What is Shipping Lead Time & Why is it Important for Order Fulfillment?
Once you receive an order, you must ship it out on time. How fast you process your orders before shipping them decides how quickly you deliver them to your customer. Your clock starts ticking when you receive an order. Today’s market is highly competitive, and many players in the market target the same customers. How soon and how well you deliver to your buyers differentiates you from your competitors. This is when the lead time comes into the picture. You must understand shipping lead time and decrease it to enhance your success rate. Let’s dive in to see the nitty-gritty of shipping lead time and why it is essential.
What is Shipping Lead Time?
Refers to the time taken by any retailer to complete all order fulfillment processes that are done between receiving an order and shipping it out. It is also known as the order-to-ship time in most cases.
Shipping Lead Time Calculation
The simple formula to calculate shipping lead time is as follows –
Lead time (LT) = Order Delivery Date – Order Request Date
The shipping lead time gives you a numerical value, and you can improve to reduce this value and improvise your productivity and retail.
Factors Affecting Shipping Lead Time
Several factors affect the shipping lead time. Most factors include production process, inventory management, supply chain operations, packaging operations, etc. Let’s have a look at them –
If you want to reduce your order processing time, it is vital to have an efficient inventory management system to reduce your order processing time. This means there must be transparency in inventory management to ensure seamless warehouse operations like picking; the whole order processing cycle can be affected. An efficient inventory management system will help you determine the stock needed to complete an order and reduce the processing time.
Supply Chain Operations
Because there are several touchpoints in an order fulfillment supply chain, having a thorough supply chain operation can help you reduce the order to ship time or shipping lead time. It will help synchronize your supply chain operations so that the lead time can be reduced right from the production, packaging, and right up to shipping.
If the product takes longer than decided to be prepared, it will take longer to ship. Therefore if you are manufacturing products, ensure that you set up your timeline and follow it strictly.
Another significant event in your order fulfillment supply chain is the packaging process. They can be multiple items in an order, and you need to ensure that they are packed correctly. Also, you must have an eye out for the packaging material required for this process. If everything is in place and you can pack your orders properly before shipping, you can significantly reduce your order to support shipping lead time.
Tips To Reduce Shipping Lead Time
Simplify Order Fulfillment Supply Chain
The first step to reducing your shipping lead time is simplifying the order fulfillment supply chain. Eradicate unnecessary actions that hinder the cycle and focus only on the significant parts. Create SOPs or standard operating procedures for every step to avoid confusion while carrying out the process. For example, have a standard operating system for picking and locating inventory when you receive a new order. No two people should follow different methods for the same operation. Also, utilize the inventory and order management system to increase transparency and increase the productivity of your warehouse operations.
Enhance Picking Process
Picking plays a significant role when you receive an order. Since this process is driven mainly by the workforce, you must train each individual to pick the right products from the right place in the warehouse. Use an intelligent route to reduce the time picking orders so that the picking executive does not spend too much time running around the warehouse. Most warehouse management systems provide an intelligent route to navigate through the warehouse. This enables faster order picking and accuracy.
Hire Skilled Manpower
We cannot stress this part enough. How much ever automation you bring into your working place, in the end, it is individuals who handle the crucial operations. Therefore, make sure you hire a skilled workforce that has worked in these scenarios before to quickly address challenges that come in the way and improvise according to the situation. One miss can take you backward in your processing and increase the shipping time drastically, which can cause a direct impact on the delivery times.
Conduct Regular Training
Conduct regular training sessions to ensure that your employees are adept with the technology and enhance their operations with time. Training sessions will help them learn new skills and improve their performance in order processing.
Choose a 3PL Fulfillment Provider
Last but not least, choose a 3PL fulfillment provider that can help you reduce costs and improve your shipping lead time as they have a skill set of labor that conducts these operations for multiple companies at once. Essentially, you can get all the benefits of order fulfillment without having to invest a considerable amount yourself.
How Can Shiprocket Fulfillment Help In Reducing Shipping Lead Time?
Shiprocket Fulfillment is a 3PL fulfillment provider with a fulfillment center located across India in vital locations. This enables you to store your products closer to customers and deliver them sooner. Notice this 3PL fulfillment provider like Shiprocket Fulfillment can help you reduce your shipping lead time as they have a skilled team dedicated just for fulfillment. This means that the personnel at the Shiprocket Fulfillment’s fulfillment centers carry out these processes day in and day out and have a greater accuracy and efficiency rate. Not justice, Shiprocket Fulfillment fulfillment centers are equipped with the latest warehouse management technology to ensure that the order to ship time is the least. This means that you can reduce the shipping cost by storing products closer to the customer and also offer day and two-day delivery by processing incoming orders much sooner.
Even though a small metric, shipping the time, is vital for your business, it has a direct impact on customer satisfaction as it directly impacts the delivery. Therefore, you must be careful and regularly lookout for this metric to not slack out on customer experience. Make sure you check on this metric and strive to reduce it to ensure faster delivery and greater order accuracy.