ecommerce

4 Affordable Ways Smaller Retailers Can Improve Order Fulfillment

by Josh Biggs in Ecommerce on 8th August 2019

Modern e-commerce businesses are vulnerable to developing inefficiencies as they experience growth. Indeed, any company’s overall fulfillment performance can drop without proper management. This is especially true for smaller retailers or those who have only recently incorporated online transactions into their business model. Fortunately, there are a few simple yet important changes you can implement that can result in improved order fulfillment services without any major added cost. Read on to know four of the most important ones you can make.

Ensure Accurate Data Collection

This is the easiest place to start if you’re looking to make order fulfillment more efficient. But remember that it’s not enough to be proactive about collecting data. You should also ensure that the data you collect on key performance indicators is accurate. Indeed, it’s important to closely follow input and output rates, in addition to picking accuracy and other factors. This is to give you a clear picture of how your current process is panning out and allow you to make the right adjustments.

Streamline Existing Processes

Sometimes, a few key changes can get you the results you need with the team you already have. Analyze the data you’ve collected so far and see if you can solve inefficiencies by tweaking existing processes. Some of these can include finding a better balancing the picking and packing rates, as well as incorporating multiple shifts or paid overtimes. However, understand that changes like these can only go so far. If you start to see that demand is growing beyond what your team can handle, consider hiring more workers to help you keep up.

Manage Space Wisely

Related to our previous point, a key part of streamlining existing processes is making great use of your space. This can involve options ranging from recovering space from other less vital departments to an overhauled inventory system. Other specific examples include segregating individual items or types of items into specific areas of your warehouse to facilitate accurate picking. Alternatively, you can also put popular or top-selling items into more convenient areas. Though these can seem like minute changes, they certainly add up over time.

Make Room for Seasonal Shifts

Even good years have highs and lows throughout the months. That’s why it pays to maintain a certain level of flexibility—particularly with the staffing. Indeed, maintaining a payroll that’s catered to handling peaks will leave you open to losses when the troughs roll around. This is when it might be advisable to shift a sizable portion of your workforce to temporary workers. Aside from giving you more room to weather unexpected dips, this should also protect you from unnecessary spending in the event you’ll need to lay people off.

When it comes to boosting order fulfillment efficiency, smaller companies can experience more drastic improvements with just a few simple changes. Some of the best ways to do so can simply involve making do with what you have, optimizing what you can, and spending less to make more money. But once implemented, these changes can even help grow your business and push your company to the next level.

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