Blog Posts How Can I Get the Most from My Fulfillment Operations?
- Ecommerce fulfillment operations are challenged to deliver an optimal customer experience.
- Advance planning is key to ensuring you have sufficient resources and capacity to meet demand.
- Investing in the right technology and distribution network can also go a long way toward achieving efficient, cost-effective fulfillment.
Today’s online shoppers have high expectations. They want their orders delivered more quickly, accurately and cost effectively than ever before. That puts pressure on ecommerce fulfillment operations to achieve peak performance.
What can you do to step up your fulfillment game? Bobby Hays, Regional Vice President of Operations at Saddle Creek, shares 10 tips for optimizing performance with Inbound Logistics magazine.
Since your business is always growing and evolving, it is important to build flexibility into fulfillment operations. Design your fulfillment solution with scalable space, staffing, processes and technologies, so you can ramp up and down quickly and easily.”
~ Bobby Hays, Regional Vice President of Operations, Saddle Creek Logistics Services
Following is an excerpt…
10 Tips: Optimizing Ecommerce Fulfillment Operations
- Allocate sufficient resources. Picking, packing and shipping online orders is a resource-intensive process. Ecommerce fulfillment operations can require two to three times the space and labor as traditional warehousing operations, so it is important to factor these requirements into your plans up front.
- Maximize capacity. Design your warehouse to increase storage density and maximize picking capacity. Ecommerce facility design typically incorporates higher ceiling heights (36’ or higher), narrow aisles, and high-density storage solutions.
- Plan for growth and fluctuations. Since your business is always growing and evolving, it is important to build flexibility into fulfillment operations. Design your fulfillment solution with scalable space, staffing, processes and technologies, so you can ramp up and down quickly and easily. If you plan to add additional sales channels (i.e., brick-and-mortar stores, subscription services, third-party marketplaces, etc.), make sure your fulfillment operations can support multiple channels and order profiles. And of course, always keep safety and ergonomics in mind as you design processes.
- Invest in advanced technology. Automation, large-scale mechanization and robotics can help fulfillment operations achieve peak performance. With the right solution, you can improve productivity, reduce labor dependency, control operational costs and flex to accommodate business fluctuations. When implementing new technology, make sure you have the right back-end infrastructure to support these initiatives – systems, leadership, etc.
- Take a strategic approach to distribution. The closer products are to the end customer, the faster and more economically they can be delivered. Utilizing two or more distribution centers (DCs) in strategic locations can help you deliver orders to consumers more quickly and cost-effectively – often within two days via ground service. Another option is to locate your fulfillment centers to ensure ready access to parcel service providers.
For more tips, read the full article in the June issue of Inbound Logistics.Related to: Increasing Productivity, Managing Growth, Selling Online