The price of products and timely and safe delivery are the critical elements that contribute to e-commerce businesses’ success says, William D King. Making the products available to customers on time enhances user experience, which weighs in favor of e-commerce businesses. Making the products available to customers by using fulfillment services is a crucial component of e-commerce operations. A company that offers fulfillment services to leading businesses worldwide, will give you a better understanding of the services’ operations and the challenges faced in executing the fulfillment services.
The order fulfillment process starts right from sale and ends in the timely and safe delivery of consignments to customers. E-commerce companies largely depend on 3PL or third-party logistics to handle the fulfillment services.
Stages in the order fulfillment process say William D King
Taking stock – Soon after a customer confirms the order to an e-commerce company, the baton passes on from the merchant to the 3PL company that looks at the inventory at the fulfillment center. It consists of documenting the parameters like quantity, delivery time, and storage requirements.
Pickup – A picking team assigned by the 3PL then receives a summary of the documents created in the earlier step and starts planning for picking the goods from the specified location.
Storage – After pickup, the goods arrive at the fulfillment center of the 3PL and are shelved after indexing to keep them ready for packing before shipping.
Packing – The 3PL then packs the goods securely in brown paper boxes and cartons, which might sometimes include some special boxes sent by the merchant who wants to gain mileage in branding.
Shipping – The 3PL company directly coordinates with the carriers and arranges for shipping the goods. However by choosing a suitable shipment mode that best helps to meet the delivery schedule.
William D King says Factors that influence successful fulfillment process
Process alignment – The 3PL company entrusted with the fulfillment services must follow a standard operating procedure. SOP0 makes the process transparent. It will ensure consistent and also standardized operations that minimize the chances of failure. Moreover, merchants can track every consignment throughout the fulfillment process.
Shorter transit time – William D King says, Speed of delivery matters most to customers who purchase online, and in most cases. They expect to get the ordered items delivered within 2 days. Sometimes, customers are willing to pay extra to meet their expectations. 3PL companies must deftly coordinate between buyers and sellers. While the goods are in transit so that all stakeholders are on the same page.
Organized storage –The speed and smoothness of delivery of items hinge around the organized warehouses of the 3PL company. Easy identification of items by knowing their location. Easy accessibility ensures speedy removal of items from the warehouse that saves some of the shipping time.
Customer service – 3PLs have a significant role in ensuring efficient customer service. By enabling proper tracking of consignments so that both sellers and buyers are aware of the consignment’s status in transit.
Clear communication between the merchants and also 3PL companies is essential to have complete clarity about the fulfillment services.