Order fulfillment is a company-specific process that is intricate and may require a 3PL service provider. It is both a goal and a challenge for any company. The process of order fulfillment involves receiving, processing, packing, and shipping an order to a customer.
If you are looking to improve your fulfillment solutions in your e-commerce company, then you’re in the right place. When choosing a partner, one of the first things to decipher is whether you need low vs. high-volume fulfillment.
What's Your Volume?
Before you think about outsourcing your order fulfillment process to a 3PL service provider, you need to consider whether you really need to do that. Order minimums are a wonderful pointer whether you need fulfillment solutions. Some companies require you to have an order minimum, or a minimum number of orders that your company gets every month.
If you are getting less than 1,000 orders a month, it would be beneficial for your company to consider self-fulfillment or a low-volume fulfillment solution with no order minimum. Self-fulfillment means that your company receives and processes all orders internally. This includes shipping and picking. If you only ship a handful of items per month, self-fulfillment would be the best option for you because it is more affordable and easier for low volume.
Other factors to consider are your company's long-term growth predictions and the type of online sales it does. If you can foresee a significant increase in the number of orders you get per month, then you can start early and choose an appropriate fulfillment solution.
High-Volume Fulfillment Solutions
If your company fulfills 1,000+ orders a month, you likely need a high-volume partner who can handle this amount of work. The right 3PL can handle all the heavy lifting so you can focus on other business growth opportunities. High-volume fulfillment solutions can handle incoming orders, keep inventory, and connect with the best shipping solutions. Here’s what makes a high-volume partner so valuable for scaling businesses.
Before we expound on kitting, you need to understand some basics about warehouse fulfillment. Every item in a fulfillment company is indexed with a series of alphanumeric code that is unique, helps keep track of each item, and manages inventory.
This is called a Stock Keeping Unit, or SKU. This identification contains specific details about an item like the size, color, category, and brand.
When fulfillment companies work with new clients, they consider every aspect of the company they sign on. Most prefer businesses with low SKUs and a high volume of orders. This means that your company ships a large number of the same item. It makes inventory management easier for the fulfillment company, while the high-volume orders translate to high profits for e-commerce companies.
High-volume fulfillment companies have a system where they merge multiple SKUs into a package to create new SKUs. This process is called kitting and it allows the 3PL service provider to keep track of shipped items. Instead of shipping out items one by one and order by order, kitting lets high-volume fulfillment companies bundle up orders and ship them together.
The benefits of kitting include lower labor costs, faster shipping, and increased profits. High-volume distributors have a streamlined process for kitting and the capacity to kit large amounts of orders that low-volume companies cannot.
Inventory Management Systems
High-volume orders can be hectic to manage, especially when it comes to taking inventory. One of the biggest benefits of a high-volume fulfillment company is its superior inventory management system. Having order fulfillment technology helps make the entire e-commerce fulfillment process more efficient and cost-effective.
High-volume fulfillment solutions have technology that streamlines the entire inventory process and makes it automatic. They allow you to see your inventory levels across all locations and help control day-to-day warehouse operations such as shipping, storing, and sorting.
Essentially, the right technology puts control and real-time visibility in the hands of the customer.
Warehouse management software can help with time-consuming tasks involved in order fulfillment, including tracking orders and reverse logistics. When you ship high-volume orders, you need to be able to track your inventory and have a clear view of where your products are and how orders are progressing.
When shipping high-volume orders, it is important to be as efficient as possible. High-volume fulfillment services are efficient enough to deal with multiple clients and numerous orders while ensuring that your products don’t get lost in the mix.
Employees do not need to walk around the warehouse just to find one item. Efficient fulfillment processes save money for your company and for the 3PL service provider.
High volume fulfillment companies use kitting to increase fulfillment efficiency by reducing operating costs with each kit. Bundling makes shipping faster and effectively lowers shipping costs, improves order accuracy, and ultimately increases customer satisfaction and expands market reach.
Partnering with a high-volume fulfillment solution gives your company a competitive advantage because of positive customer feedback, speedy deliveries, and a quick fulfillment process.
Find Your High-Volume Fulfillment Partner
Making it in the e-commerce arena can be a huge milestone, but all your achievements can be lost if you cannot keep a fast and efficient fulfillment process. If you are considering outsourcing your fulfillment process to an external company, you need to know the factors that will help you choose the best service provider.
Partnering with a high-volume third-party logistics company that can manage your increased orders as you scale your e-commerce offering is critical. Choose a company with efficient warehousing and e-commerce fulfillment solutions. If you need more information on whether your business needs high-volume fulfillment solutions, please contact us today.