Accurate order fulfillment is vital if companies are to compete effectively in today’s challenging retail environment and keep their customers happy. Rising demand in the e-commerce world and pressure for faster deliveries can lead to short-cuts in the fulfillment process and increased errors, such as improperly identified orders; mislabelling; and picking/packing the wrong products or quantities.
A third (33%) of e-commerce companies put improving the accuracy of their fulfillment operations at or near the top of their priority list, according to a survey published by the Access group in February 2014.
Companies handling fulfillment need to ensure that goods are properly identified, measured and audited from the beginning.
New Avenues for Improving Fulfillment
New trends in order fulfillment include the move towards making Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) more configurable and more flexible. A modern, WMS-powered warehouse and distribution centre can:
> integrate systems and workflows
> automate to drive performance and accuracy
> provide increased visibility into inventory order fulfillment processes
> provide flexible and diverse options to mitigate risk of demand volatility.
Some new WMS even include a carrier integration module, allowing the company to integrate into its parcel carriers’ systems.
The Importance of Technology
According to the 2010 white paper from Dematic Corp, “Top 10 Trends Driving Order Fulfillment”, dynamic optimisation software is a new control method that is now creating logistics results for mechanised conveying and sorting systems. Dynamic optimisation software provides increased throughput with more strategic use of traditional conveying and sorting technology. For example, operations that use wave-based picking and sorting can now shift to “wave-less” processing.
In addition, robotic warehouse machines are changing the game when it comes to fulfillment. The robots are controlled by cameras and are able to read barcodes to determine which way to go and to find what they’re looking for. On-board sensors allow for the information to be recorded and sent to a central hub. Any anomaly is reported. A motor and a custom-built ball-screw is all the robots need to attach themselves to the shelves.
Keeping Customers Happy
An estimated 35% of facilities experience ongoing mispick rates of 1% or more, according to a white paper published by Kardex Remstar in June this year. Although 1% sounds like a slim margin for improvement, it adds up quickly, says Kardex Remstar.
Accurate order fulfillment is therefore critical to ensure companies can compete effectively and keep customers happy. Contact us to discuss our full range of options in our B2C parcels solution, including e-fulfillment.