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How to accelerate order fulfillment (pick, pack and ship)

Accelerate your order fulfillment with SFG.

The Department of Urban Studies and Planning Director at MIT, Carlo Ratti and the Professor of Business and Creativity at the University of Toronto, Richard Florida, reported that cities all over the world are reorganizing to develop the 15-minute city. This is an urban development plan that accommodates consumers' lives so they can reach all of their needs within a 15-minute walk or bike ride. This idea has given way to the 15-minute delivery and an overall faster economic push toward extreme efficiency.

Customers who live in urban areas expect deliveries to not only be on time but quick and accurate as well. We will explore how to optimize and accelerate your order fulfillment for fast picking, packing and shipping.

Is accelerating your shipping process worth it?

Optimizing your order fulfillment process is vital to successfully meeting customer demand, building trust and creating excitement around your brand. A poor customer experience can result in bad reviews, fewer visitors and even fewer sales. A McKinsey report found that 78% of customers within the past few years have changed their purchasing habits and shifted brands or retailers if necessary.

With a refined fulfillment strategy, however, you can see incredible results in not only customer loyalty but in other areas as well:

  • More sales: Fast shipping sells. According to a Ware 2 Go survey, 77% of customers said they were more likely to purchase if the business could promise two-day delivery.
  • Ability to scale: A streamlined, outsourced fulfillment plan can help your business work for you instead of you working for it, deciding and managing every detail of the supply chain.
  • Lower costs: Efficiency should always be the goal of every business. Cutting down on the time it takes to complete a task means you can move on to the next more quickly. The faster your pick, pack and ship employees can complete one order, the quicker they can complete the next, and the happier the customer will be.

To meet customer expectations, you need to have a plan for accelerating your order fulfillment. We've compiled a list of ways you can do just that.

Four ways to optimize fulfillment

Where learning about the customer journey and building customer profiles was once the big push to compete with other retailers, shipping time is now the focus. Amazon came out with the 2-day shipment model, and since then, retail has continued to push the envelope. Here are a few ways you can optimize your workflow.

1. Distributed fulfillment centers

To truly optimize the fulfillment process, consider the implementation of distributed fulfillment centers. This strategy involves establishing multiple centers closer to various customer demographics at strategic locations and utilizing existing physical store locations as additional hubs. This approach not only shortens delivery times but also creates a harmonized bridge between your online and offline business operations, ensuring a swift and seamless delivery process. By being precisely where your customers are, you can significantly enhance the efficiency of the pick, pack and ship process, meeting the growing expectations for rapid and accurate deliveries.

2. Minimize warehouse decisions

The fewer decisions warehouse employees need to make, the more efficient your fulfillment can be. For example, if it's unclear which items should be fulfilled in which order or where to go in the warehouse to pick up merchandise, this can slow down production. Using an order management system to map out the best routes around the warehouse can help a lot.

3. Automate your returns process

Because online shopping has become the norm in the past few years, customers will likely order multiple items at the same time to try on and return anything they're not completely satisfied with. Bringing the customer experience full circle with an automated returns system can help streamline this process. An automated system can send a customer a survey on why they are returning a product, email a return label and process the item once it arrives, essentially removing human interaction almost completely.

4. Integrate business intelligence

Using business intelligence solutions across the supply chain can cut out repetitive tasks and allow you to focus on more important duties. With an effectively automated system, you can connect order entry, inventory management, order processing, invoices, customer care, returns and more to follow up on customer satisfaction and future sales.

Business acceleration with SFG

With our all-in-one order management and business intelligence solution, we can optimize your order fulfillment from start to finish. If you want to keep up with big-box retailers and improve the customer experience, contact us today to get started.

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