Every new order brings a smile to your face as a business owner. But the reality is it isn't just the right time to rejoice. Your work as a business owner completes just when the orders are fulfilled. That is when they reach the customer's doorstep.
Order fulfillment includes all the processes that start right from picking the right products from the inventory, packing them up, and then sending them to the appropriate parties.
A proper order fulfillment strategy entails five basic steps:
- Strategic sourcing of raw materials/products
- Inventory & supply chain management
- Order processing & quality control
- Order shipping
- Customer support
4 Principles of a bulletproof order fulfillment strategy
If you want to strengthen your fulfillment strategy and increase customer satisfaction, here are 4 pointers/principles to incorporate into your order fulfillment strategy.
1. Streamlining your basic processes
Streamline your basic process, which includes order placement, inventory assessment, and returns management, so the entire raw-to-customer hand process goes smoothly.
For example, ensure the warehouse gets notified as and when an order is placed. It will help them initiate the order packaging process immediately without any delays.
Also, it ensures that the right and quality products are sent to the customer. It reduces the number of returns. Set in place a separate strategy to process the returns. The returns process should be carried out smoothly, which includes collecting the returned products and resticking them back into the inventory.
When all the basic processes are streamlined, it ensures smooth order fulfillment and better customer satisfaction.
You can also invest in good ERP fulfillment software that lets you track each process involved in your order fulfillment strategy. It provides much clarity and helps you easily track or predict any future problems like delays in shipping the orders or discrepancies in return processing. You can even track your finances through the program.
2. Organize your inventory to reduce the product pickup time
Place the items that are in demand at the front and move the items that aren't in demand to the back. This way, you can easily pick up the items, pack them up quickly and send them on their way.
Inventory management is essential for bootstrapping your order fulfillment strategy. It reduces returns and makes sure the product leaves your warehouse on time. Further, group the products into relevant categories and chart them to help your employees quickly figure out where they are.
3. Plan your shipping and logistics
Find different methods to send your products to your customers on time without costing you a bomb. Always have a backup plan in hand. If your first preferred courier service couldn't deliver your products by any chance, you can easily set the backup plan in motion.
Many things can go wrong with your shipping plan. The courier services might immediately raise the charge, the shipping channel or company might be disrupted by any holidays or emergencies, etc. The backup plan might not be the most economical, but it would at least ensure that the product reaches its destination on time.
4. Automate whatever processes possible
Automating or outsourcing processes can help you save time and money. For example, automate the monotonous, repetitive part of your manufacturing process.
You can also outsource the services, like going for a third-party warehouse solution that will take care of everything from inventory to shipping. It will give you ample time to develop business plans and strategies to move your company forward.