5 min read

Top Supply Chain Management Strategies for Optimal Optimization

September 22, 2021 by Rashi Sood - 5 min read

Supply chain optimization has become a hot topic among eCommerce sellers recently. It means operating the supply chain at the highest efficiency with the lowest possible cost. The total operating expenses and gross margin return on the inventory are the key performance indicators here. The aim is to deliver products at the lowest cost while ensuring the highest profits.

Supply Chain Optimization

To meet the goals, there is a need to balance the manufacturing cost, inventory, transportation, and other fulfillment-related services. If done right, the optimized supply chain can bring a competitive advantage for the business. Supply chain optimization increases efficiency and reduces costs, aiding in the overall development of the business.

This blog will take you through what supply chain optimization is and the best strategies to improve your supply chain management.

What is Supply Chain Optimization?

Supply chain optimization is the process of optimizing the supply chain process for maximum benefits. This means minimizing operational costs while also maintaining optimal inventory management. It includes the following:

  • Manufacturing and transportation costs
  • Distribution costs
  • Fulfillment costs

The optimal supply chain process helps deliver products at the lowest cost and increase profit while also ensuring the highest customer satisfaction.  

Challenges in Supply Chain Management

Supply Chain Optimization

Being up to date with the supply chain strategies is the need of the hour. However, the first step towards it is knowing the problem areas:

Process Efficiency

Efficient and speedier supply chains lead to cost-effective operations. The best way is to look for problematic areas and eliminate all bottlenecks. You must try to rule out all possible delays to not let any additional cost add up.

Inventory Management

The market is growing at a reasonable rate, and the channels are also increasing. So, how can you optimize your functions to save costs without compromising on the customer experience? Well, you can store inventory in multiple warehouses closest to your buyers. On the one hand, you can save on shipping costs, while on the other, you can ensure the delivery of your products within a day or two.

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Inventory Demand Forecasting

Meeting demands by timely restocking inventory is the factor that puts maximum pressure on the supply chain. You can restock inventory well in time by anticipating demand and ensuring that your customers never go away empty-handed.

Customer Expectation

With the eCommerce giant Amazon, the customer expectation is an all-time high. They want faster and timely delivery and responsive services. This lights on the importance of technology for efficient operations, decreased fulfillment cost, and increased customer satisfaction.

Importance of Supply Chain Optimization

Supply Chain Optimization

An optimized supply chain helps in adapting the current logistics trends with ease without incurring high costs. Here is how optimizing the supply chain can be beneficial for your business:

  • It helps in increased inventory management which leads to cutting costs and ensuring timely restocking. This helps avoid out-of-stock scenarios, and you can meet the demands of all your customers without having them wait. Besides, while storing excess inventory, you can incur high storing charges and higher shipping costs.
  • Streamlined fulfillment operations mean timely and faster delivery of products, leading to optimal customer satisfaction. By identifying more rapid means of transportation and delivery, you can optimize delivery methods and improve overall fulfillment operations. This also means fewer returns and lowered costs associated with customer service.
  • When you have visibility of the functions and overall cost, you can choose the best path forward. This helps in operational efficiencies and cost-saving.

Supply Chain Management Strategies

Track Inventory

Monitor your inventory from time to time to keep a tab on the available raw material and inventory at different storing locations. You can always take the help of inventory management software to stay updated on what you have and how long it will sustain. Periodic assessment is also a way to have accurate logging of inventory and achieve higher efficiency.

Standardized Process

Standardizing the process is of crucial importance to optimize the supply chain process. You can install software to streamline the process to save time, effort, and cost. This will surely improve overall productivity, aid in better communication, decrease labor-related costs.

Transparency in Operations

Informed and well-thought decision-making requires data that is accurate and reliable. You can take the help of automated reports to keep your supply chain strategies up to date. The increased transparency in operations leads to decreased operational risks and boosts the overall business bottom line.

Distribution Strategy

You can ensure product distribution by keeping end-to-end visibility into the distribution network. A distribution strategy will ensure optimal utilization of the assets and the entire distribution process. This enhances the customer experience by facilitating faster delivery and reduced wastage of stock. Your distribution network and strategy must be aligned with business goals to stay on top of the process.

Adopting these strategies is the best way to ensure a smooth supply chain process. By implementing them, you can save on time, effort, and cost.

Shiprocket Fulfillment features
September 22, 2021 by Rashi Sood

5 min read

How Can 3PL Fulfillment Providers Improve Last-Mile Delivery?

September 16, 2021 by Srishti Arora - 5 min read

The last-mile delivery is the final leg of your entire fulfillment supply chain. It is just before the order is delivered to your customer. Since you do not control who provides the order, you can only ensure that the courier company or choose is trusted and provides the product correctly to your customer.

However, when you tie-up with a single courier company, it can get challenging to deliver across several pin codes as the reach is limited. If the network is weak and there is a workforce shortage, you can also delay your order delivery. It will not feel great if you follow all steps to ensure that your order is delivered on time and only the last mile is not intact.

Several sellers in India face the issue of a poor last-mile delivery experience. Since the Indian ecosystem is a little distorted and not very automated, the information available is not insightful. Also, making real-time decisions for last-mile orders can become a difficult task. However, if you outsource these operations to 3PL fulfillment providers, you can considerably reduce these challenges and focus on other aspects of your business while ensuring smooth delivery. 

Let’s look at how 3PL fulfillment providers can help you tackle the last-mile delivery challenge in India. 

But before that, let’s have a look at the basics. 

What is Last-Mile Delivery?

Last-mile delivery refers to the process of delivering a package from the shipping hub to the customer’s delivery location. The last mile carriers are the executives who genuinely provide the box to the customer. In India, it is carried out end to end by courier companies like Delhivery, FedEx, Gati, DHL, DTDC, etc.

Importance of Last-Mile Delivery

Last-mile delivery is crucial for any business because it is the final leg of their supply chain. It directly corresponds to customer loyalty and satisfaction. With Amazon coming into the picture, the demand for two-day and one-day delivery has increased, and expectations are also rising due to the impending lockdowns imposed due to COVID. 

Challenges in Last-Mile Delivery

A significant challenge about last-mile delivery is the lack of infrastructure. There are limited tools available for previous mile tracking, and the final mile delivery costs are incredibly high. These impacted overall shipping charges, and you have to bear the brunt of losses if you cannot overcome these. Along with that, most businesses lack the infrastructure to process their orders faster to give ample time for last-mile deliveries. This creates pressure, and there is a decrease in the overall experience. 

Top Carriers for Last-Mile Delivery

In India, the firsthand last-mile processes usually end and are carried out by dedicated courier companies like delivery, Gati, DTDC, FedEx, DHL, blue dart, etc. It is also carried out by local carrier partners that might be available in your area.

Role of Last-Mile in Express Delivery

Last-mile delivery plays a critical role in express delivery formats like one day and today delivery. If the last mile network is not strong, there will be challenges in providing express delivery to customers. 

The last-mile network needs to be trusted, prompt, and proactive. It needs to have an adequate tracking mechanism so that the executive carrying the product has accountability and visibility. Also, there needs to be an established communication channel between the end customer, seller, and the delivery executive to ensure timely and effective delivery of all orders. 

When you do this with a single courier company, it can get challenging to coordinate and track the last mile orders. However, with 3PL fulfillment providers, the story is slightly different. 

Let’s have a look at how 3PL providers like Shiprocket Fulfillment can help you reduce the stress and challenges associated with last-mile delivery. 

How Can Shiprocket Fulfillment Help?

A significant challenge in providing express delivery to customers is timely shipping. Shipping can be impacted by several factors like the weather, traffic, customs, etc. However, when you store your inventory closer to customers, you let go of at least half of these challenges. Shiprocket fulfillment revives you with several fulfillment centers located across the country at prime locations. If you want to deliver in a particular zone, you can store your inventory in the fulfillment center soon and let the Shiprocket Fulfillment Testimonial order be for you. This will enable you to automatically reduce shipping costs and decrease the shipping time, ultimately resulting in a positive customer experience. 

Next, the challenge of last-mile delivery is a weak shipping network. Shiprocket fulfillment utilizes the robust shipping network of Shiprocket to deliver all orders. Shiprocket offers a pin code reach of 29,000+ pin codes and shipping with 17+ courier partners. This strengthens the last-mile delivery network and gives you clear visibility about the deliveries. Along with that, you also have a robust push ship tracking system in place that provides the customer with complete visibility about the order tracking. 

Lastly, Shiprocket fulfillment offers you a robust technology stack along with a skilled team that helps you reduce the order-to-ship time and streamlines the overall order fulfillment operations. If the initial processes are fast, the last mile delivery operations can also be covered in ample time.

Final Thoughts

3PL fulfillment providers are the next big thing for e-commerce fulfillment in India. It is time you outsource your operations to these providers to focus on building your brand and making a mark with customers. Last-mile delivery plays a crucial role in your entire fulfillment chain. Make sure you optimize this with the help of a 3PL fulfillment provider and deliver all orders on time

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September 16, 2021 by Srishti Arora

5 min read

Importance of Order Management Process in Order Fulfillment

September 15, 2021 by Rashi Sood - 5 min read

Once the customer clicks on the Buy Now button and makes a purchase, the order management process starts. At its most basic, the order management process is when the customer places an order and the staff update the inventory records accordingly.

Order Management Process

The process doesn’t look like a task when you have just started a business. You get few orders every day, and you can fulfill them quickly. But as your business grows and more and more orders pour in, it becomes tiring to manage the orders. And at the same time, keep the inventory records updated. The best way here is to take the help of an order management system.

Traditionally, order management was only a crucial step for the internal process. Today, customers are also kept in the loop. For example, many online sellers show the items remaining in stock on their product page to persuade the customers to purchase faster.

Not just this, customers too want to know everything. They want to know multiple delivery options. They want to be updated on the movement of their order and the exact delivery window. They want regular updates on their order. With demands like these, the order management process is no more transactional. It is seen as a value-added process for a business. It can make a huge difference in the over customer experience.

What is Order Management Process?

Order management is the process of receiving an order and tracking and fulfilling it. The process begins when you receive an order and ends when the customer receives his package.

When you scale your business, it is crucial that you automate the process to streamline it with the help of an order management system. It helps you keep a tab on all the orders and manage them in one place. You can use the system to automate and streamline the entire process of the retail supply chain. This means you can track the entire order journey – from receiving an order to delivering it.

In short, an order management system helps organize and automate everything to provide a pleasant experience to the customer and help your business grow.

Steps in order Management Process Flow

The following are the three crucial steps in the order management process:

Order Placement

The first step is when the customers place an order using your website or other sales channel. Here, the customer goes through the catalog, chooses the product, and pays for it. During this process, the customers might also need your help – they might have some concerns or questions.

Once the order is placed and the payment is made, it is updated in the system. Ensure that the payment gateways are trustworthy and that your customer’s data is not compromised. Customers’ experience with you very much depends on this.

It is also equally crucial to update the fulfilled orders quickly to avoid all possible errors.

Customers who order multiple items or orders with considerable value deserve special treatment. So, highlight this to the warehouse to ensure these orders are fulfilled on priority. You can also offer special discounts or offers for a pleasant customer experience.

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Inventory Management

Inventory management steps should be completely automated. When the customer places an order, the inventory should be updated automatically when the order is processed. For instance, you have 100 shoes in stock, and you receive an order for two pairs. The inventory left after the order is 98, and it must be updated automatically in the system. It helps in knowing and planning when you must re-stock the inventory.

In the inventory management system, the following are included:

  • SKU number
  • Product name
  • Description including size and dimensions
  • Weight
  • Price

Upon failing to update the inventory on time, your orders can be delayed, and you can lose some customers. Assigning SKU numbers and barcodes helps in automating the process and easy tracking. Giving SKU to the product helps assign an identifier to the product, making it easy to find and track them.

Order Fulfillment

Order fulfillment is the last step of the order management process flow. Here, the order is placed, inventory is adjusted, and the order is now being processed.

Now, the order goes to the warehousing unit, and the experts process it further. Typically, they perform the following steps:

  1. Once the order is received, the warehouse employee locates the SKU in the warehouse and picks it.
  2. After picking, he packs the order and attaches all relevant bills and shipping labels.
  3. The courier agent next picks the order from the warehouse.
  4. Finally, the order is shipped and delivered to the customer.
  5. In the case of return, the customer raises the return request, and the seller raises the RTO request with the courier company.
  6. The courier agent picks it up from the customer and delivers it back to the warehouse.
  7. Finally, the returned order is updated in the inventory as well.

The entire order fulfillment process can be sped up by using an order management process, preferably the one that integrates with your sales channel as well.

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September 15, 2021 by Rashi Sood

5 min read

A Closer Look at Perpetual Inventory System

September 15, 2021 by Srishti Arora - 5 min read

For any system to run appropriately, it is essential to have a process in place. If there is no systematic order, there are chances that there will be misses and delays. Since inventory management is a critical aspect of your e-commerce fulfillment supply chain, an inventory management system drives the whole process smoothly.

There are several types of inventory management systems that you can adopt if you want to manage your inventory efficiently. The perpetual inventory management system is one such process that can help you streamline your operations and also reduce costs.

Let’s look at the perpetual inventory management system and how it can benefit your e-commerce business concerning the fulfillment supply chain. 

What is the Perpetual Inventory System?

The perpetual inventory system is an organized order where the data is recorded in real-time when stock is sold or received. This automates the process to a large extent, and it is an efficient way to record any changes in the inventory during a transaction. 

For example, suppose you have 1000 units of product A, and in a minute, you receive 200 orders of the same product. In that case, the perpetual inventory system will enable your entire process to reduce the number of stocks that have been ordered from your master inventory. 

This is also highly beneficial if you have decentralized your inventory and stored it in different locations. 

How Does Perpetual Inventory System Work?

Inventory Level Update via POS

The first step in a perpetual inventory system is the point of a sale system update. Sure, the inventory management system mediately applies the transaction to the main inventory across all channels whenever a product is sold. It is made possible with the help of barcodes and RFID scanners. 

Cost of Goods Updated

The next step is calculating the cost of goods sold. Via the perpetual inventory management system, this value gets recalculated and is updated across channels for a systematic inventory valuation. 

Reorder Points Adjusted

Based on the previous data, up the perpetual inventory system automatically update the reorder points based on the increase or decrease in sales so that you have an optimum inventory level at all times. 

Purchase Order Generated

With an automated perpetual inventory system, if the item or SKU has hit the reorder point, the system generates a new purchase order and sends it to the supplier.

Received Products Added to Inventory

The products are received and added to the inventory based on the purchase order generated after the warehouse employees check. 

Benefits of Perpetual Inventory System

Real-Time Data Recording

When data is recorded in real-time and updated across channels, it avoids confusion to a great extent, and decisions can be made faster. It educates the seller about the current situation and helps them make informed choices. It also reduces delays as all the information is available directly in hand, and there is no dependency. 

Detailed Records

The perpetual inventory system collects all information at a minute level across your e-commerce supply chain. This data gives you more insights about roadblocks and any bottlenecks in the procedures that can also help you audit the whole process better and make changes wherever necessary. 

Reduction in Inventory Management Costs

The holding costs and replenishment spends are reduced as you get real-time updates, not left to the last minute. As the entire process is more planned and organized, it saves on labor costs and avoids errors. 

Accurate Demand Forecasting

With real-time data, demand forecasting is more accurate and realistic. As the trends change by the minute, real-time data can help you analyze information much more straightforwardly and make more insightful decisions for your business

How to Optimize Overall Inventory Management With 3PL Fulfillment Providers?

Even though a picture inventory system may sound like a solution to most of your inventory management problems, it can still be a little costly to set up. I’m not just that. It will also require constant maintenance to ensure that the product is up to date and does not hinder the e-commerce supply chain. Hence, it is an intelligent decision to outsource your inventory management with 3PL fulfillment providers. As fulfillment providers have a robust warehouse infrastructure and a text tag dedicated to only managing your incoming orders, they have the necessary process in place.

Shiprocket Fulfillment is a 3PL fulfillment provider that can help you reduce inventory management costs and deliver products 3X faster. We have fulfillment centers across eight prime locations in the country, and more will be added soon. These enable Shiprocket fulfillment to provide you with an end-to-end fulfillment solution that allows order management, inventory management, order processing, and shipping. 

Not just that, by outsourcing operations, you can also focus on other aspects of your business like marketing, innovation, research, etc. 

Final Thoughts

The perpetual inventory management system is truly a blessing for the e-commerce fulfillment supply chain. It can be beneficial to streamline the process, reduce cost, and improve the inventory management system. The periodic inventory system took into the picture a lot of manual labor that would lead to errors and delay the process by manifold. With real-time data collection and a perpetual inventory system, you can reduce processing time and improve your business’s order to ship time. 

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September 15, 2021 by Srishti Arora

6 min read

Understanding Order Management for eCommerce Businesses

September 16, 2021 by Srishti Arora - 6 min read

When it comes to eCommerce, your order processing indeed decides the fate of your delivery. If the order processing takes a long, the delivery will be delayed, and the overall experience will be unsatisfactory. However, if the order management and order processing is organized and done on time, it can significantly reduce the shipping time and improve the delivery experience by many folds.

Order management may seem like a small aspect of the entire supply chain, but it plays a critical role. If there is no check in the incoming orders, it can lead to a missed processing and eventual cancellation of the order. Thus, order management is the joining link between inventory management and shipping, and it must be taken seriously if you want to achieve 100% order accuracy. 

Let’s dive deeper and look at what order management is and how it can be transformational for your e-commerce business. 

What is Order Management?

Order management refers to the process of receiving, tracking and fulfilling all incoming orders.

Order management starts when you receive an order and includes all the processes till the product is finally delivered.

It is essential to automate this process not to be confused or overwhelmed by the number of orders coming in.

What is an Order Management System?

An auto management system is one view where you can manage all your orders. It is like a software design to sync up with the inventory and warehouse management systems to pass the correct information to your website and customers. 

It helps you stay on track with the order processing and enables you to track the incoming orders.

For example, if you start your business and receive only ten orders a day, it might not be essential to have an order management system in place to track these orders. However, when you expand your business and start receiving up to 500 orders in a day, it can get difficult to see which orders have been processed and shipped and which have not. Therefore, an order management system will update this information and give it to you in a single view so that you do not have to scout all boxes and inventory to check the same. 

Why is Effective Order Management Essential?

Effective order management can make and break your system. Let’s have a look at why it is essential for your business – 

Avoid Stockouts 

If you have effectively managed all your incoming orders, there is a lesser chance that you will face synchronized your inventory and order management systems are appropriately synchronized. The inventory will automatically get updated once you process an order and ship it. This will prompt the inventory management system to reorder stocks that are going out of an account, and you will be able to replenish stock sooner. 

Eliminate Accumulation of Dead Stock

On the contrary, if the order management system does not sync with the inventory, it can also accumulate debt stock. This means that you will never have an idea of the unutilized talk, and you might re-order it too. Stocking and getting rid of dead stock can be much more time-consuming and resource-draining for your business.

Lesser Delays

A prompt order management system can help you reduce the order to ship time by giving you the correct information at the right time. This ensures fewer delays in order processing, and order accuracy is maintained across all fronts. This also pushes you further towards a positive delivery experience for the buyer. 

Reduced Errors

With an automated system in place, you can streamline operations, reduce manual intervention and eventually reduce any errors that come in with the same. When you have several orders coming in from different channels, it can get difficult to process each one of them correctly. With an auto management system in place, you can keep track, record, and process all orders conveniently. 

Faster Fulfillment

With the help of reliable information and a faster order to ship time, an order management system can help you fulfill all incoming orders faster and save you time and energy for other operations.

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Steps Involved in Order Management and Order Processing

Order Receiving

The first step involved in order management and order processing his order receiving. In this step, all the orders placed by your customer on the website or social media channel or updated, and the order management system marks them as incoming orders. 

Picking

After an order is received, the next step is picking the order from the designated aisle and rack in the fulfillment center. This is done by picking executives with the help of HTT machines that scan barcodes and synchronize between the order management and inventory management system. 

Packaging

After picking, the order is packaged and labeled with all the necessary information. 

Shipping

After packaging, the product is shipped with the courier companies, and they pick up the order from the fulfillment center or warehouse. 

Returns

If the product is undelivered for any reason or returned by the customer, it is also part of the order management system. 

How Can You Improve Order Management With Shiprocket Fulfillment?

Shiprocket Fulfillment has eight fulfillment centers located across the country. All these fulfillment centers are equipped with the latest tech stack required for order processing.

This enables you to deliver orders 3X faster as you store them closer to your customers. You have a skilled team that processes all incoming orders for you. You can reduce the order to ship time and meet all your website and marketplace requirements without having to lift a finger. 

Shiprocket Fulfillment gives you an end-to-end solution that can help you streamline your e-commerce fulfillment operations, reduce dependency on dynamic factors, and enables you to improve your customer’s delivery experience. 

Conclusion

Order management can help you improve your e-commerce fulfillment supply chain. Make sure you optimize your order processing and auto management operations to ensure seamless fulfillment for your business. 

Shiprocket Fulfillment features
September 16, 2021 by Srishti Arora

5 min read

Role of Buffer Inventory in Effective Warehouse Management

September 16, 2021 by Srishti Arora - 5 min read

The retail and eCommerce space is highly dynamic today. Requirements are changing daily, and customer expectations are more volatile than ever. In such cases, every aspect of your business needs to be strengthened if you want to succeed. Since inventory is your biggest asset, you need to have a cushion to absorb the impact of any harm. This cushion is what is known as the buffer, and it can help you prevent shortages and delays in the overall supply chain fulfillment process. 

With the increasing demands of e-commerce in India, it is essential to have a buffer in your plan to reach out to the maximum number of people and be resourceful. Thus, let’s look at what buffer inventory is, and its role is in eCommerce inventory management and supply chain fulfillment operations. 

What is Buffer Inventory?

Buffer inventory refers to the safety stock that is a surplus of the inventory stored in a warehouse. This is used as a safety net in an emergency, delays, a supply chain failure, or an unanticipated surge in demand. 

The amount of buffer inventory stored is not a random value. It needs to be carefully estimated by keeping in mind the types of products, production date times, historical trends, etc. 

A great example of needing a buffer inventory was when everyone ordered hand sanitizers in 2020, just when COVID-19 struck. 

Those who had a safety net of their buffer inventory could deal with this surge and focus on mass production of new ones. Others left struggling and had to face the unfortunate condition of a stockout. 

Why Do You Need Buffer Inventory?

Buffer inventory acts as a safety cushion for your e-commerce fulfillment supply chain. Your entire supply chain depends on the amount of inventory that works in synchronization with the incoming orders. However, if you ever face the unfortunate condition of a stock out, you will have to bear additional costs to ensure that your stock is replenished on time. Getting higher sales than expected is good, but if you run out of inventory, it is never good for your business. Even the forecasted demand can be deceptive if you do not account for losses and emergencies. 

Moving forward, let’s have a look at some of the techniques using which you can calculate buffer inventory levels for your business. 

Tips to Calculate Buffer Inventory Levels

Safety stock calculation

The safety stock formula is excellent for determining the right amount of buffer inventory for your business. You will need to know the maximum daily usage, maximum lead time, average daily usage, average lead time for calculating this value.

The formula is as follows – 

(Maximum daily sales x Maximum lead time) – (Average daily usage x Average lead time)

Historical demand-based buffer inventory

Another technique to calculate the buffer inventory is accessing and assessing historical data by determining the inventory and order data. When you know the inventory turnover rate, SKU performance, and other insights, you will be able to make informed decisions about your safety stock. 

How Can You Simplify Inventory Management?

Not just maintaining buffer inventory, but inventory management as a whole can be challenging. It has several minor aspects that need to be catered to daily. Let’s look at how you can simplify our overall inventory management process to ensure maximum yield and results. 

Outsource to 3PL Fulfillment Providers

3PL Fulfillment providers like Shiprocket Fulfillment take care of all your eCommerce Fulfillment operations. These operations include inventory management, order management, packing, processing, and shipping. 3PL fulfillment providers have robust inventory management software that can help you significantly improve your forecasting and help improve your sales. 

Barcoded Operations

The next step for simplifying your inventory management operations is bar-coded operations. If you add a barcode to your product SKU and the storage bin, it will be easier to locate products within the warehouse, and you will be able to simplify the overall operations. This will help you improve the efficiency of the floor, and your staff will be able to follow a standard operating procedure for every order rather than randomly allocating stuff. Moreover, your inventory management software will function better with regular incoming data that is synced with the products placed on the shelves. 

Regular Inventory Valuation

Regular inventory valuation will help you stay on top of the inventory you have the amount of inventory you need. With rich insights, you will strike the perfect balance between the two and avoid situations like the accumulation of debt stock and stockout.

Use Inventory Management Software

Last but not least, it is essential to use inventory management software where you can track and manage inventory from multiple channels. If you have inventory stored in multiple warehouses, inventory management software can be a central point for accessing the data for all these warehouses. This can help you optimize costs and make better decisions when you are planning to meet incoming demand. Furthermore, you can also reduce logistics costs and ensure that you have enough safety stock whenever required. 

Conclusion

Having buffer stock is essential for your business since it can help you save on additional order fulfillment costs and give your customer a seamless regular shopping experience without facing any backorders. Like any other safety net, the buffer stock can be beneficial if you want to optimize your operations. 

Shiprocket Fulfillment features
September 16, 2021 by Srishti Arora

5 min read

Your Ultimate Guide To Warehouse Slotting

September 16, 2021 by Rashi Sood - 5 min read

Warehouse slotting is a process of analyzing and organizing inventory in a warehousing unit. Typically, the practice maximizes the space within the warehouse and helps in the efficient storage and picking process. Besides, it also helps in minimizing the handling and operating costs.

Warehouse Slotting

In addition to efficient space usage in a warehouse, warehouse slotting also allows fewer workers to pick orders efficiently. This ultimately leads to reduced labor count and costs associated with them.

One of the most time-consuming tasks in a warehousing unit is to pick products from different places. Essentially, this counts for around 60% of the workers’ time. Efficiently slotting the products can help reduce workers’ travel time, making them more efficient and productive in other processes as well.

What is Warehouse Slotting?

Warehouse slotting is the process of organizing inventory and space for optimal product picking. It involves analyzing the available storage space and the items that require slotting. The first step is the have a slotting strategy for optimal placement of products. Various strategies can be adopted for this.

Importance of Slotting in Warehouse

The process starts with evaluating the current space in the warehouse and analyzing if any improvements are required in the current slotting process. A simple improvement or optimization can lead to some major benefits:

  • Optimizing and freeing up some space can be used for storing more inventory
    .
  • It ensures that the inventory is spread throughout the warehousing unit.
  • Optimized warehousing space improves inventory visibility, which ultimately leads to improved productivity in workers.
  • Reduced costs associated with product handling.
  • Decreased human error and improved accuracy in the picking process.
  • Balanced workflow and enhanced worker ergonomics.

Warehouse Slotting Strategies

Warehouse Slotting

Warehousing slotting plays a crucial role in the organization’s profitability. The most suitable slotting strategy depends on the number of products, their types or variables, and whether they are sold individually or in a group. Let us take a look at warehousing slotting approaches that you can use to optimize space in the unit and speed up the picking process:

Assess Storage Space

This is a crucial practice to optimize the warehousing space and utilizing it most appropriately. Take a look at the storage plan you are using and decide if it makes it easy to pick products quickly. Evaluating the storage space and planning to maximize the space for utmost utilization will ensure efficiency and ensure that the inventory is always stored in the correct numbers, neither overstocked nor understocked.

Sales Volume

Slotting by sales volume is the most common strategy widely used by most warehousing units. The products with the highest sales and turnover are placed closest to the packing station. This reduces the travel time of the workers as they can pull the orders and take them to packing stations faster. The products with the least sales are placed in the least accessible zones. This is utilizing the space in the warehouse as per the products’ sales volume.

However, this strategy has one disadvantage. Having too many workers in one area of the warehouse can lead to a bottleneck. A zone or hybrid approach will be better in this environment to improve efficiency.

Clean & Organized Warehouse

While placing the inventory in the slot, removing the unused packing material is crucial as it might also take up some space. If the warehouse space is well organized and slots are clean, the empty space is easily visible, and more products can be placed in the same area or zone. By keeping the warehouse clean and organized, the storage space will be increased, and it will be much easier to operate.

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Seasonal Changes

Moving items from one warehouse to another is a time-consuming activity. However, this activity is beneficial during seasonal changes, especially if there is a major change in your seasonal sales volume every season. Suppose you sell air conditioners and heaters. Air conditioners’ sales is most likely to go up in summers and heaters’ sales in winters. Thus, warehousing slotting can be done as per seasonal changes in this scenario.

Slotting as per Inventory Characteristics

When you assign slots to the inventory, ensure that you consider the inventory characteristics, like size, weight, dimensions, durability, etc. For example, if the inventory is heavyweight, you should store the inventory in steady enough slots to bear the products’ weight. If not, the slots might break and damage the other products in the slot. The same goes for other inventory characteristics. Also, keep the potentially hazardous items separately and away from other inventory.

Slotting as Per Inventory Priority

Keeping in mind the priority of inventory while slotting them is essential. Items that are picked up frequently should be kept in easy-to-access locations. So, the workers can pick orders quickly and send them to the packing station. You might also have allotted a different or secluded slot for a certain item; you can ensure it is placed near the packing station if it is frequently picked or shipped.

You can arrange slots based on a number of criteria. Like you set the priority of the slots based on the alphabetical order. You can also set a separate slot for priority products. One great idea is to slot the frequently shipped products in the center of the warehousing unit. But whatever criteria you use, the bottom line is that it should enhance the efficiency and productivity of the workers.

The items should always be easily accessible and reachable by the workers. Also, if there is a need for any equipment, it should be easily accessible by the workers. For example, lifting carts or ladders should be available if a product is placed in a higher space.

Shiprocket Fulfillment features
September 16, 2021 by Rashi Sood

7 min read

How Can You Reduce Logistics Costs With 3PL Fulfillment?

September 16, 2021 by Srishti Arora - 7 min read

eCommerce logistics can be a tough nut to crack if you don’t work on every aspect of the process thoroughly. Your business will take a massive hit if you only focus on marketing budgets but keep shipping costs out of the picture. Even though shipping costs seem like a static figure that doesn’t change frequently, they are pretty dynamic. They vary with the shipping mode, the weight of the package, pickup, delivery pin codes, etc. Hence, you must be on top of your fulfillment operations to ensure that you can save on shipping costs wherever possible, or eCommerce will become an expensive affair for your business. 

Let’s look at logistics costs and how you can reduce them for your business with 3PL fulfillment. 

What is Logistics Cost?

Logistics cost refers to the amount of money it takes to move a product end-to-end from the seller’s location to the customer’s doorstep. 

Shipping expenses offered by the courier companies are usually inclusive of the storage and movement charges as they utilize hubs and similar facilities for storing and processing shipments. 

Impact of Logistics Cost in your eCommerce Budget

Logistics cost plays a significant role in your overall eCommerce budget. Since shipping costs are dynamic, you must take an average of the shipping cost based on the different shipping zones. For example, the rates will differ if you ship within a city, and if you ship to metro cities, the rates will vary. Therefore, every shipment will give you a different cost. Moreover, if you pack your product incorrectly, you can incur a greater charge due to the increased volumetric weight. 

Since the costs are so volatile, they have a massive chance of increasing your overall budget. Along with inventory management, storage, and order processing that have stationary costs that you can forecast, shipping costs need to be calculated cautiously. Even though it may seem impossible, there are several ways to reduce logistics costs. You just need to be smart about it and plan your shipments. 

How Can You Reduce Logistics Cost?

You can reduce logistics costs by optimally packaging the product, choosing the correct shipping partner basis on their performance and rates, you can ship with a shipping aggregator that lets you ship at discounted rates, or you could directly tie-up with a 3PL fulfillment provider like Shiprocket Fulfillment that takes care of all fulfillment operations end-to-end. 

Shipping with a 3PL fulfillment provider not only helps you optimize and streamline your fulfillment operations it also gives you a chance to reduce your fulfillment and logistics costs cautiously by a considerable margin.

Let’s look at what Shiprocket Fulfillment is and how you can reduce logistics costs with us. 

What is Shiprocket Fulfillment?

Shiprocket Fulfillment is an end-to-end 3PL fulfillment service provider that takes care of Storage, order processing, and shipping for your eCommerce business. We offer you a pan India network of eCommerce fulfillment centers equipped with the latest technology and infrastructure to enable 3X faster deliveries and 99% accurate order processing. Shiprocket Fulfillment is designed to help you reduce costs and increase efficiency with a flexible fulfillment model and advanced tech stack. 

Let’s look at how you can reduce shipping and logistics costs with Shiprocket Fulfillment with the help of an elaborate example. 

Reduce Logistics Cost With Shiprocket Fulfillment

Many times claims need to be explained and proved with examples. We claim to help you reduce shipping costs by 20%; let’s see how that is possible with a basic example. 

This will give you an insight into how the process works and how your business can benefit from the cost savings. 

Suppose you are Seller A, who has their shop in Jaipur. You get plenty of orders from North India like Delhi-NCR, Punjab, Uttarakhand, etc., and you want to ensure you deliver to everyone. 

Your order split looks something like this – 

Within CityWithin StateRest of North India
Orders5%5%90%
Note: All values mentioned are hypothetical and are only used for demonstration purpose

Now let us look at this situation in two scenarios: Without Shiprocket Fulfillment and with Shiprocket Fulfillment if you ship 0.5 kg shipments with the following preferred mode of delivery – 

Preferred ModeRate
Air60%
Surface40%
Note: All values mentioned are hypothetical and are only used for demonstration purpose

Without Shiprocket Fulfillment 

Without Shiprocket Fulfillment, this is how your logistics costs will look – 

Avg. Shipping Fee (Air)₹54.10
Avg. Shipping Fee (Surface)₹40.75
Note: All values mentioned are hypothetical and are only used for demonstration purpose

With Shiprocket Fulfillment

If you send your inventory to our fulfillment center in Delhi, you will access North India much more efficiently and store inventory in a centralized location. Let’s see what the order split would look like once products are stocked in Delhi.

NCR OrdersRest of North India
From Delhi15%85%
Note: All values mentioned are hypothetical and are only used for demonstration purpose

And the average shipping costs for the products would be – 

Avg. Shipping Fee (Air)₹39.80
Avg. Shipping Fee (Surface)₹30.55
Note: All values mentioned are hypothetical and are only used for demonstration purpose

Note – From Shiprocket Fulfillment facilities, all courier rates are charged as per zonal pricing

Now, if 30% of your orders are in the 0.5 kg slab, the final amount would look something like this for every shipment – 

Avg. Shipping Fee (Own Location)₹48.76
Avg. Shipping Fee (SRF Location)₹36.10
Difference₹12.66
Note: All values mentioned are hypothetical and are only used for demonstration purpose

This amounts to an over 26% overall reduction in shipping costs. 

Therefore, it can be concluded that if you outsource eCommerce fulfillment to Shiprocket Fulfillment, you can save more than 20% on your fulfillment costs.

If you want to understand how cost-saving works with Shiprocket Fulfillment, reach out to our experts today! 

Why is Shiprocket Fulfillment Ideal for Your Business?

8 Fulfillment Centers

Currently, Shiprocket Fulfillment has eight fulfillment centers situated in strategic locations across the country. These include Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Gurugram, Surat, Guwahati, and Jaipur. Suppose you store your inventory in these fulfillment centers. In that case, you can stock inventory closer to your customer, which will help you deliver faster, reduce shipping costs as the distance decreases, and reduce the RTO of your eCommerce business. 

Advanced Warehouse Infrastructure

All the fulfillment centers are kept with the latest warehouse management systems and the technology required for seamless logistics management. This can help you with forecasting demand, managing floors, and organizing inventory systematically. 

Skilled Team

Shiprocket Fulfillment has a skilled team that is trained in all aspects of eCommerce fulfillment. The team takes care of all operations and ensures that all orders are processed correctly from start to end. Not just in the warehouse, when you sign up with Shiprocket Fulfillment, you get dedicated key account managers that take care of all your queries and provide personalized assistance as per your business requirements. 

Sync Sales Channels

You can sync your sales channels like Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra, Vinculum, EasyEcom, etc. Import all incoming orders and process them directly from Shiprocket Fulfillment’s centers. This helps you reduce the order-to-ship time, process orders faster, and meet the stringent requirements laid out by marketplaces. 

Ensure 3x Faster Delivery

If you store inventory closer to customers and have a skilled team to take care of all incoming orders, you can deliver 3x faster and offer 1-day and 2-day delivery to your customers. This gives your business an extra edge, and you can add another feather to your cap of offerings! 

Final Thoughts

Shiprocket Fulfillment can help reduce logistics costs by a considerable margin. 3PL fulfillment providers can be instrumental in successfully managing inventory, processing orders, and shipping them. Since you need to pay extra attention to logistics costs, it is advisable to outsource your operations and make the best out of the available resources. 

Shiprocket Fulfillment features
September 16, 2021 by Srishti Arora

6 min read

Understanding Pick and Pack for Efficient Fulfillment Process

September 16, 2021 by Rashi Sood - 6 min read

Successful order fulfillment is not just about neatly stacked products and on-time delivery of the orders. The pick and pack methods also play a crucial role. Inventory management and the right pick and pack method help in shipping the orders accurately at the maximum speed.

pick and pack

The fundamental functions of warehousing involve receiving, storing, picking, packing, and shipping the orders. However, pick and pack are the fundamental concepts that form the foundation of the entire process.

In this blog, we shall discuss what pick and pack are. We will also talk about the pick and pack methods.

The Basics of Pick and Pack

Take a look at the definitions of pick and pack in the supply chain to get a deeper understanding of the terms:

Pick

The picking function begins after the buyer places an order. It involves the process of locating the items in the warehouse and picking their right quantities from each respective location in the warehouse.

Pack

Packing is the process of adequately packaging the ordered items/products along with bills or other documents. For example, putting a product in the bag first, then in a box, and finally, attaching a label to it.

A label carries crucial information like shipper name and address, customer name, address, and contact number, purchase order number, SKU number, tracking details, bar codes, etc. Once the product is packed and labeled, it is ready to ship.

Pick and Pack Methods

When you pick and pack your products, you use methods that you use in your life. You might use the ways to organize inventory the way you organize clothes in your closet. Put all shirts together and pants together. Or you can also put products that go together to make it easy to pack them. And that’s it! Gather the items when you receive an order and pack them to process the order further.

This way may work for you if your business is in its initial stage or smaller in size. But, as it will grow, you will require new and professional strategies. Adopting better pick and pack strategies can help reduce mistakes and returns and save money. Besides, with efficient operations, the customers will also be happier.

However, the pick and pack strategy that will work better for your business will depend on the products you sell and your business size. Also, you can change or adopt new strategies as your business will grow. Here are some strategies that you can employ:

Piece Picking

A piece picking is a simple method where you take the packing slip and process a single order. You locate the product in the warehouse and pick it off the shelf for further processing. Once you have everything, you take the product to the packing station for its packaging. This method is ideal if the business is smaller in size and/or you receive only a few orders daily. In this case, it is the easiest and most effective method.

SR Fullfilment

Batch Picking

As the name suggests, batch picking is used when you have to organize orders into batches. A batch is allocated for items that are in the same area of the fulfillment center. The main goal of batch picking is to pick orders efficiently – pick all the SKUs together and in one go that are placed together. If one SKU is required for different orders, it only makes sense to gather them together rather than repeatedly going for each product. This will make the process efficient, faster, and save time.

This method can be used for smaller businesses, considering your pick and pack all orders at one time of the day. However, this method is only efficient if you don’t pick and pack an order each time you receive an order. You can also take the help of software to help you with the efficient batch picking process.

Zone Picking

Zone picking is the technique used by most of the larger warehouses. Each zone is assigned a picker, and they pick the products when you receive an order from their zone. Then they pass the product to the picker in the next zone – this way, the product moves through all the zones to finally reach the packing station. This method employs coordination and requires skilled and experts to handle the process. Or you can also have warehouse management software to help you manage the picking process.

Wave Picking

This method is a combination of batch picking and zone picking. Pickers pick the products in batches and pass them from one zone to another until they reach the packing station.

Best Practices for Order Picking

There are a few best practices for order picking to improve your overall warehousing operations.

  • When you organize the SKUs in the warehouse, focus on the facility flow. The flow should be from receiving SKUs for storage to order picking and from sorting them to packing for shipping. Each area should be in logical order – next to each other to eliminate double back.
  • No matter where you have stored your products – on shelves or racks, ensure that you have divided with totes or dividers. It will help in finding them faster. This is ideal for sorting and storing bulk SKUs that are smaller in size.
  • Another best practice is to place SKUs in zones next to each other that generally go together. For example, you can place shampoos and conditioners closer. This will save time make the picking process efficient.

Best Practices for Order Packing

Several things require consideration when you pack the products:

  • You can re-scan the products before packing them to ensure that you put the right product against each packing slip.
  • Don’t do the guesswork in choosing the right size of the packaging. Have pre-decided boxes for each product, or you can simply use some software to calculate the right size of the box required for packaging.
  • Don’t forget to use packaging inserts while packing the products, specifically if the products are fragile.
  • Ensure that the right label with correct information is placed on each product.

It is crucial to have a proper pick and pack process to ensure that you have an efficient fulfillment process in place. You can use the strategies discussed above or also use technology to make the process easier and efficient.

Shiprocket Fulfillment features
September 16, 2021 by Rashi Sood

6 min read

eCommerce Fulfillment Challenges and How to Overcome Them with Shiprocket Fulfillment

September 16, 2021 by Srishti Arora - 6 min read

The eCommerce space in India is evolving, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a report by IBEF, India’s eCommerce order volume increased by thirty-six percent in the last quarter of 2020. Despite the decreased spending, economic slowdown, and uncertainty owing to the lockdowns, eCommerce is doing exceedingly well in the early stages of 2021. 

Ever since the pandemic has struck and most retail is happening online, customer expectations have drastically changed, and there is immense pressure on online deliveries to mimic real-time shopping. With the increasing demand for quick delivery and fast TAT, businesses have no choice but to adapt to the changing times.

This is also given way too many modern eCommerce fulfillment challenges that are relatively new for direct-to-consumer businesses. To ensure that you do not feel stranded when you face these challenges, here are a few modern-day eCommerce fulfillment challenges and how you can overcome them with a 3PL fulfillment solution, Shiprocket Fulfillment. Let’s get started. 

Common eCommerce Fulfillment Challenges and Their Solutions

Uneven Order Flow

Challenges

The first challenge of today’s eCommerce fulfillment is uneven order flow and the seasonality of incoming orders. Severe fluctuations are indispensable in any business. Your business may see a rise or decline in orders on the basis of the season, festival, requirement, or even a comment made by a celebrity. However, if you don’t forecast your sales in advance, you can face customer grievances if there are delays, stockouts which can eventually lead to a lower NPA score and a high number of RTO orders. 

Solution 

And an excellent solution to this challenge is having a cross-trained workforce that can process large numbers of orders in a short period, inventory forecasting solutions, and complementing seasonal products in a multi-client facility so that you do not end up spending a fortune on storage and maintenance. 

Inventory Distribution

Challenge

Inventory distribution can be a significant challenge for your business. It can lead to an increase in the turnaround time which can eventually lead to a higher number of RTO orders. Moreover, if you do not forecast your demand and stock a significant amount of inventory, it can lead to dead stock, or if there is less inventory, it can lead to a store out.

Solution

An excellent solution to this challenge is the balancing of stock and distributing it in multiple warehouses so that you can process it conveniently. Along with that, you can have predictive analysis at an SKU-zone level so that you can forecast demand accurately and stock the correct amount of inventory with you. 

High Order Accuracy

Challenge

Maintaining a high order accuracy has become a challenge as you are receiving orders from every channel today. If you send out incorrect orders, it can lead to a decrease in repeat purchases, a lower customer lifetime value, and social media escalations, and brand dilutions. 

Solution

You can opt for bar-coded operations and an automated workflow to avoid manual touchpoints that can lead to errors. By rigorously training your employees, and monitoring the operations frequently you can eliminate the risk for incorrect order processing. 

On-Time Shipping

Challenge

The next challenge is on-time dispatches from the warehouse. If you do not dispatch your order on time, it can have a heavy impact on the delivery turnaround time, increase your chances of RTO, and reduce the overall customer experience quality. 

Solution

An optimal solution for this challenge is by having a high inventory accuracy rate and planning or inventory capacity with a buffer capacity. Along with this, you can install a high level of automation in the house to reduce your order to ship time so that you can progress towards delivery sooner. 

Weight Dispute Management

Challenge

When you process orders yourself, an impending challenge is the weight disputes that are put across by courier partners. This can be a very time-consuming activity as you need to upload proofs, negotiate with them, and go through a lot of to and fro. Along with that, it can also lead to an increase in cost if your claim is proved incorrect. 

Solution

A good idea is to have an automated wait, volume, and image capturing machine that helps you record all data at once. Packaging your product correctly and measuring the weight appropriately can help you reduce these weight disputes. 

SR Fullfilment

Overcome eCommerce Fulfillment Challenges with Shiprocket Fulfillment

Shiprocket Fulfillment is a 3PL fulfillment provider that can help you process your incoming eCommerce orders with ease. We have multiple fulfillment centers located at key locations across the country. These fulfillment centers are equipped with the latest technologies that can help reduce order processing time and increase efficiency. Let’s have a look at how Shiprocket Fulfillment is a good choice for your business. 

Multiple Fulfillment Centers

Shiprocket Fulfillment warehouses and fulfillment centers are located in eight regions across the country that include metro cities like Bengaluru, Delhi, Gurugram, Kolkata, Mumbai, and major cities like Gauhati, Jaipur, and Surat. You can store your inventory in these fulfillment centers and we will process all your incoming orders.

1-Day and 2-Day Delivery

by storing inventory closer to customers in fulfillment centers located across India, you can also provide one-day and two-day delivery to your customers. This can help you provide express delivery and increase customer experience by many folds. 

Advanced Warehouse Technology

Shiprocket Fulfillment centers have the latest warehouse management systems, auto management systems, and logistics tech to reduce any attrition in order processing. 

Reduce Weight Disputes

All fulfillment centers have automated falcon machines installed that can record the dimensions, weight, and images of the product. With this proof at hand and a skilled team to package your products in a uniform manner, you can reduce weight disputes and resolve challenges quicker.  

Decreased RTO

By storing inventory closer to customers and providing a faster delivery experience, you can eliminate a major amount of your RTO orders. This can also lead to an increase in repeat purchases from your stores. 

Skilled Team

Shiprocket Fulfillment has a skilled team that is rigorously trained to fulfill all operations at hand. The team is cross-trained so that even when there is lesser manpower they can process orders with equal efficiency. 

Conclusion

eCommerce fulfillment challenges are also taking a new shape with changing customer demands. It is important that you overcome these challenges efficiently and mold your business to the correct expectations so that you can deliver quality on time. Trust fulfillment experts like Shiprocket Fulfillment ensure that you can maximize your operations and deliver the Best to your customer. 

Shiprocket Fulfillment features
September 16, 2021 by Srishti Arora