Order fulfillment begins with a customer’s purchase and ends with the product’s delivery. If you can streamline and speed up the order-to-cash cycle, you’ll see fewer wasted resources, happier customers, and a healthier bottom line.
Because efficient order fulfillment greatly increases customer satisfaction, it has a huge impact on the future of your business. Late or lost shipments, damaged products, or incorrect orders leave customers with a poor impression of your company. Not only will they hesitate to place future orders, but they may even leave bad reviews and discourage other buyers. Furthermore, order errors require significant expense and labor to rectify.
So how can you optimize your company’s order fulfillment process and expedite your order-to-cash cycle? We’ve identified six steps you can take right away.
Automation eliminates many of the manual input errors that can so easily throw your fulfillment process off track. There are a number of areas that can be automated depending on your organization’s processes, from picking inventory to EDI to invoicing. Automation makes everyone’s work easier by reducing tedious manual tasks, increasing accuracy and reliability of data, and saving money that you would have spent on amending costly mistakes.
If you have steps in your fulfillment process that involve clicking buttons, checking boxes, sending emails, or similar electronic functions, an
Enhance inventory visibility
Visibility into your inventory shows how efficient your order fulfillment process is. If you sell through multiple channels, inventory visibility is critical. Without it, you run the risk of backorders, overstocks, and disappointed customers.
An inventory management system that updates in real time is an efficient way to maximize visibility across all your channels. Your team will always have up-to-the-minute details about stock on hand, reorder points, item allocation, and more. Knowing exactly what you have in your warehouse, where it's located, and what it's worth is invaluable, and prevents you from being in the dark on any of your orders. What's more, you're able to give timely, accurate answers to customers with questions about your inventory, raising your credibility and their satisfaction.
Classify your inventory
With products grouped by meaningful classifications, your team will always know where your most critical items are. Classifications go a long way to ensuring an organized warehouse and streamlined operations.
One recognized way to classify inventory involves the
- Group A includes items with the highest annual consumption value based on item, price, and popularity, estimated to account for 80% of sales and revenue.
- Group B designates medium consumption value items. These items may constitute roughly 15-25% of annual consumption value.
- Group C contains items with the lowest consumption value. These items may account for only about 5% of your annual sales.
Classification of inventory is an excellent method for cutting down on the time it takes to process and fulfill orders.
One of the benefits of eCommerce is the ability of companies to sell items that they don’t actually have on hand. Third-party companies receive the order and ship the product from the manufacturer directly to the customer. This process, called
Not only does drop-shipping streamline your warehouse operations, it allows you to offer a wide variety of goods from all over the world, without the constraints of housing all that inventory yourself. Additionally, drop-shipping helps customers receive their orders more quickly in the event of back-ordered items, leading to higher satisfaction.
Improve picking speed and accuracy
An organized picking strategy in your warehouse can help streamline your order fulfillment process as well. If your inventory management is largely manual, it's time to trade clipboards, pen, and paper for barcodes and scanners. On both the receiving end and the shipping end, the opportunities for human error are vastly reduced, thus preventing chargebacks from your vendor and returns from your customers. Keep your warehouse safe and organized for your shipping team, get your orders picked and packed accurately, and get every order shipped out on time.
Use the best integrations
For fast and efficient order fulfillment, integrations are a game-changer, because they allow you to create a highly-specialized order fulfillment process. Do you want to seamlessly update your eCommerce operation when inventory levels fluctuate? There’s an integration for that. And when you need the most up-to-date information possible on every shipment that goes out your door,
You can combine powerful integrations with automation to really give your fulfillment process a boost. This saves time and money by reducing human error, eliminating processing bottlenecks, and minimizing redundancy.
Your improved order fulfillment process
If you institute these six suggestions, you’ll have your entire fulfillment operation well under control, and you’ll quickly start to see the wheels of the order-to-cash machine turning faster.
Reimagine your distribution business with software that’s built with you in mind—wherever you are in your technology journey. At Cavallo, we’ve refined our order management solutions to address the industry's most pressing pain points, empowering thousands of customers to maximize their profits, cut out waste, and unlock value.