The ongoing pandemic has made a big impact on e-commerce advancement by an estimated five to fifteen years. Switching from in-store to online has made a relevant demand for operational jobs to e-commerce fulfillment warehouse space. This change has created a learning curve for many companies that are not accustomed to packing orders and delivering them to customers.
Having an efficient ordering filing system is one of the main factors in terms of e-commerce growth sustainability. Aside from that, having correct processes in order filling system for accurate results can surely affect customer’s experience satisfactory.
Having an inefficient order filling process, warehouse fees can pile up that may further result in customers being disappointed, and eventually lead to a significant reduction on your customer lifetime value (LTV).
If you find that your order volume is high, the order processing process can be more complex and time-consuming. Fortunately, there are ways to improve the efficiency of order processing in order to accelerate the process while minimizing errors.
We will be discussing the whole order filling process to know what it is and the tips we can do to optimize the process faster.
Order Filling Definition
Order fulfillment refers to the tasks performed by order fillers, such as receiving and storing inventory, picking and packing boxes, and shipping orders from distribution centers or warehouses.
How does Order Filling Work?
Besides packing the order and shipping it to the door, the order processing process involves much more. Order fillers can be involved in every step of the order fulfillment process, from receiving goods to picking and picking goods, or they can be highly skilled in a particular area.
We will be sharing with you the steps on how to fill an order. So here are the main five steps:
1. Receiving Goods for Inventory in Warehouse
E-commerce orders obviously cannot be processed without stocks. A supplier, manufacturer, or brand must always deliver the required products to the warehouse, where the staff will be accepting the goods. “Receiving” simply means the receipt of the incoming inventory or supplies to be kept in the warehouse before they will be sold to the customers. During this step, the order filler will ensure that all items sent have arrived and are in good condition.
2. Stocking of inventory in the Fulfillment Center
In this phase, the items are stored on the warehouse’s shelves together with other units of the same item, as every product must have its own dedicated storage, as a reference for expiration dates or in case the products need to be recalled.
The most common storage locations for inventory include shelves, containers, or pallets. Correct and organized warehousing is one of the most important parts of correct order processing and items must be stored under the right conditions.
3. Locating and Picking Up of Items
When an order is placed in the store, the warehouse picking process starts. The order filler will find the item so that you can pack the entire order in the next step.
Most 3PL companies use Warehouse Management System (WMS) for automatic assigning of similar orders with the inventory in the same area of the fulfillment center for the same picker. This will reduce the steps needed for the order process, making it more efficient.
A picking list is automatically created that includes the ordered items and the quantity and location of each item in the distribution center. Each unit withdrawn is scanned from the inventory bin, so the inventory quantity is updated in real-time and the dealer updates the inventory level.
4. Packing of Orders
Once all the items in your order have been selected, the next step is to pack them tightly and affix the shipping label. Whenever possible, all items should be shipped in the same package to avoid split shipments.
5. Shipping Out of Orders
The final step in fulfilling an order is to deliver the order. For small brands that place their own orders, this means several trips to the post office.
By outsourcing fulfillment, no need to worry about the shipping out of orders by yourself since 3PL partners, such as Chicago Shipper, will help with the negotiation of shipping rates and picking up of the parcels daily that are being sorted by shipping couriers.
Cargo carriers primarily handle the last mile delivery process by truck or air freight. You need to make sure that your store has proper order tracking so that your customers can track the progress of their shipments.
How to improve the order filling process?
Order filling optimization is very vital when it comes to increasing the supply chain efficiency. Here are some tips to improve your business’s order processing.
- Ensuring an organized inventory
When organizing your inventory, keep in mind that you will need to select items later to process your order. Organize your inventory so that you can easily find the items you need (for example, store frequently ordered items side by side).
- Picking routes setting up
Picking routes help pickers find the products they need. Routes are set with zone, site altitude, and safety regulations in mind. These routes help the warehouse order picker control the direction of travel of the delivery vehicle.
- Maintainance of accurate inventory data with the use of the right tools
Knowing the volume of your inventory is a very important matter when it comes to warehouse management. This will prevent any incident of being out of stock on items your business is offering the customers. And having said that, using of right tools for inventory management can surely be a great help to manage and track your stocks properly.
- Proper optimization of the processes
The order filling process can always be improved, including faster travel times, more ideal delivery locations and routes, fewer delivery zones, better inventory management, and better forecasting.
This can increase incentives for employees to change shifts, implement fulfillment software, install new equipment, and change operations. Here are some other ideas for optimizing your supply chain.
- Automation of order filling process
Automating the order processing improves operational efficiency, reduces errors, improves order accuracy, and speeds delivery.
When automated correctly, automation can save buyers time and money significantly, resulting in fewer returns and refunds. Auto-delivery includes auto-submitting orders to ordering fillers, placing additional inventory orders when certain inventory levels are reached, sending tracking updates to customers, and more.
- Partnering up with a third-party logistics company
Due to the difficulty of managing the order processing process, many brands are considering partnering with external logistics companies such as Chicago Shipper. Chicago Shipper is the main 3PL that handles the order processing process.
Learn more about Chicago Shipper’s services by contacting us here.