Order fulfillment is a collective process of order receiving, processing and delivering it to end customers, where order processing includes picking and packing.
Customer satisfaction is the ultimate goal of every retailer which results only when efficient order fulfillment is done! But a lot of problems and errors occur repetitively while executing this process.
So how to avoid those errors? We got you covered, here are
NINE sure shot, ready-to-use solutions to common errors, to ease up your order fulfillment process:
To understand this better, let’s take a problem-solution approach:
#1 Error in recording order
Manual order recording can be prone to human error. While recording the order verbally, many kinds of miscommunications are possible. Common mistakes of spelling or tallying mistakes, error in sequence, mishearing, etc. often happen while recording or writing the order on a piece of paper.
An order could be for product code XYZ16 but the person recording it heard XYZ60 and wrote that by mistake. This leads to wrong product delivery and an increase in returns.
Use an Order management software that record orders accurately and cancel out these errors. As the data is pre-recorded in the system before the orders are placed, SKU, product codes, etc. are tallied with the order demanded and chances of errors are least.
#2 Notification to customers for a split order
Customers ordering multiple products from different categories are sent a single order in more than one batches. In the first order-batch, 2 products out of 3 total ordered are sent and then the one last product is sent separately as the second batch. The customers don’t know whether the order will arrive together or in parts; the retailers or shippers also don’t make it a practice to mention it.
When only first-half of the order is ready, Email of dispatch is sent to customer but no clarification of split-order is made. The customer tends to believe that full order is arriving but when all products aren’t received, customers lose trust because of wrong updates provided.
The above problem can be solved by mentioning specifications of split order and other necessary details at each step by E-mailing. Also, mention when is the complete order getting dispatched to avoid any confusion. A shipping management software keeps a track of all types of orders and automate Emails and send it customers whenever you want it to, by just setting the automation.
#3 Error in the picking list
Manually tallying the product orders and creating a pick-list can be tedious and error-prone.
In a warehouse, the order no3 and order no27 both are in aisle D- When the picker picks products based on order numbers, he has to go to the same aisle multiple times which is a waste of time and energy.
This process can be made quick and efficient by generating consolidated automated picklists using an automated order management system. It groups orders according to aisles plus order sequence. The system optimizes the order fulfillment process by prioritizing order saving the pick time too!
#4 Picking process
Miscommunication can be created while picking products during the process when done manually with papers or verbally.
When a product of SKU BBUCS031m is to be picked but the picker misheard and picked BBUES031m.
Adopt a barcode system that scans and beeps the error in real-time to avoid it immediately.
#5 Packaging for the products
The packaging material isn’t made sturdy enough to last till it reaches the customers as the emphasis is only laid on external looks and attractive packaging.
Due to low quality, the packaging is easily damaged during shipping by the slightest rough handling or wear and tear.
This might seem a no-brainer but many many retailers aren’t paying enough attention to packaging quality. Choose material that is cost friendly yet sturdy enough for the packaging to stay intact till the last.
#6 Delay in order
Orders aren’t prioritized according to the date of delivery or urgency so delivery can’t be done on time. Delivery deadlines aren’t met because of delay by anyone out of the picker, packer, or shipper.
The emphasis on order fulfillment of ‘best-selling products’ is laid more as most revenue comes from that. Versus, less priority is given to orders for unique or less-selling products, even if they’re supposed to be fulfilled before.
Automated order fulfillment software can help you prioritize your orders in many complex ways possible, by considering each of the above-mentioned parameters. The software lets you generate and remind tasks, find out glitches and errors in orders ultimately optimize the order process.
#7 Misplaced inventory
The pickers often delay his/her task of putting returned, damaged or any other kind of pre-classified inventory at its place. For time being, they place it in the common area of the warehouse and all of it obviously gets mixed.
The inventory gets misplaced and lost inside the enormous warehouse if every picker starts procrastinating! That misplaced inventory gets mixed up at the end and pickers aren’t aware of where they kept what, leading to chaos.
Invest in a Barcode scanning system that scans the SKUs stored in inventory management software. Establish this system at every process point- finished, damaged and returned products. This way you can make the pickers do the tasks of putting products at the right place in real-time.
#8 Shortage of warehouse space
No fixed place is assigned to put buffer stock, unexpected excess demanded inventory or half-picked incomplete inventory.
Having Cut-to-cut space for the stock is a wrong practice. Some products may experience a sudden hike in demand and need more stock and space in a shorter time. Due to lack of space, inventory won’t be brought in excess even when the demand is excess.
Keep extra marginal space for unrecognized or future inventory. Outsourcing fulfillment of products to 3PL Companies for time-being is also a good alternative.
#9 Mismatched or incorrect shipper
In order to cover the free shipping costs, a common prevailing practice is to cut down costs on other services.
One way is by selecting a low-cost carrier or shipper company which doesn’t provide enough quality. This leads to ruptured packaging, delayed processes and at times orders aren’t even fulfilled.
Research all carrier companies and pick one who is consistent in functions and is suitable for that order & product type. Shipping software automates processes and makes it easy to carry out shipping tasks. Rather than investing in compromising materials or carrier companies, provide free shipping and still be profitable- learn how!
These actionable solutions are surely going to better your Order fulfillment process and enhance your customers’ satisfaction.