The following article is a guest post.
For ordinary folks, the holiday season is an amazing time when they can take a break and spend time with loved ones. Retailers and many other businesses, however, often find themselves facing their busiest season of the year as shoppers flock to brick-and-mortar stores and a swarm of orders from online buyers come pouring in.
While this hectic period may promise a surge in sales volume, you need to prepare well to avoid losses and client dissatisfaction.
Because customers desire speedy or on-time delivery of their orders, you need to have a solid fulfillment strategy to be able to meet such demands. No matter what type of products you sell, if you cannot keep up with this influx of orders, you can lose resources, profit, and customers.
To help you avoid experiencing difficulties, we’ll provide you with these 4 great tips for satisfactory fulfillment management that you can consider this season.
Partner with a 3PL company.
Outsourcing means having a portion of your business processes handled by third-party service providers.
While this may seem risky for companies that are used to dealing with all of their business processes in-house, outsourcing actually offers many benefits that you can take advantage of.
By turning to third-party logistics (3PL) companies for your fulfillment needs, you can cut back on expenses and be more time efficient. As these providers already have all the right people, storage facilities, equipment, and technologies that can take care of the entire order fulfillment process, you won’t have to invest on these things yourself.
Because 3PL companies are independent from your business, it’s imperative that you select one that is reliable and can actually satisfy your requirements. You can seek expert help from a professional outsourcing consultant, who can narrow down your list of prospective service providers.
Maintain an optimized inventory and track it accurately.
How you manage your company’s inventory is vital to meeting your customers’ expectations with their orders.
Proper order processing, an adequate stock of products, and an efficient tracking system can help guarantee your fulfillment success during the holiday rush.
A common issue for retailers during peak seasons is experiencing stock-outs—events in which items in their inventories get exhausted.
To keep your customers satisfied, make sure to stock up on goods beforehand. Staying updated regarding the number of supplies you have left is also a must.
By having an accurate tracking system, you can replenish your inventory in a snap when the need arises.
You can also use your website or social media accounts for the purpose of keeping your customers up to speed with product availability.
Make use of the right technologies.
Whether you rely on 3PL companies or on your own in-house staff and facilities, the right technologies are necessary for you to carry out your fulfillment strategy successfully.
For instance, you should have the right inventory management tools that give you complete visibility over your stock of products. This ensures that the inventory information that is available to you is really accurate, and it also allows you to make informed decisions regarding inventory restocking.
In addition, you should also make use of reporting software that lets you check and review valuable metrics like throughput, supplier performance, and sales. This gives you access to useful information that you can utilize to improve your fulfillment procedures.
It goes without saying that these tools should go hand-in-hand with efficient distribution center automation. You can deploy useful hardware like automated conveyors and mobile pick carts for batch picking.
Other tools that can increase the efficiency and productivity of picking operators include pick to light displays, radio frequency scanners, and a voice-directed warehousing system.
Plan for your peak days.
Before incorporating changes in your fulfillment management, you have to plan well first.
To come up with a reliable and sound strategy, refer to your company’s performance data from previous holiday seasons. With this information, you can determine your peak times and predict customer behavior. You can also use this as a reference for the volume of goods or merchandise you should prepare.
If you plan on relying on your own internal fulfillment operations, you can study these data to see what weak points your business has that needs addressing.
Perhaps you need to hire interns or more capable staff members, or maybe your facilities require improvement. These are problems that you can discover and solve to fully take advantage of the holiday shopping rush.
For many retailers, maintaining a strong order fulfillment strategy during peak months can be challenging. But by giving these tips a try, you can create a robust and seamless plan that can help you make profit, win new customers, and keep loyal clients happy.