked, returned to a vendor or manufacturer, or sent to a recycling center.
Fast Order Fulfillment has also had many challenges that it faces:
It runs the gamut from supply shortages and inventory management issues to failures in demand and logistics planning to optimize the supply chain.
- Inventory management: Running out of stock leads to customer dissatisfaction and failures in the overall customer experience and harm to the brand reputation. It is also difficult for the companies to mend this damage made places it’s already made.
- Demand Planning: on the other hand keeping too much stock drives up storage and carrying costs. It increases the risk since the demand for those items may drop before you get them even sold.
- Planing on the logistics: When there are slow or missing deliveries, broken items, or wet packaging, these factors can harm the company’s reputation and future sales and in turn its profitability. It is very important to carefully manage logistics so shipping doesn’t become chaotic and the items aren’t damaged.
Lastly, the supply chain execution
Supply chain execution (SCE) is the flow of tasks in the supply chain. Software applications are used to manage every activity within that chain. Specifically, material management, tracking the physical status and movement of the product, tracking data shares and data feeds, and managing financial information—particularly transactions among all parties.
SCE typically involves the use of multiple applications, such as order management, inventory management, warehouse management, transport management, and logistics software.