Order Fulfillment Bins
Order fulfillment is one of the crucial functions of an ecommerce business. Several challenges can arise within the order fulfillment process. Some typical order fulfillment challenges include:
- Errors in order fulfillment
- Stockouts or running out of inventory
- Outgoing inventory not being tracked
- Warehouses not being properly stocked
These scenarios and more can result in dissatisfied customers, lost business, and wasted time. In this post, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about order fulfillment, including how you can optimize the process using warehouse bins.
What Are the Stages of Order Fulfillment?
Order fulfillment is a broad category. It basically refers to how customers receive their products after placing an order. There are several stages of the order fulfillment process.
Efficient inventory management lays a solid foundation for a successful order fulfillment process. Key ingredients in this strategy are:
- Receipt of inventory at your warehouse or store
- Classification and labeling of products
- Sorting items into strategic groups
- Shelving products for easy selection
- Storage of inventory
As a business, storing inventory by yourself means your operation is shouldering the responsibility for the shelving and tracking of inventory to ensure it flows smoothly to the right customer at the right time. Given the numerous tasks involved and the liability involved in protecting perishable products in the storage process, some businesses opt to outsource the services of 3PLs.
That said, 3PLs typically offer short-term storage at their fulfillment centers. Other 3PLs offer long-term storage but at an extra cost. You should therefore review the terms of the contract before signing.
Order processing, as part of the order fulfillment process, involves picking up purchased products from the shelf and evaluating them for packaging before shipping them to the customer. Upon receiving an order request, the fulfillment center handles each step of order processing for you.
Operations need to pack products so they are not just appealing but get to customers when in pristine condition. Packing involves tasks such as boxing products and selecting a carrier. It prepares the order for shipment.
Today’s customers have become accustomed to receiving their shipment within a short period. Most ecommerce businesses partner with third-party carriers to speed up the process and reduce shipping costs.
In addition to creating a dedicated return policy, you will need a system to receive returns, replace products, and refund customers. Automating this process will avoid mistakes and make the process more efficient.
By following the above steps, you can have a more successful venture into ecommerce fulfillment.
How Can You Optimize Your Fulfillment Operations?
The goal of any order fulfillment process is to get products to customers as soon as possible and in the best condition so that they can shop with you in the future. Here’s an outline of the ways you can optimize your order fulfillment process:
1. Keep Inventory Items Together and Protected
Effective inventory management should ensure that inventory items are kept together and protected from elements that may cause damage. By storing inventory in a central place, a business can more quickly fulfill customer orders.
Move and rearrange racks and pallets as the needs of the operation and the inventory demand adjust to customer demands. A well-arranged inventory system facilitates the accessible location of products to ship.
2. Integrate Business Systems
Integrating your existing business systems can help speed up your order fulfillment process. The process may involve integrating warehouse management, warehouse control, labor management, enterprise resource planning, and workforce performance management.
By integrating these systems, you’ll spend less time managing your inventory and picking other orders. You will also improve your visibility among shippers, suppliers, and other stakeholders.
3. Classify Inventory
A successful inventory system classifies products based on type, picking size, and sales frequency. High-volume products should situate in a central location. Doing this helps reduce the time it takes to pick and package products for delivery. For instance, grouping items that move quickly can help pickers save time and anticipate the level requirements of your best-selling products.
4. Automate Processes
Automating some of your order fulfillment processes can further speed up order fulfillment. For small enterprises, investing in something as simple as an inventory scanner can significantly impact your internal operations. By scanning items as they enter and leave your warehouse, you will be able to better track your inventory needs so that you don’t find yourself out of stock of those items.
5. Make Use of Warehouse Bins
Out of many warehouse bin uses, they are an ideal solution for solving the problem of limited shelf space and help you stay organized at a low cost. Flexcon provides high-quality warehouse bins for all your order fulfillment needs. These bins combine corrugated plastic’s lightweight and ship flat features with durable and economical construction that meets your needs. Warehouse bins can also store flat for times between product lines and restocking.
Here is an outline of the benefits you can get from using our warehouse bins in your order fulfillment process:
- They are cost-efficient and economical
- They are reusable, so you need not dispose of them after using them
- They are lightweight so you can handle them easily
- They can ship flat, so you can use them for restocking
- They are long-lasting. As such, you don’t have to worry about them getting damaged after only being used once
Warehouse bins are ideal for retail, produce, medical, and manufacturing of small to medium products. Depending on your needs, you can choose from the various available sizes. We also offer different styles, including dividable, half hopper lip, standard 1″ lip, and other custom requests such as electrostatic discharge, fire retardant, barcodes, and custom colors. Custom requests and dealer inquiries are welcome. Reach out to Flexcon to request more information.