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The Importance of Order Fulfillment in 2023

Table of Contents

The order fulfillment process is the proceeding from the point of sales (order placed by customer) to the final delivery of a product. This typically involves inventory management, picking and packing, shipping, and returns processing. Usually, this involved outsourcing these operations to a 3PL like Simple Global to ensure accurate and timely delivery of products to customers while minimizing errors and costs. With a 3PL, your order fulfillment process is customized according to your brand’s size and needs.

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Low Costs, Improved Customer Service, and Scalability

Working with a 3PL partner to pick, pack, and ship orders is proven to reduce total operational costs – no matter if the volume of orders is high or low.

Third-party logistics service providers like Simple Global focus on providing the best possible service for e-commerce brands. This is possible with the latest tech and innovation, implemented with an advanced warehouse management system – successfully crafting a streamlined supply chain that allows you to focus more on business scalability and global expansion.

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The Fulfillment Process

Receiving inventory

Any incoming inventory or goods must be counted, inspected, and inventoried within a warehouse to ensure the proper amount was received, and at its best quality. SKUs or bar codes on arriving products are used in the receiving and storage processes, and to retrieve goods later on, leading to the picking and packing process before shipping.

Inventory storage

Items are ideally stored long enough to help organize the distribution of goods for existing(current) sales, rather than to hold products for future sales. This helps keep inventory well-stocked while avoiding overstocking complications.

Order Processing

A WMS or alternative management system shows the product being picked and packed after a new order comes in. In the online marketplace, a warehouse management system can be integrated with the shopping cart on an e-commerce website to automatically initiate order processing to the warehouse.

Picking and packing

The item is then picked from its allocated location within the warehouse with packing slip instructions – which contain vital information such as a list of item SKUs, product colors, sizes, and quantity.

Packing materials are carefully selected to achieve the lowest dimensional weight without compromising or damaging the product, (calculated by multiplying package: L*W*H). Optimizing dimensional weight is crucial to speed up transportation while helping to lower total shipment costs.

Shipping and delivery

The customer order is then shipped by ground, sea, or air. FedEx, UPS, and the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) determine freight billable costs by actual package weight or dimensional weight.

Shipping routes often include more than one carrier. This could happen due to the parcel being delivered to remote areas, therefore a local transportation service will pick up the item from another, larger service (such as FedEx or UPS), and transfer it to its final delivery location.

Returns processing

When a customer returns a product for an exchange or a refund, the process must be conducted with care to ensure it’s appropriate to restock. If the product is damaged or broken, it cannot be restocked. This is usually dictated by a quality control check during the returns process. From there, you must determine if the customer should receive a new product or refund.

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Conclusions

A carefully crafted business plan is crucial to map out all the important details of a 3PL process – from facility and technology to total costs and location. With a 3PL like Simple Global at your side, your plan will be customized for your company’s needs, and streamline your business to optimize profits and improve customer satisfaction.

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