Humans during the ice-age probably considered the element of fire to be divine and alien. The man who discovered the wheel would’ve laughed at the thought of ever being able to fly. And as for our grandparents – they would’ve considered it abnormal to buy clothes without even trying them on. From the ice age to the age of Information Technology; from the wheel to flying machines; from brick-and-mortar stores to virtual shops, it’s been a creative progression. But progress isn’t easy and is always rife with challenges.
The burgeoning E-commerce industry in particular is still coming to terms with its unexpected success. Every organization is now racing against time with ‘two-day shipping’ and ‘last mile deliveries’ being the norm. This requires a strong supply chain that can deftly combine management with technological systems to deliver E-Fulfilment. Here are some easy, but oft-ignored points that need to be noted.
1. Follow the fast-moving goods
It’s a common marketing practice to chart out the best-selling products in every category of every brand. This enables organizations to have a predictable idea of the upcoming demand and ensure appropriate systems are in place. Likewise, when it comes to Ecommerce, it pays to forecast fast-moving products and preferably stock them up in the warehouse such that it is ready to be shipped as early as possible.
2. Flexibility with systems
Just as purchases are made with a single click, they can also be cancelled. And often, this may happen when the product is en route to its destination. In such events, executives in charge should be able to handle changes by supplementing the return of the product to the warehouse with another vehicle that is scheduled to be in the area. Other ad hoc changes may include taking care of merchandise return management. Staying prepared and being flexible is key to E-Fulfilment.
3. Manage space
E-fulfilment is moot without proper warehouse management. Develop an automated system that makes it easy for supervisors to know how much storage space is available at all times. It also pays to group packages by size or type which makes it easy to retrieve when required.
4. Opt for 3PLS
The E-fulfilment process involves operational efficiency and access to wide-spread areas. Owing to the complexity and feasibility of establishing such systems, many start-ups have turned to outsourcing their supply chain management. Experienced 3PLs (Third-party logistics) can help take care of two main functions – warehouse and order management. Outsourcing these prime responsibilities is not just feasible, but also efficiently helps in completing the E-fulfilment process.