6 min read

When Should You Switch Your 3PL Fulfillment Provider?

December 10, 2020 by Srishti Arora - 6 min read

Running a retail eCommerce business can be a difficult task. You have to be on your toes at all times, and you cannot miss out on a single aspect of your business, right from your website to the product being delivered. Throughout this process, your 3PL fulfillment provider plays a significant role.

They are essentially responsible for the entire fulfillment supply chain and ensuring that your product gets delivered to the customer in the right state. However, if results are declining and you are not getting the kind of service you expected, it is time to move ahead. How do you know if it is precisely the right time to switch your fulfillment provider. 

Switching your 3PL fulfillment provider can be a critical decision for your business. In a way, it will steer the future of your sales and delivery operations. But it is vital to take a look at your current 3PL providers and fulfillment strategy to ensure that your business is headed for success. 

A fulfillment provider not aligned with your business could also be a significant reason for stunted growth. Therefore, it is essential to have a look time and again if your association is successful or not. With time as your business grows, requirements change, and it is not necessary that the third-party fulfillment provider you started with also grows with you. Since there are many variables like inventory, an established professional comfort, and other aspects involved, it may seem like a nightmare to switch your 3PL provider. But honestly, it is not. Let’s look at the importance of a 3PL and decide when it is time to change your 3PL fulfillment provider. 

Impact of 3PL Fulfillment on Your Business

Your 3PL fulfillment provider has a direct impact on your eCommerce business. They are responsible for the timely delivery of your product and the processing of each incoming order. Hence, they have a direct role to play in customer satisfaction and positive delivery experiences.

According to a report by Comscore, 73% of shoppers expect affordable and fast delivery. Therefore, if your three pair provider does not provide you with essential services like fast shipping and error-free operations, it could lead to a negative impact on your business. 

Importance of 3PL Fulfillment

Error-Free Operations

Third-party fulfillment providers specialize in order fulfillment so they can provide you with tamper-proof packaging and error-free shipping. This becomes a bonus for your business as you do not have to carry out work like picking, packaging, and shipping yourself.

Trained Resources

All the staff at a fulfillment center is trained for specific operations. If you take care of these operations yourself, there is a chance that you might be multitasking. Having dedicated and skilled employees reduce the risk of errors and improve efficiency. 

Automated Operations

Fulfillment centers have The latest warehouse management and inventory management systems. These usually work synchronized with each other, and you do not need to worry about your order management and fulfillment operations.

How to Decide When It’s Time to Change Your 3PL Fulfillment Provider?

Incorrect Orders

Even one incorrect order packaging and delivery can be a red flag for your business. But even if you want to give them a second chance, several incorrect orders are the right signal. It means that your fulfillment provider is not as efficient as they claim to be, and it is time that you make a move to ensure that your business is not impacted by low customer satisfaction.

Increase in Order Volume

Most times, the fulfillment center you start with can only handle a particular order volume based on their storage and fulfillment capabilities. When you realize that you have a steady increase in order volume, it could be a sign to move your full payment provider to a different one. Lower space for functioning and limited growth might be hindering your eCommerce business by delayed delivery and unsatisfactory work. 

Rising Fulfillment Costs

Which time, your business will grow, and you might need to reconsider your fulfillment costs. One of the primary reasons to outsource to a 3PL fulfillment provider is to reduce your fulfillment costs. If your fulfillment provider is continuously increasing their demand, it is time you moved ahead. Growing warehouse, labor, and freight costs can be a threat to your profits. 

No Latest Innovations

If your full payment provider is not indulging in any latest innovations and is not adapting to recent technology, your business might be suffering. Since the eCommerce industry is progressing rapidly, it is necessary to adopt the latest technology and trends. 

Incompatibility With the Provider

The most important reason for signing up with a 3PL fulfillment provider is the ease of business. You want to make sure your fulfillment operations are simplified and taken care of, not worry about them as much, and take care of them yourself. But, if you feel your full payment provider is not doing justice to your business or you have to put in a lot of effort for dealing with them, it is best to move on. Having many incompatibility issues will eventually lead to unsatisfactory service, and you will have to suffer.

Shiprocket Fulfillment – The Ideal 3PL Fulfillment Solution for Your Business

Shiprocket Fulfillment is a reputed 3PL fulfillment provider that provides you with an end to end solution for warehousing, inventory management, and shipping. Once you sign up with Shiprocket fulfillment, all you have to do is ship your products to a fulfillment center. Like picking, packaging, inventory management, and order fulfillment, all the other operations will be taken care of by the fulfillment center. We have fulfillment centers located in Delhi, Gurugram, Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Kolkata. Shiprocket Fulfillment provides you with several benefits like 2X faster delivery as your store products are stored closer to your customers, affordable shipping rates, error-free operations, tamper-proof packaging, and reduced weight discrepancies.

Final Thoughts

Switching a 3PL fulfillment provider might look like a difficult task, but it is not that difficult if you dwell deeper. Be cautious about the time you spend thinking about it, not regret your decision later as the migration might be difficult if not thought through.

Shiprocket Fulfillment features
December 10, 2020 by Srishti Arora

4 min read

Effective Methods to Reduce Inventory Costs

November 27, 2020 by Srishti Arora - 4 min read

The inventory hold for your business is one of the essential capital you have. It is what runs your business, and you need to be aware of its expenses and operations at all times. Even though inventory is essential for your business, it can also be one of the most challenging liabilities if you do not take care of the money you spend on it.

Monitoring your inventory is essential as it can incur many excess costs in storing and processing it. This is what is known as inventory costs, and it is necessary to reduce your inventory cost to run your eCommerce business successfully and profitably.

Let’s look at what inventory costs are, their types, and how you can reduce them for your eCommerce business. 

What are Inventory Costs?

Inventory costs referred to the total costs associated with inventory management for any eCommerce business. These include the sourcing cost, storing costs, processing costs, carrying costs, etc. Since inventory is critical and comprehensive, sellers tend to spend a lot of their capital on managing inventory rather than optimizing it. 

Inventory costs can increase exponentially if the inventory is not moved quickly. The carrying costs can eventually add up and cause considerable harm to your business. Let’s look at the different types of inventory costs and how to reduce them. 

Types of Inventory Costs

Ordering costs

Ordering cost referred to the setup costs that are incurred whenever you place an order from your supplier. These refer to the sourcing costs and the money you spent on procuring the goods you want to sell.

Holding costs

Holding cost is also known as carrying cost and is known as the costs you incur for storing the products before they are sold. These include storage space costs, service costs, financing costs, etc.

Shortage Costs

These refer to the stock out costs and are incurred when you run out of inventory and need to source extra for making sales. This could come off due to destructive production, emergency shipments, etc.

Spoilage Costs

Lastly, spoilage costs refer to the money that you spend when the inventory you have stored is spoiled or damaged. This is mainly applicable to perishable inventory like food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, etc.

How Can You Reduce Inventory Costs?

Regular Tracking of Inventory Costs

You are tracking your inventory costs regularly instead of just estimating them. Inventory carrying cost can account for many expenses, including the cost of deterioration, taxes, administration cost, capital, labor cost, etc. Along with this, other hidden costs are usually not taken into account. Regular tracking of inventory costs can help you stay up to date with the total expenditure, and you can optimize your operations and expenses accordingly. 

Regulate the Order Management Process

The order management system and inventory management operations must go hand-in-hand. If the sync between these operations is broken, either your inventory or order processing will suffer. Keep a thorough track of your customers and the ongoing orders so that you can move your inventory accordingly. Also, a sorted order management process will help you forecast demand so you can purchase stock, therefore. 

Handle Excess Inventory

Storing excess inventory can be much more harmful to your business, as you will have to pay more for the storage and handling costs of these products. Your carrying costs will directly be impacted. If you have excess inventory, you can either return it, run sales to sell them off at cheaper prices, or ship them to your different warehouses. This will help you eliminate any excess inventory and save on additional carrying costs. 

Reduce Shipping Costs

Expensive shipping costs also add to your eventual inventory costs. Try to ship with a solution that offers you multiple courier partners so you can ship products faster. With a strong distribution network, you will be able to quickly get rid of your inventory and keep it fast-moving.

Make Data-Driven Decisions

Utilize the data you get from order management and inventory management systems to make insightful decisions. Don’t base your forecasts and decisions on estimates. Analyze the results and information you get from automated system analytics. Apply predictive analytics to see your future predictions and develop innovative solutions to invest in the stock. Come up with techniques to not order too much inventory and also avoid the problems of a stock out situation. 

Conclusion

Monitor your inventory costs regularly to assess where you spend most properly. Gauge weak spots and come up with solutions to tackle any roadblocks that come your way. Spend wisely and optimize your inventory management systems to make sure that you can reduce your inventory costs and optimize operations further on.

Shiprocket Fulfillment features
November 27, 2020 by Srishti Arora

6 min read

Decoding the Dropshipping Fulfillment Supply Chain Process

November 27, 2020 by Srishti Arora - 6 min read

According to a report by marketdataforecast.com, the size of the global dropshipping market was estimated at 111.28 billion dollars in two thousand and eighteen. This number is said to record a CAGR of around 29% from 2020 to 2025. 

Dropshipping is turning out to be a very successful business model for e-commerce. It has already been shown to be quite an advantage for sellers who are just starting and want to experiment in the domain without investing a lot in storing inventory.

But what exactly is dropshipping, and what is the supply chain associated with the fulfillment process? Let’s have a look.

What is Dropshipping?

Dropshipping is a popular retail business model where the seller does not host any inventory. The seller only accepts customers’ orders and processes them directly from the supplier once they receive an order. It is the responsibility of the manufacturer or supplier to deliver products to the customer.

For example, you have a website that sells sunglasses. If you do not store an inventory of these sunglasses and instead ask your supplier to ship them directly to the customer, then you are a dropshipper. 

Who is Involved in the Process?

As understood by the definition, there are two critical stakeholders involved in the process of dropshipping. Let’s have a look at who these stakeholders can be.

Third-Party Suppliers

Manufacturers

Manufacturers are entities that do not sell the product directly to the customer. They are the ones who create the product in bulk and sell it further to wholesalers or retailers. In most cases, manufacturers do not directly sell to customers. They have tie-ups with several companies that source their products. Since the production is in bulk, they prefer selling larger quantities. Manufacturers are the stakeholders that ship the final product to the customer. In other words, they can be the third-party suppliers for retail drop shippers.

Wholesalers

Wholesalers are sellers who purchase products in bulk and further sell them to retailers and small shop owners. Wholesalers usually operate in a niche and hold products from one category specifically. So, retailers typically have to tie-up with multiple wholesalers for different product categories in a dropshipping business. Usually, wholesalers sell only to retailers and not directly to the general public. They, too, stock products in massive amounts and have fixed deals with retailers for outsourcing their products.

Retailers

The next stakeholder in a dropshipping business is the retailer. This is the entity that is the face of the company. In simple words, a retailer showcases the products but does not take the responsibility of storing and shipping them. Retailers usually have their store or e-commerce website where they display and market the products, take incoming orders, and dropship them with a third-party supplier.

The Dropshipping Fulfillment Process

By understanding the definition and the role of stakeholders in the dropshipping free payment supply chain, it is safe to say that dropshipping is a service that your third-party supplier provides to you. Therefore, it is essential that you tie-up with the best and the most reliable suppliers to get the best prices and the best service. The service your dropshipping partner provides Will directly reflect on your brand. Therefore, it is essential to maintain a stable supply chain process and efficient communication between the two parties to ensure that customer satisfaction and operations are not affected in any way.

Let’s have a look at how the dropshipping fulfillment process works- 

Step 1 – Customer Places the Order With Retailer

The retailer has an outlet in the form of a website or a store where the customer can place an order. The customer places an order for the required items along with the quantity. This order is generated by the retailer, who then takes care of the rest of the process. 

Step 2 – Retailer Places Order With Supplier

The retailer then takes the total amount of orders for a day or a week and shares it with the third-party supplier that is a manufacturer or a wholesaler.

Step 3 – Supplier Packs & Ships Order 

This third-party supplier takes in the bulk orders, packs them, and then ships them with suitable courier partners or shipping companies. 

Step 4 – Supplier Shares Tracking Details with Retailer 

The supplier then shares tracking details with the retailer. These contain the estimated delivery date, order details, etc.

Step 5 – Retailer Shares Order & Tracking Details with Customer

Finally, the customer shares the order details along with the tracking information with the customer. 

Try Shiprocket Fulfillment for Dropshipping Fulfillment

Suppose you are a wholesaler or a manufacturer who does not have a storage space to house inventory. In that case, you can make use of the multiple fulfillment centers provided by Shiprocket Fulfillment. Shiprocket Fulfillment has fulfillment centers across India in cities like Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Gurugram, and Bengaluru. Once you store your products with Shiprocket Fulfilment, we can take care of all your incoming orders and ensure they deliver to the customers as quickly as possible. You also get the advantage of storing your products closer to end customers, and this can give your wholesale business a competitive edge when dropshipping.

Along with this, you can reduce shipping costs, ship with multiple courier partners, get the best packaging and processing services, reduce weight discrepancies, and deliver orders to 2X faster. Overall, you can provide customers with a mind-blowing delivery experience and improve your retailer’s brand’s quality. This can also give you a chance to tie-up with several retailers and opt for dropshipping with them.

Conclusion

The dropshipping fulfillment supply chain can be tricky if each stakeholder’s role is not taken into account. Since this fulfillment strategy requires a lot of two and fro between various stakeholders, it is essential to use automation and technology to ensure that the correct information is communicated at all points. If all these things are kept in mind, dropshipping can turn out to be a lucrative business for third-party suppliers like manufacturers and wholesalers and also for retailers. It can be extremely lucrative for young individuals who are just starting their business and are not looking to house and invest in expensive inventory.

Shiprocket Fulfillment features
November 27, 2020 by Srishti Arora

6 min read

What Is a Warehouse & How to Choose the Best Warehousing Solution

December 4, 2020 by Rashi Sood - 6 min read

Warehousing is a vital part of the supply chain. Effective warehouse operations help in efficiently managing inventory and enhancing customer satisfaction by delivering the orders on time. Though the warehousing principles remain the same, the solutions have changed a lot over the years.

what is warehouse

Urbanization, evolving technologies, and the growing eCommerce sector have led to an increase in warehousing and logistics solutions such as third-party logistics.

What Is Warehousing?

The storing of physical goods before selling them is warehousing. You securely store the goods in an organized way in a warehouse.

In a traditional brick and mortar setup, the inventory is temporarily stored in a warehouse and then shipped to the retail store for selling. In eCommerce, the inventory is stored in a warehouse until a customer purchases a product online, and then it is directly shipped to the customer from the warehouse.

For new and small businesses, warehousing can be done at home. However, when they outgrow the space, a proper warehouse is required. At this point, you will have to rent a storage space, or you can also outsource your logistics to a 3PL solution provider.

Key Elements of Warehousing

what is warehouse

Warehousing is the core of businesses that sell physical goods. Its crucial elements include:

Warehouse Operations

Warehousing operations refer to the processes related to the movement and tracking of goods and inventory taking place within the warehouse. This includes several functions, such as receiving inventory, placing each SKU under a separate location, and sending products.

It helps in:

  • Keeping the costs low
  • Keeping the customers happy
  • Staff productivity
  • Optimizing storage
  • Effectively using the equipment
  • Incoming and outgoing of inventory on time

Warehouse Management

Warehouse management is efficiently managing the day-to-day operations of a warehouse to ensure its proper functioning. Warehouse management includes administering the staff, stock hardware, inventory security, and association with couriers.

Responsibilities

  • Obtaining required licenses and certifications
  • Ensuring the protection and security of the inventory at all times
  • Management of projected volume and labor
  • Arranging and supervising all the operations as the business expands or takes an unpredictable turn
  • Recording inbound and outbound shipments

Notably, inventory management software can also be used to manage the incoming and outgoing inventory.

Warehouse Management System

A type of software, Warehouse Management System (WMS), provides necessary tools that help manage all warehouse operations effectively to eliminate manual processes and save time. It helps optimize inventory storage and tracking, workload distribution, and shipping of products.

With the help of software, you can get an insight into your warehouse operations in real-time.

Considerations for Right Warehouse Solutions

what is warehouse

Choosing the right warehousing solutions is critical. It is a process that must be attended to with strategic considerations. Let’s discuss some critical considerations to make while choosing the right warehouse solution for your eCommerce business.

Location

The location of the warehouse is indeed the most critical consideration. The location will directly affect fulfillment efficiency. Warehouse location near convenient transport routes, such as roadways, railways, and shipping port, will be a good option as it will assist you in shipping products conveniently. Besides, the size and scope of the warehouse will also play a critical role in the final location choice.

Notably, you can choose warehouses that are located at different locations of the country so that you can offer same-day or next-day delivery to your customers.

Tips

  • If you own a small or mid-sized business, consider a location that is close to your company office or potential customers.
  • If you operate on a larger scale, storing inventory across multiple locations will help you meet regional demands easily and quickly.
  • The choice of location of the warehouse strongly depends on business growth. So, consider your short-term and long-term goals carefully.

Type of Warehouses

When it comes to finalizing a warehouse solution, you must consider the following two factors:

Time Frame

Public warehouses are your go-to option if your business involves seasonal inventory. They provide short-term storage. They charge monthly and sometimes include a combination of storage as well as transaction fees.

On the other hand, for long-term storage, contract warehouses are the best option. They handle the shipping and storage of products on a contractual basis. The payment is not only limited to storage space but also includes the cost of subsidizing equipment.

Cost of Warehouse Solutions

Warehouse cost is complicated and includes various cost factors than just the price of square footage. The cost of warehousing depends on your products and fulfillment needs. Interestingly, Shiprocket Fulfillment offers 30 days of free storage and then charges processing fees of just Rs. 11 per unit.

Access

The kind of access you require is another important consideration that comes into the picture when choosing the right warehousing solution for your business.

SR Fullfilment

Tips

  • Who will access the warehouse from your company? How many people? Find answers in advance so you can avoid timing conflicts.
  • How many times will you require access to your products? You wish to access your products frequently or are comfortable with your products being solely handled by the outside facility.
  • What is your shipping and receiving schedule? Is it frequent, seasonal, or irregular?
  • All these factors are critical and need to be communicated with the warehousing service provider in advance.

Services Offered

The services and amenities offered by the warehousing solution also matter a lot. It varies from one warehousing service provider to another. You can consider the following factors:

  • Space
  • Equipment
  • Staff

Considering these characteristics will help you determine whether the warehousing solution will be able to handle your inventory volume or not. There are other specific requirements that depend on your product category—for instance, a sterile storage facility for products such as medical equipment or baby care products. Climate control for the maintenance of temperature and humidity levels is also imperative.

The other add-on services that you can look for include:

  • Inventory management and fulfillment
  • Product labeling
  • Product packaging
  • Product processing and assembling
  • Protection and risk-bearing for products that go in and out of the warehouse

Finally, consider how professional the warehousing solution staff is with handling your products. The staff must be knowledgeable of all your special handling, packaging and storing, and safety requirements. Ultimately, you must get the best essential services like storing, shipping, and packing in a way that you feel secure about your products.

Efficient Product Fulfillment

Lastly, do you need a warehouse provider for the fulfillment of your products? Inquire about the logistics and fulfillment services that the warehouse provides and consider how it can help your business.

A warehouse that provides fulfillment services must use an efficient warehouse management system. If you are using a long-term contract warehouse, inventory control is critical. Ask your warehouse solution provider to give you precise and frequent information related to the inventory. This will help you keep your suppliers updated about when you require more inventory.

In the end, it is imperative to consider all pointers to choose the best warehousing solution for your business. A smaller effort from your side could save you bigger costs and help you manage your inventory efficiently. Many business owners these days are outsourcing their warehousing and fulfillment needs. It helps them manage all their day-to-day requirements and goals efficiently. Besides, warehousing also plays an essential part in eCommerce fulfillment and helps keep your customer satisfied and happy.

Shiprocket Fulfillment features
December 4, 2020 by Rashi Sood

5 min read

Understanding the Difference between Periodic and Perpetual Inventory

November 27, 2020 by Srishti Arora - 5 min read

When we talk about eCommerce, your inventory is your biggest asset. It defines your business, and how well you can deliver to your customers. And inventory is one of the most critical aspects of any fulfillment supply chain. If not tackled properly, it can soon turn into a liability that can be very difficult to get rid of. Therefore, you need to have systems in place to keep check of your inventory and track its purchase and sale. The key to having a successful inventory management system is balance. But the question is how can you attain it?

Most eCommerce sellers do not track their inventory regularly. This often leads to the accumulation of more than the required inventory or the unfortunate cases of stockouts. Either of these situations can be harmful to your eCommerce business. 

Here are two forms of inventory systems – periodic and perpetual inventory, that can prove to be successful in tracking your eCommerce inventory. Let’s have a look at what they are, the differences between them, and how they can be useful for your business. 

What is the Periodic Inventory System?

When you count, track, record, and value inventory at specific time intervals, it is known as a periodic inventory system. The inventory valuation process helps determine the cost of goods sold or COGS.

It is generally used to maintain a separate account for delivery costs and inventory account. So basically it is the valuation of inventory at specific time intervals which are known as accounting periods.

Here, the cost of goods sold refers to the direct costs that a company incurs while selling goods. This could include raw materials or manufacturing costs.

What is the Perpetual Inventory System?

The perpetual inventory system is the opposite of the periodic inventory system where inventory management is carried out in real-time through the use of an inventory management system that automates the process. Therefore, in a perpetual inventory system, the changes will be recorded with every transaction that takes place on your eCommerce website.

Difference Between Periodic and Perpetual Inventory

The first major difference between periodic and perpetual inventory management is the time interval at which the inventory tracking and valuation are done. In periodic inventory, it is done after specific accounting intervals and in perpetual inventory, it is done in real-time. 

In the periodic inventory system, inventory data is kept up-to-date using physical counting of inventory and further estimating the COGS using different inventory valuation methods. Whereas in perpetual inventory management, inventory is tracked in real-time and inventory data is centralized.

The Relevance of a Periodic Inventory System

Periodic inventory systems are useful for businesses that are just starting out and do not require a large use of inventory. Small-scale businesses can account for physical inventory and keep track of it with different inventory valuation methods. You can eventually switch to a more advanced system but starting out with a periodic inventory system works well as you do not require to invest a lot into it. 

The periodic inventory system is useful for grocery stores as they have a very large inventory of small products so they can make minor adjustments in their stock over time and also record it physically.

Similarly, in convenience stores and clothing stores, you can run on the same principle and record and evaluate inventory over a specific time interval. 

The Relevance of a Perpetual Inventory System

A perpetual inventory system gives eCommerce businesses a more accurate overview of the stock levels and eliminates the manual processes involved in maintaining an inventory management system. This form of stock management is more accurate and works on real-time data. Therefore, eCommerce businesses can get information much faster about stockouts, low inventory, excess inventory, etc.. It also helps up in freeing time and capital. However, since it works on a centralized inventory management system, it is slightly more expensive than the periodic inventory management system.

The perpetual inventory management system is most suitable for businesses that work on a variety of products and with a very large inventory. Since it gets difficult to maintain product count on a long-term basis, the perpetual inventory management system can be suitable for managing inventory across channels and in real-time. Also, with large stock levels, inventory management systems can eventually lead to a decrease in inventory management costs and you can forecast inventory levels more efficiently. 

Order Fulfillment & Inventory Management

Inventory management can be a tedious task for businesses. With a constant influx of inventory and sales, it can get difficult to evaluate and assess inventory on a regular basis. However, this task can be simplified if you outsource your fulfillment operations to a 3PL provider like Shiprocket Fulfillment. 

Shiprocket Fulfillment works with the best inventory management system to provide you with a completely automated inventory management and warehousing workflow. Once you send your inventory to the Shiprocket Fulfillment warehouses, you can be least bothered about how your inventory is going to be managed. 

But Shiprocket Fulfillment warehouses, you can easily store all your inventory across India and get real-time updates about your stock levels. Eliminate all manual work and rely on 3PL providers for complete inventory management services. This way, you can save ample capital & resources while growing your business. 

Conclusion

Both the periodic and perpetual inventory management systems have their own benefits. However, the perpetual inventory management system is more advanced as it is developed to give you information quicker. Depending upon your business needs, you can select the most suitable inventory management system for your business.

Shiprocket Fulfillment features
November 27, 2020 by Srishti Arora