Fulfillment Operations 5 min read
February 25, 2021 by Srishti Arora - 5 min read
eCommerce in India is growing exponentially. Every day, several D2C brands make their way online and sell their products to a wide audience worldwide. According to a report by IBEF, the Indian eCommerce market will reach US $99 billion by 2024, growing at a 27% CAGR over 2019–24. This indicates the significant scope this market holds in India. With the increasing mobile penetration, the internet is becoming more accessible to tier two and tier three Indian cities. So, the demand for products is only going to increase in the coming years.
If you are competing with several online sellers, you must sort your eCommerce fulfillment game. You can be a brilliant website online, but shipping and delivery are not up to the mark; the customer experience will never be positive. With changing trends each year, you must continuously review your fulfillment operations to ensure that you are up to the mark and meeting customer expectations at all times.
Ofcourse, it can be tedious to continually audit and change all aspects of your fulfillment supply chain. However, it is essential to review some elements frequently to avoid unfortunate situations like stockouts and delayed deliveries.
Here are 5 fulfillment areas you must look out for and improve upon regularly. But before that, let us quickly overview the fulfillment process and its components.
An Overview of the eCommerce Fulfillment Operations
eCommerce fulfillment operations consist of all processes starting from order management, inventory management, and storage, followed by picking, packaging, and preparing the order and going right up till shipping and returns.
These operations require strict intervention now and then to make sure that they run smoothly. Any glitches in any of the functions can lead to delays in delivery and a negative customer experience. Therefore, regular audits are recommended to ensure that there is perfect synchronization and efficiency is not affected.
However, it can get challenging to monitor all operations simultaneously continuously. Therefore, there are some aspects of your business that you must review every year to maintain perfect harmony in your operations. Here are five of them that we think are essential. Let’s have a look.
Fulfillment Areas You Must Review Every Year
Growth and Expansion
An integral part of any commerce strategy is growth and expansion. It is what you strive for nearly. Start defining your goals and set specific goals for each year. Suppose you think your warehouse has reached its capacity or you are looking to diversify your offerings. In that case, you must chalk out a plan for growth and expansion and reach out to necessary stakeholders accordingly. For example, if you are looking to start delivering products in new states across the country, you must analyze the inventory, time required, and shipping. If you do not plan this, there are chances that you might mess up when you try to launch something and face backlash for the same. Meticulous planning is vital for successful growth and expansion.
The next big hassle that you can avoid is limited storage space. Whenever you start a business, you do not have unlimited storage space for your inventory. Usually, sellers start with self-storage and then move to store products in established warehouses. Audit the warehouse storage space every year to figure out if you need more space or if you need to outsource to a 3PL fulfillment provider. Analyzing this year in advance based on predictive analysis and demand forecasting can help you save on a lot of money and additional expenses.
Taking care of the labor at your warehouse and fulfillment center is equally essential. They are the workforce carrying out the tasks at the ground level. Keeping a tab on their skills and assessing their performances regularly can help you improve your overall shipping and delivery by a considerable margin. Assess your resources periodically and check if any changes need to be made in your organization to ensure a seamless synchronization and hassle-free supply chain.
Inventory Management Process
If you have a manual inventory management process, you need to continuously check your physical inventory and tally it with your records. This will help you figure out any discrepancies, and you will be able to eliminate any issues that might arise later. Try moving towards automated inventory management so you can keep track of the incoming orders and sync your inventory with them accordingly. This will help you forecast your customer’s demands in a much more systematic fashion, and you will be able to deliver orders much faster.
Whatever automation you bring into your system requires thorough auditing to ensure that your data is not getting lost in the process. To ensure seamless communication between the supply chain operations, you must audit your process automation regularly. This will help you stay up-to-date with the work, and you will be able also to incorporate any innovations and technology conveniently. Similarly, if you want to move to more automated methods on the floor, you must include them at the beginning of the year so that your workforce can get used to any changes early on.
Auditing and assessing your eCommerce fulfillment supply chain is a must for any business. Since your fulfillment supply chain forms your eCommerce online business’s backbone, try to match the industry standards and incorporate new trends wherever possible. This will help you get an edge in competition, and you will be able to establish yourself as an industry leader much faster.