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What is Order Fulfilment – How can it help your SME?

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03/06/2022 | Share:

Order fulfilment is the process of receiving, storing, and shipping products to customers. It typically involves receiving goods from suppliers, short-term storage in a warehouse, customer order processing (picking and packaging), and shipping and logistics.
The goal of order fulfilment is to get the right product to the customer at the right time and place. Order fulfilment is a key part of the supply chain and can have a major impact on customer satisfaction.
Good order fulfilment can be the difference between a satisfied customer who comes back for more, and an unhappy customer who takes their business elsewhere. Poor order fulfilment can lead to lost sales, high shipping costs, and frustrated customers.

What are the Elements of E-commerce Order Fulfilment?

Receiving inventory: Once you have created your online store and listed your products for sale, you will need to stock your inventory. This involves receiving shipments of merchandise from suppliers and entering the data into your inventory management system.

Warehousing: In order to fulfil orders quickly and efficiently, most e-commerce businesses need space to store their inventory. As your business grows this could mean expanding your premises or renting warehousing.

Inventory management: An important part of running an eCommerce business is keeping track of your inventory levels. This involves knowing what products you have in stock, where they are located, and how many of each item you need to keep on hand to meet customer demand.
Picking and processing: When an order is placed on your website, someone will need to retrieve the products from your warehouse and get them ready for shipping. This process, known as picking and processing, can be done manually or with the help of automation technology.

Packing: Once your products have been picked and processed, they need to be packed up for shipping, selecting the right type of packaging material and ensuring that the items are securely wrapped to prevent damage during transit.

Shipping: The final step in fulfilling an order is shipping the products to the customer. This can be done via a number of different shipping methods, including ground, air, and sea.

Returns management: Inevitably, some orders will need to be returned or exchanged. This process, known as returns management, can be complex and time-consuming. An effective returns management system is essential for keeping customers happy and minimising the impact on your business.

What to do when Order Fulfilment becomes too much

As your business expands, you may find it difficult to keep up with orders. This can lead to a decline in customer satisfaction and adversely affect your business’s reputation. A bad reputation is easy to gain and hard to lose.

There are a few things you can do to try and alleviate this pressure:

Take a look at your order fulfilment process and see if any areas can be streamlined to create a more efficient system.

Another option is to hire more staff to help with fulfilment. This will obviously increase your costs, but if it means being able to keep up with demand then it may be worth it and avoid a drop in service levels.

Consider outsourcing order fulfilment to a third-party company. This can be a great way to take the pressure off your in-house team and focus on other aspects of the business.

What to look for when Outsourcing your Order Fulfilment

If you are considering outsourcing fulfilment, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Look for:

1. A company that is aligned with your brand values.

You want to make sure that the company you’re working with shares your commitment to quality, customer service, and other essential brand values. Take the time to research each potential partner and see if their values align with your own.

2. A company with a track record of success.

When you’re entrusting someone else with such an important part of your business, you want to make sure they have a proven track record of success. Ask for references from past clients and look for online reviews to get a sense of each company’s reputation.

3. A company that offers a comprehensive solution.

Look for a company that can handle everything from warehousing to shipping to customer service. This will save you the hassle of having to manage multiple vendors and will make your life a lot easier.

4. A company that is transparent about their pricing.

There should be no surprises when it comes to pricing. Make sure you understand all of the fees involved upfront so that there are no unexpected costs down the road.

5. A company with a personal touch.

You want to partner with a company that treats you like more than just a number. Look for a team that is responsive and easy to work with. They should be invested in your success and be able to offer tailored solutions to meet your specific needs.

6. A company that can deal with little extras

If you’ve spent time building a brand with a personal touch, ensure that the fulfilment company can also provide these little details that add to the customer experience, such as using packaging materials that reflect your brand or adding handwritten notes.

Outsourcing fulfilment can be a great way to take some of the pressure off of an expanding business. By choosing a reputable company and communicating your expectations, you can ensure that your orders are handled correctly and efficiently. This will allow you to focus on other aspects of your business and help you to continue growing.

With over 130 years of delivery experience, Ogden Fulfilment work closely with their clients and are able to offer an individually tailored service that exactly fits their requirements. Contact www.ogdenfulfilment.co.uk

 

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