The outcome of a successful order fulfillment process is that the goods are delivered, in perfect condition and in a cost effective, timely way. When you are processing lots of orders with only a small workforce, this desired outcome may seem unachievable, with the resultant knock on effect of poor reviews and customers not purchasing from your ecommerce site again. Consider the key factors for a successful order fulfillment process and how you can incorporate these in your order fulfillment operation.
Examine your existing supply chain:
Is your supply chain integrated with your order management process and your delivery and returns process?
o Lack of integration with the order management process can lead to customers ordering goods that are out of stock, so the expected delivery date cannot be fulfilled.
Can your existing supply chain cope with demand fluctuations, particularly spikes in demand?
o If your supply chain isn’t flexible, customers will experience long delays during periods of peak demand, leading to a negative consumer shopping experience.
Is your inventory large to help you meet peaks in demand?
o Meeting peaks in demand by holding an unrealistically high inventory can damage your cash flow and ultimately the profitability of your ecommerce business. It will increase warehouse storage costs and take up space that could be utilized on products will a quick turnover.
Do you give your B2B or B2C unrealistic delivery dates?
o Unrealistic delivery dates will lead to a negative customer shopping experience and possibly poor reviews, even if the customer is ultimately happy with the product when they eventually receive it. These arise when your supply chain and order management processes do not interface.
Integration of order management and order fulfillment processes can be costly both financially and in terms of the time it takes to get the integration up and running. Maintaining the correct level of inventory can be time consuming and demand expertise and technology that is expensive to acquire. Outsourcing your order fulfillment can give you the integration and inventory management expertise you need, without the heavy capital investment.