Any business that depends on delivery to get their items to their customers’ needs an order fulfillment process that is nothing short of ideal. Below are some simple ways you can help move your process closer to that important goal.


Implement Slotting


If your company relies on a warehouse for its inventory, your fulfillment will never be what it could without approaching this essential area. One important method for getting the MOST® out of your warehouse operation is called slotting. It refers to a number of different ways you can organize your inventory to cut down on the time it takes to get orders out the door.


For example, one slotting method requires you to identify the MOST® popular items you sell and ensuring they are all located as closely as possible to the packaging area. No sense in putting them elsewhere if it means workers will have further to travel in order to find them and carry them back.


However, depending on how much inventory you have, this type of slotting could easily cause congestion and completely eradicate any time you saved or otherwise make matters worse. So for some, your strategy will need to entail creating a few areas for popular items and assigning groups of workers to each one so there are no bottlenecks.


Slotting also takes into consideration the size of the items as well. You’ll need to consider their overall shape, weight and dimensions. Even durability can help you decide where you put each item as it will affect where in a package it will be placed. If you have the right kind of analytics, slotting shouldn’t involve too difficult of a process.


Prepackage Popular Combinations


Another strategy very similar to slotting also relies on analytics to examine the way your customers habitually purchase items. What you want to find out is if customers tend to buy certain combinations regularly. If they do this enough, it makes sense to prepackage those items and leave them waiting on the shelves so all your workers have to do is put a shipping label on them and send these packages on their way.


Don’t Forget about the Packaging


Never take your packaging for granted. It’s probably the least interesting part of your entire operation, but it could contain some real options for better fulfillment (as well as lowering overhead).
Just like you examined buyer behaviors in the last step, you’ll want to do it for packaging reasons too, so you can get a sense for the average size and weight of your orders. You could be wasting a lot of box space by providing more room than is typically necessary. This is probably slowing fulfillment down as workers need to fill the leftover space with extra material (e.g. packing peanuts) to keep the items inside nice and safe. If this isn’t something you’re currently doing, then your customers may be left unsatisfied when items show up with unnecessary wear and tear incurred by the rough and tumble trip.


When you look into this component, you may even find that something like packing peanuts isn’t such a bad thing if it means you can cut out one type of box altogether. Perhaps you just weren’t using a small box enough to make it worth it for your workers to hunt down that specific type. Instead, maybe it makes more sense to use a medium box, which is sufficient for the majority of your orders, and then simply provide packing peanuts for the minority of times the small box gets used.


Leverage Software


Unless you’re using order fulfillment software, the above steps will be virtually impossible to address. However, with order fulfillment software, all of the above and much more are within your grasp. You may find all kinds of ways your company’s order fulfillment could be improved. Order fulfillment is too important a part of your company’s success to leave it to chance. By using order fulfillment software, you can implement the above tactics for improving your company’s overall operation.


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