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If your online business involves shipping a product to your customers, you should develop a standard order fulfillment process. Setting standard systems in place will help you maintain your stock and can help prevent unhappy customers. As you develop the system that’s right for you, consider the types of products that you have, the order volume that you receive, your resources, and the costs per order. These all factor into how you run your business and how quickly you can get your products out the door and into the hands of your customers.
Type of Products
The types of products that you offer will ultimately decide the specific shipping methods that you will have to use. Certain products, like food and some cosmetics, will require a particular type packaging. The need for a specific type of packaging will be more expensive, and will probably affect the price of your product. Larger products, such as furniture, are harder to ship and may involve a courier service like FedEx or UPS instead of the US Postal Service.
To accommodate your ecommerce order fulfillment needs, you need to determine the amount of orders that you are likely to receive. If you do not have enough materials or your warehouse is not stocked sufficiently, you will not be able to fulfill your customer’s orders. When first starting off, this may not be much of an issue, but when your business begins to grow, you will need to be careful about not taking more orders than you are able to fulfill.
When your company is still new, the size of your work force will most likely be small. Because of this you will probably be solely responsible for fulfilling the orders that you receive. To avoid neglecting your other responsibilities, you need to be careful about how you manage your time. It does no one any good to receive 1,000 orders if you are unable to fulfill those orders.
Cost Per Order
If you want to use in-house fulfillment, consider all of the possible warehousing costs. The possible costs include shipping supplies, shipping costs, labor, equipment, software, and leasing costs. In-house fulfillment is ideal because you have control over the quality of the process. If instead you plan to outsource your fulfillment process, there may be fees, service charges, and penalty fees. Outsourced fulfillment works when you don’t want to worry about keeping a warehouse stocked with supplies and monitoring warehouse procedures. Each of these options have their pros and cons, and there is no one right or wrong answer.
Each of these factors will ultimately determine the quality of your order fulfillment process. If even one part of the process is low in quality, your entire fulfillment process could be put in jeopardy. You will, therefore, need to make sure that the particulars of your process and the materials that you use are appropriate for you specific company. You should also make sure that warehouse employees, whether outsourced or in-housed, are properly trained to meet order fulfillment demands.