5 min read

Types of Supply Chain Forecasting Methods

October 14, 2021 by Srishti Arora - 5 min read

When you run a business as dynamic as eCommerce, you are always keen to know what will happen next. Will there be a surge in order, or will there be a drop? Nobody knows. We hope there was some sort of ability to predict future outcomes of our decisions, but that is highly unlikely. 

Supply Chain Forecasting

However, a supply chain cannot work without any analysis of possible future events. You need to predict something as there are so many moving parts, and if you don’t, there can be a breakdown somewhere, leading to losses. 

Let’s look at how you can forecast demand appropriately to understand which method works best for you. Depending on the size of your business, type of products, and customer demand, you can forecast the market and plan your business accordingly to be prepared for any faulty situation. 

Let’s look at what supply chain forecasting is and how you can do it effectively for your business with the different forecasting methods. 

What is Supply Chain Forecasting?

Supply chain forecasting refers to the process of predicting the outcomes on all aspects of the supply chain based on data and research so that the entire supply chain functions smoothly. 

In standard terms, supply chain forecasting is often used interchangeably with demand forecasting and sales projections. But, it can also be used to talk about the production lead time, pricing, labor needs, etc.

Significance of Supply Chain Forecasting

Supply chain forecasting becomes an integral part of your business because it is challenging to run a smooth eCommerce supply chain without predicting the demand, trends, and product availability. 

It is essential to make insightful decisions about your business to have room for innovation, growth, and sustainable choices. 

Let’s have a look at the different quantitative and qualitative forecasting methods for e-commerce supply chain forecasting. 

Quantitative Forecasting Methods

Supply Chain Forecasting

Quantitative forecasting methods make use of historical data, series, and correlation information to withdraw data-driven insights. 

Here are a few quantitative forecasting methods –

Exponential Smoothing

exponential smoothing uses weighted averages to assume that the past data like sales trends and other events will be the same in the future.

Exponential smoothing makes it easier to derive data-driven predictions without analyzing multiple data sets.

Adaptive Smoothing 

Adaptive smoothing uses different variables to drive a prediction. It takes into account more significant changes from period to period and identifies specific patterns. 

But after smoothing requires automation tools that can record, collect, and collate data in real-time. It is helpful for businesses that have an extensive product catalog and need more accurate predictions. 

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Moving Average

The moving average is one of the easiest methods for supply chain forecasting. It takes into account data points by creating an average series of subjects of complete data. 

This average is used to predict the upcoming period, which is then re-calculated every month, quarter, or year. 

Regression Analysis

Regression analysis takes into account a relationship between two or more specific variables. When there are variations in the conduction of regression analysis, the influence of one or more independent variables is examined on a dependent variable. 

Regression analysis is used to meet determination for seasonality, etc. It is a fast and easy way to get predictions. 

Life Cycle Modeling

Play sexy modeling analyses the growth and development of a new product. It utilizes data from market groups such as creators, adopters, and the majority to determine a specific product’s future performance and demand. 

This is used by brands to determine how to distribute and market products in the long run. 

Qualitative Forecasting Methods

Supply Chain Forecasting

Qualitative forecasting refers to forecasting demand, etc. When there is a lack of data. Businesses use a combination of qualitative and quantitative forecasting to derive more accurate predictions for their companies. Let’s have a look at a few qualitative forecasting methods for your business – 

Market Research

For e-commerce, market research is used to predict supply and demand. It is also helpful for determining if there is a strong demand for a product and if that will support profit goals.

The market research can be done internally by marketing or sales experts or by a third-party company specializing in market research.

Delphi Method

The Delphi method takes into account the market orientation and judgments of a small group of experts. This information is then grouped and analyzed by third-party experts. 

The opinion of each expert is gathered individually so that there is no influence.

Historical analysis

Historical analysis refers to the sales history of any product directly related to the current product and is used to predict sales. 

Historical data can also be used by looking at your competition’s high-selling products and looking at similarities to determine demand. 

Final Thoughts

Both quantitative and qualitative forms of supply chain forecasting are essential for your business. Make sure you take into account both these methods when making a business decision. A thorough supply chain forecasting will help you make more insightful decisions about your business so you can grow without any frequent roadblocks.

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October 14, 2021 by Srishti Arora

5 min read

Things to Keep in Mind When Outsourcing Order Fulfillment Operations

October 12, 2021 by Srishti Arora - 5 min read

According to a report by IBEF, India’s e-commerce orders volume increased by 36% in the last quarter of 2020. This means that more and more people are moving to e-commerce for their daily shopping needs. Earlier, e-commerce was an option, but now it has become a necessity. In such scenarios, the competition for online selling has also increased. Now the number of online sellers is more significant than ever, and they’re sitting on platforms like websites, marketplaces, and social media. How can you stand out from the competition?

With exceptional fulfillment.

Outsourcing

Everybody can present a beautiful front on the website with great images, descriptions, excellent prices, etc. But, most e-commerce companies fail when it comes to delivering orders on time with high percentage accuracy. Fulfilling a large number of incoming orders yourself can be a difficult task. Sometimes, it is wise to outsource operations and focus on the core aspects of your business so that you can let go of the monotonous and time-consuming tasks.

This is where 3PL fulfillment providers come into the picture. Let’s look at what 3PL fulfillment providers are and what you should keep in mind when partnering with them. 

What Does Outsourcing Order Fulfillment Mean?

Outsourcing order fulfillment operations means that you give the task of fulfilling each order to a third-party organization. They take care of all operations for your business and ship the charges to your customer too. 

What Services Do 3PL Fulfillment Providers Provide?

3PL fulfillment providers take care of the following functions for your business – 

  • Warehousing – 3L fulfillment providers store your inventory in their warehouses and fulfillment centers 
  • Inventory management – When you outsource fulfillment operations, 3PL providers also manage inventory by stocking it, predicting demand, etc. 
  • Picking – when you receive an e-commerce order, 3PL fulfillment providers pick orders from the relevant location and process them.
  • Packing – packaging operations are also carried out by 3PL fulfillment providers, and they provide you with their packaging material, or you can ship your packaging material to them.
  • Shipping – fulfillment providers also ship your orders to your customers with their shipping network.
  • Returns processing – Last but not least, customer returns are also processed by the 3PL fulfillment provider. 

Things to Keep in Mind When Outsourcing Fulfillment Operations

Outsourcing

Even though outsourcing fulfillment operations is a lucrative option for your business, it can be challenging to choose a fulfillment provider that gives you all the benefits. Ensure you keep these things in mind so that you do not partner with an inefficient 3PL fulfillment provider

Look for Inventory Distribution

The first thing to keep in mind when outsourcing fulfillment operations is to look if they provide inventory distribution. This means that they should have fulfillment centers or warehouses located in different locations so that you can stock products separately and distribute your inventory evenly. 

Inventory distribution will help you ship faster as you can stock products closer to your customers. Also, you can avoid unfortunate situations of stock out as you will have a minimum store present in every warehouse.

Check the Tech Stack

The second thing to keep in mind is always to check the technology stack your fulfillment center offers. If they do not have a robust warehouse and inventory management system, their operations will be slow, and the data they provide you will not be accurate or updated in real-time. Checking the tech stack will enable you to stay on track with a coin trend, and you will be able to process orders like your contemporaries.

Packaging Solutions

The 3PL fulfillment provider to whom you outsource fulfillment operations should also provide you with packaging solutions. If you have any personalized packaging that you send to your buyers, you should make sure that they have facilities to accommodate that. The product must be adequately packaged so that the overall package weight is not high. 

Manpower Allocation

The workforce is the primary driver of the entire fulfillment center. Therefore, you must check the workforce allocation and ensure that they have cross-trained staffing staff who can carry out your business on a daily basis. Even in the case of a shortage of workforce, across trained crew can help run the business and fulfill incoming orders. 

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Shipping Network

The company’s shipping network or outsourced or should be strong enough not to fulfill orders of all the pin codes. If the shipping network is not vast, the fulfillment operations will not be as helpful as you will have nobody to deliver to. 

Returns Management

Returns management processes should be in order so that all the incoming return orders are collected and processed back into the inventory as soon as possible. All the data is recorded in real-time. 

Shiprocket Fulfillment – One Solution for End-to-End Fulfillment 

Shiprocket Fulfillment is one such end-to-end 3PL fulfillment provider that can help you outsource your fulfillment operations easily. We have fulfillment centers located in eight primary locations in India, and we are expanding gradually. You can store your inventory in our fulfillment centers, and our skilled team will process them for you. Along with this, you can also synchronize your website and market places, so we can directly process all incoming orders from the warehouse and improve the order-to-ship time and order accuracy for your business. 

Along with that, Shiprocket five payment also manages the returns for your business. It ensures that your RTO orders are decreased by 60% with 3x faster delivery, 99.9% order accuracy, and reduced shipping costs. 

Final Thoughts

Outsourcing order fulfillment operations can be a boon for your business if you do it with thorough research and planning. If it is not done correctly, it can cause a lot of damage to your business as you will be managing two agencies at once. Therefore, keep these in mind when looking for a 3PL fulfillment provider and outsourcing your fulfillment operations.

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October 12, 2021 by Srishti Arora

5 min read

How Can You Provide Free Shipping With 3PL Fulfillment Providers?

October 8, 2021 by Srishti Arora - 5 min read

The e-commerce dynamics have changed drastically in the past two years. Customers have started expecting much more from e-commerce than they did before. As the competition in the e-commerce market is growing, many players are ready to bleed out the money in their initial years. Therefore, incentives like free shipping, faster delivery, etc., have become a common phenomenon. 

free shipping

If you are a new e-commerce seller and want to understand how to provide free shipping without bearing many losses, you’ve landed at the right place. 3PL fulfillment providers are one such solution providers that can help you provide free shipping without burning a hole in your budget. Even though there are different ways of giving free shipping, 3PL fulfillment providers often become the most useful. Let’s see how. 

Why is Free Shipping Important Today?

With the e-commerce landscape increasing in the country, free shipping is a significant incentive that people look at for shopping online. Especially with the advent of marketplaces where shipping is mostly free or subscription-based, users tend to let go of the fact that shipping costs a lot to the seller. Also, to build a solid customer base in the initial years of their inception, many brands are willing to bear the extra brunt of free shipping and want to give their customers a delightful experience. Therefore, to maintain a mark in the industry and become a favorite among your customers, it is essential to provide free shipping so that customers don’t feel cheated when they checkout.

The Various Techniques to Provide Free Shipping

Include it in the Product Price

The first technique to provide free shipping is to include the shipping cost in the product price. However, the shipping cost needs to be constant. Since the shipping cost is majorly dynamic depending upon the pin codes and weight of the product, you cannot have a specific price. Therefore, this might not always be profitable for you. Also, a significant drawback is that it spikes the product price rapidly. 

Offer Bundles

The following technique is to offer bundles. When you offer bundles, you are shipping 2 to 3 products at the price of one. So you save on shipping costs drastically. However, you cannot always send in bundles as that is not always profitable for your business as you have to show some sort of savings on bundles. 

Minimum Spend Threshold

The minimum spend threshold is decided by taking an average of the cost of all the SKUs. Some products may see a loss while others may profit, so it balances the shipping costs. 

Now let’s see how 3PL fulfillment providers can help provide free shipping without losing a lot of money

Role of 3PL Fulfillment Providers in Providing Free Shipping

free shipping

3PL fulfillment providers can help provide free shipping by storing products closer to customers and shipping at lower shipping costs with a strong shipping network. Shiprocket Fulfillment is one such fulfillment provider that can help you. We have eight fulfillment centers located across the country at prime locations. Let’s how these can be useful in providing free shipping.

Store Inventory Closer to Customers

With Shiprocket Fulfillment, You can store inventory closer to customers. This enables you to ship for shorter distances, and you can deliver much faster and save on shipping costs. For example, if you receive a significant number of orders from Bengaluru, and you store products in our Bengaluru five payment center, you can deliver 3X faster. 

Low Shipping Costs

But storing inventory closer to customers, you can also reduce shipping costs drastically. Intercity shipping will cost more as compared to intracity shipping. Therefore, it is a good idea to store your inventory much closer to your customers. Since the shipping costs are low and distance less, free shipping would not be as harmful to your business if you shift from a different state or city. 

Faster Shipping

You can also ship fast to your customers and provide a greater incentive, not just low shipping costs. As a shipping network is strong and experienced, you do not have to pay a large sum for faster shipping, and providing free shipping will not be as costly for your business. 

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Lower RTO by 60%

Also, when you deliver faster, you can reduce RTO for your business as customers will receive the order on time, and you will be able to provide more orders in less time. 

No Capital Investment

And lastly, you will not have to invest anything extra in maintaining your warehouse or stocking inventory, etc. Therefore, you can also save additional expenditure here and make your business profitable by providing free shipping. 

Final Thoughts

E-commerce shipping is as integral for your business as any other aspect. Providing free shipping today is a major center for people as they do not want to pay anything additional other than the product they purchase. Therefore, partner with a 3PL fulfillment provider to provide incentives like free shipping and 1-day & 2-day delivery to your customers.

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October 8, 2021 by Srishti Arora

6 min read

The Complete Guide to Shipping & Handling for eCommerce in India

September 25, 2021 by Srishti Arora - 6 min read

Shipping and handling are probably one of the most integral aspects of any e-commerce fulfillment supply chain. Several touchpoints are essential to make the shipping and handling process a smooth ride. With the speed at which e-commerce and online shopping are growing in India, it is crucial to understand the need for a simplified fulfillment chain to ensure a delightful delivery experience for your customers.

You need to optimize every step of the operation so that you can make the most out of every action and deliver the best results to your customer in record time. Let’s look at what shipping and handling are and the role they play in your e-commerce fulfillment supply chain. Furthermore, let’s discuss what you need to keep in mind for planning a shipping and handling strategy and how you can successfully outsource shipping and handling operations to increase revenue and boost sales.

What are Shipping and Handling?

Shipping

Shipping refers to the process of delivering the product from the shipping carrier to the consumer’s address. The fees include two surcharges, fuel charges, and all that, middle, and last-mile operations. 

Handling

Handling refers to the operations before the shipping, including picking, inventory management, packaging, shipping label generation, etc. Handling costs include the labor charge, packaging material cost, storage cost, etc.

What to Keep in Mind When Planning a Shipping and Handling Strategy?

There are three things you must keep in mind while preparing a shipping and handling strategy. These include the availability of skilled resources, the location of your warehouse, and the technical infrastructure you have for your business. 

Skilled Resources

Having skilled resources on your team means that you will process orders faster and ship them sooner. If you do not have experienced help in place, you are prone to making a more significant number of human errors, and you will miss out on a few orders if the team does not act promptly. A cross-trained workforce will be even more beneficial for your e-commerce business as they will be able to conduct several handling operations at once. And also, your operations will not be affected in case of the absence of anyone.

Location of Your Warehouse

The following integral aspect of your strategy is the location of your warehouse. The location of your warehouse will decide how fast you can ship your products, how soon they will be delivered, and the raw materials and human resources you will find. If your warehouse location is highly isolated, you will need to pay additional money to bring your resources to the warehouse. Moreover, it will be more challenging to set up the technical infrastructure and maintain it for a more extended period. This will incur a significant number of losses as compared to profits. Moreover, the customer‘s location will be far off, and you will take a longer time to ship and deliver your products.

Technical Infrastructure

The following requirement for planning your shipping and handling strategy is anticipating the technical infrastructure required. The technical infrastructure will help you lay the foundation for the operations, and you will be able to process orders faster with a robust technology stack.

Importance of Shipping and Handling

Shipping and handling directly affect the delivery times in cost. Suppose the shipping and handling are not up to the mark. In that case, they can significantly impact customer acquisition and loyalty and cause brand dilution on social media due to negative customer experience. Also, incorrect shipping and handling can lead to a high number of RTO orders. 

What Type of Shipping Does the Customer Expect?

Free Shipping

These days customers expect free shipping as there is enormous competition and many brands are offering it. With Amazon’s prime offering, most customers have gotten used to the idea of free shipping. The many ways to provide free shipping or as follows – 

  1. Include the shipping cost in the product cost. This will help you provide free shipping site-wide.
  2. Set up a threshold amount above which you would provide free shipping. 
  3. Set up a loyalty program like Amazon prime, which runs on subscriptions. 

Flat Rate Shipping

The next option is flat rate shipping. This refers to charging a fixed shipping rate for every order. Flat rate shipping should be the average cost across orders. This week, the shipping charge for some orders will not be recovered while some may be overcharged, and an overall equilibrium balance will be maintained. Flat rate shipping can also be provided across zones. So you can charge a flat rate in one zone and a different flat rate in another zone. 

Express Shipping

The following shipping that customers look for is express shipping. This refers to one day and today’s delivery. With fast shipping options available these days, customers’ expectations have changed drastically. If you want to provide express shipping to your customers, you can incur an additional express shipping charge, and most customers would be ready to pay for that. If not, you can find ways to stop products closer to your customer, so you can automatically provide them this option. 

How to Successfully Outsource Shipping and Handling Operations?

Shipping and handling are crucial aspects of your fulfillment supply chain. Hence, they must be outsourced to the right people to ensure optimized operations and maximum output. Initially, it is a safe bet to run these operations yourself. However, when your business expands, it can get tedious to manage all operations under one roof. To grow your business, you need to innovate and try new strategies, and you cannot do that if you stay stuck on just fulfilling your orders appropriately. Therefore, outsourcing operations is a perfect option for you.

You can outsource e-commerce fulfillment operations to 3PL fulfillment providers like Shiprocket fulfillment. This will help you manage all processes, including inventory management, order management, packaging, shipping, and returns. All aspects of handling like packaging, packing, storage will be taken care of in the thoroughly equipped e-commerce fulfillment centers, and all components of shipping leg first Mile, mini Mile, last mail will also be taken care of by Shiprocket Fulfillment. 

We have around eight fulfillment centers located across prime locations in India. These fulfillment centers are equipped with the latest warehouse management system, order management system, and logistics technology. 

Final Thoughts

Shipping and handling need to be taken care of carefully before you start expanding your business. You must accept the suitable measures to run these operations and maintain synchronization between the two smoothly. We hope this article helped make you understand the importance of shipping and handling and its significance in the e-commerce business

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September 25, 2021 by Srishti Arora

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

Supply Chain Optimization 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.

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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 14, 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.

Shiprocket Fulfillment features
September 14, 2021 by Rashi Sood

6 min read

Understanding Order Management for eCommerce Businesses

September 7, 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 7, 2021 by Srishti Arora

7 min read

How Can You Reduce Logistics Costs With 3PL Fulfillment?

August 24, 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
August 24, 2021 by Srishti Arora

6 min read

Understanding Pick and Pack for Efficient Fulfillment Process

August 19, 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.

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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
August 19, 2021 by Rashi Sood