A well-designed website and great products can draw customers in, but it's actually fulfillment that convinces them to stay. Recurring assessments and planning ahead are the keys for successful fulfillment operations. With that in mind, prepare for 2018 and beyond by looking for ways to improve your fulfillment performance. To start, focus on the following areas.
Resources & Staffing
From forklifts to scanners, warehouse equipment is critical for maintaining productivity and organization. Take stock of these resources and make sure there are enough to accommodate peak seasons and inventory growth. Of course, the staff using the equipment is even more important. Review your annual staffing needs and budget accordingly for anticipated increases. When the time comes to increase staff, evaluate the depth of their training to identify any gaps or common pain points.
You can have the best equipment, resources, and facilities, but none of it will matter if your fulfillment processes and operations are inefficient. Make sure to take a close look into the following areas:
- Receiving – Are incoming products properly labeled and packaged? Is there anything your suppliers can do to make restocking faster and easier for you?
- Picking & Packing – Are there recurring tasks that are overly complex or time-consuming? Consult with your staff to identify common bottlenecks and come up with solutions.
- Systems & Software – A robust fulfillment management system will give you the data you need to find inefficiencies and reduce the demand on your internal resources.
Are you losing money from storing unpopular SKUs or from underestimating customer demand? Make sure your inventory management software and the data it provides is being used properly. You should be getting a robust picture of how inventory moves across all of your points of sale. By analyzing the order history from each channel, you can determine purchasing trends and adjust your inventory to avoid stockouts or over purchasing.