There’s no such thing as universal one-size-fits-all supply chain strategies for e-commerce businesses. Every business has its own unique set of qualitative and quantitative supply chain standards, management requirements, and strategies that maximize efficiency and productivity with one common goal in mind: to achieve as much customer satisfaction as possible. A masterfully planned and executed e-commerce supply chain management strategy can help create positive customer experiences and perceptions of your business, which increases your brand value. A high brand value based on consistently meeting and exceeding customer expectations can lead to significant business growth in a relatively short period of time.
These are the top five supply chain order fulfillment strategies to help you reach new levels of e-commerce success in 2021 and beyond!
Use an Effective Warehouse Management System (WMS)
Warehouse operational costs can go through the roof, especially for larger facilities with a lot of inventory to store or move. Fulfillment and labour costs, not to mention the costs of purchasing and maintaining equipment can lead to massive budget overflows. With the help of a detailed and sophisticated warehouse management system, you can minimize your operational expenditures without compromising the quality or efficacy of your operations.
Ensure Better Returns Management
Returns are an inevitability in the retail industry. Whether customers were simply dissatisfied with the product they receive, it wasn’t what they expected, or it was defective, every e-commerce business needs a reliable, reasonable, and effective method of handling returns. Using a digital barcode scanner to track all incoming and outgoing packages can help you stay organized and ensure that all transactions are properly processed in a timely fashion.
Stay Informed about the Velocity of Your Goods
Velocity of goods has to do with the amount of time it takes each product to sell from the time it hits the market, so to speak. This is usually determined by three important factors: the demand, affordability, and marketing of the product. Certain products are typically expected to move faster than others. Keep track of which products move faster, so that you can calculate your sales margins accurately and decide which items should be liquidated to reduce storage time and expenses.
Leverage Advanced Mobile Technology and Software Architecture Like SCPaaS
Supply Chain Platform as a Service (SCPaaS) effectively utilizes secure cloud-based platforms and digital storage solutions to store confidential business information and grant convenient access only to authorized personnel. Supply chains are a combination of multiplatform digital and brick-and-mortar entities that must work together in perfect harmony in order to yield positive results. All product movements in and out of facilities must be updated and recorded in a timely manner to ensure the utmost accuracy. Leveraging advanced mobile technology and software architectures effectively enhances large scale supply chain solutions for better capital gains.
Use Third-Party Logistics to Boost Supply Chain Management Goals
Trustworthy and transparent third-party logistics companies should have a proven track record when it comes to helping businesses establish efficient customized order fulfillment strategies that meet and exceed their goals. Internal fulfillment facilities often lack the space, personnel, and advanced technology to fully support massive business expansion whereas 3PL solutions are equipped to handle all levels of growth.
Lean Supply Solutions is different from other 3PL service providers. We take on a customers-first approach that ensures consumer satisfaction and on-time safe delivery methods are the top priority. We’re able to accomplish this at every turn, even when faced with unthinkable circumstances, through the use of our advanced technological SCPaaS and Harmony Logistics Platform as a Service (HLPaaS) cloud-based system. Contact us today to learn more.
When it comes to establishing and keeping up a successful business empire, nothing is more important than delivering consistently positive customer experiences at every turn. Customer experience is the pinnacle of every modern-day digitally delivery-based organization. You either deliver good or bad customer experiences—there’s no in-between.
For digital businesses, it starts with utilizing the best fulfillment service practices that enable you to offer quick, reliable, and reasonable order processing and delivery timelines. Good end-to-end customer experiences are closely tied to overall customer satisfaction and the likelihood of repeat purchases as well as personal recommendations. Follow these tips to improve your order fulfillment strategies and maximize the efficiency of your warehousing and distribution services.
Update Customers on Their Order Status
Consumers these days thrive on instant gratification and have come to expect it from the companies they support. To sufficiently appeal to this expectation, modern brands send an automatic order confirmation email containing order details along with a reference and tracking number so customers can track their order progress. This helps improve the post-order customer experience and ensures customers are fully updated at all times on the status of their order including estimated arrival dates, delays, and other information.
Use 3PL to Ensure Fast Delivery Speed
Third-party logistics, also known as 3PL, involves outsourcing third-party organizations that have the necessary resources available to fulfill certain portions of supply chain applications and services. This includes fulfillment services, warehousing, and distribution. New and established brands alike can save a lot of money and make their supply chain processes far more efficient and accurate by integrating advanced 3PL practices into their business models.
Create a Positive Branding, Packaging, and Unboxing Experience
Unboxing is a key component in today’s shopping experience. Many social media influencers have built up their entire brands solely on showcasing themselves opening and unboxing products in front of millions of followers online. Packaging is the first thing consumers see when they receive your product. Not only does it have to be sturdy and capable of withstanding all kinds of environmental and handling damages, but it should also aptly represent your brand. This creates a positive and memorable first impression and unboxing experience.
Maintain Product and Brand Transparency with a Good Return Policy
Ordering products, particularly clothes, is a little daunting. Sometimes, products show up and they’re not what you expected or they don’t fit right. That’s why so many people still prefer shopping at brick-and-mortar stores where they can see, touch, and even smell products in person. While it’s impossible to replicate that same shopping experience online, you can offer your customers total product and brand transparency along with a reasonable return policy. Providing customers with a return shipping label indicates that you truly value their patronage.
Transparency of this nature builds brand loyalty by earning the trust and respect of your customers. Use clear, concise, and straightforward packaging that’s also durable so that customers can easily recognize your brand and product.
Boost Supply Chain Efficiency with a WMS
A proper and fully integrated warehouse management system (WMS) helps organize and track inventory levels so that you can replenish or replace items as needed. Through advanced technological automation, WMS software can help you optimize warehouse and distribution center management for faster output and improved end-customer experiences.
Lean Supply Solutions: Your Trusted 3PL Partner
Through expert warehousing and distribution center services and processes, Lean Supply Solutions has helped numerous brands improve their order fulfillment strategies to create better customer experiences. With over 20 years of experience and a proven track record, our sophisticated 3PL solutions speak for themselves. Contact us today to learn more and partner with us.
Inventory management is a key process of many growing and established successful businesses. It involves tracking inventory levels at every possible turn to keep storage capacities intact and ensure that certain products are kept in optimal storage conditions at all times while maintaining low operational costs. The main objective of an effective inventory management system is to streamline supply chain processes and meet the ever-changing market demands quickly to avoid product over and understock.
Implementing the following major inventory management techniques can help you run a tight supply chain ship and increase the efficiency and productivity of your operations.
Automate Your Inventory Management System
Automating your inventory management system is an effective means of streamlining important business processes such as placing product orders, updating shipment information, and tracking inventory levels. These are all tasks that were previously done manually, which meant they took longer to complete and were often prone to human error leading to expensive inaccuracies. The benefits of automated inventory management include faster product replenishment, receiving purchase orders, customer order delivery, inventory tracking, and so much more.
An automated logistics inventory management system reduces the risk of errors and inaccuracies and accelerates key business processes to help you scale your enterprise.
Utilize Data Analytics for Inventory Optimization Techniques
Employing accurate data analytics based on past sales, current inventory stock levels, and customer feedback helps you better understand and forecast certain industry-based trends. These tools and resources ensure smooth warehouse operations and help you predict future trends so that you can make the right product ordering decisions in the present that will help grow your bottom line.
Integrate Your ERP with Your Logistics Inventory Management System
Start-ups and small businesses with minimal overheads can initially get away with using spreadsheets to track their inventory management. But as your business continues to grow in size and customer acquisition, you’re going to need to switch to using more sophisticated inventory management strategies and softwares in logistics. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) inventory management systems combine all of your business and planning operations in one convenient system. This allows you to manage your logistics, finances, operational systems, and inventory using a single platform.
Make Use of Just-in-Time Inventory Management
Just-in-time (JIT) is a major inventory management technique that is designed to reduce operational costs and waste while simultaneously increasing supply chain efficiency. It uses smart technology to ensure new inventory and goods are only received on a need-be basis. JIT tracks current inventory levels in real-time and analyzes data that reveals the market demand for certain products before restocking orders are placed. The goal is to increase space and operational efficiency in warehouses and across the entire supply chain.
Employ EOQ Model for Effective Inventory Management
EOQ stands for economic order quantity, also known as optimum lot size. This refers to an exact formula that calculates the optimal order quantity businesses should place for specific products to minimize logistics operational costs, reduce overstock expenditures, maximize warehouse storage space, and prevent the risk of stockouts for high-demand items. Basically, this formula lets you know the right amount of each product to order based on historical market data.
Speed Up Your Fulfillment Process with Lean Supply Solutions
Managing a business and a supply chain simultaneously is challenging. As your business continues to see tremendous growth, you’re going to need extra help with staying on top of your supply chain operations. Lean Supply Solutions employs sophisticated major inventory techniques using top-of-the-line processes and softwares to scale, accelerate, and optimize your supply chain operations. Contact us today to learn more.
The pandemic has forever changed the face of how supply chain management is executed on a global scale. More than anything else, the increasingly fast-paced and digital nature of this industry requires the utmost precision and attention to detail throughout every single step of the process.
If the past year and a half has taught warehousing and distribution companies anything, it’s that there’s a strong need to futureproof your supply chain management practices to ensure a solid long-term ROI and consistent business continuity no matter what happens. Regardless of what’s happening in the world, customers still expect and rely on warehousing and distribution services to deliver their goods in a timely manner.
Experts say that this pandemic is far from being the last and there are likely going to be a number of other cataclysmic events that could severely impact the industry in the future. With that in mind, here are five warehousing and distribution strategies to futureproof your supply chain management design.
Choose the Right Warehouse Management System Software
Warehouse management system software like Supply Chain Platform as a Service (SCPaaS) are designed specifically to automatically track the performance and efficiency of your organization. Focusing on everything from production and scheduling to shipment planning and order fulfillment, SCPaaS allows warehouse managers to optimize and effectively futureproof operations by identifying current digital and systemic shortcomings that hinder progress.
Establish an Adaptable and Modular Warehouse Design
Nothing in this world is permanent. International and domestic supply chain demands are constantly evolving and that means the design, structure, and organization of your warehouse and distribution center should be adaptable and modular to accommodate these changes. To successfully futureproof your supply chain management, you have to get all departments on board. Your entire organization has to be on the same page regarding the design and execution of your supply chain practices.
Set Benchmarks for Warehousing and Distribution Success
Warehousing and distribution is one of the fastest growing and most in-demand industries in the world. We all rely on supply chains to add value to our daily lives, whether or not we realize it. After all, everything we own was once delivered through an intricate supply chain process at one point or another. To continuously anticipate and meet the demands of an ever-evolving world market, warehousing and distribution companies need think outside the box and set small but achievable goals for their various departments to aspire to meet. It’s not about reinventing the wheel, per se. It’s about creating an incentive to come up with innovative solutions that improve and add value to the lives of the people we serve—end customers.
Outsource Your Warehousing and Distribution Requirements
Owning and managing a fully functional warehouse and distribution center is a massive undertaking. Not only does it require continuous capital to keep it running, but you need to invest in new operational practices as well as technological advancements to accommodate growing industrial demands. Outsourcing your warehousing and distribution requirements is a far more feasible solution. It gives you the opportunity and ability to focus on managing your core business affairs while offering endless supply chain operational support at every turn.
Why Choose Lean Supply Solutions as a Preferred Retail Distribution and Warehousing Center
Lean Supply Solutions is one of the leading international retail distribution and warehousing organizations in the world. We use the most sophisticated technology available including SCPaaS to automate operational solutions and boost the overall customer experience. Contact us today to get a free quote.
Distribution centers handle product storage and shipping. They keep a detailed inventory of all incoming and outgoing goods to ensure complete accuracy and efficiency of every shipment. Warehousing and distribution services also handle order fulfillment, take stock of inventory, and ship out items. These distribution center processes are typically carried out on a tight schedule.
To accommodate the constant flux of incoming and outgoing shipments, distribution centers are typically equipped with a loading dock, storage area (kind of like a warehouse) and a shipping area. Efficiency, accuracy, and organization are all imperative characteristics of fully functional e-commerce distribution services to ensure smooth operations at all times.
What Does the Distribution Center Process Entail?
This includes inventory restocking/replenishment to guarantee that there’s always enough product stored for order fulfillment and shipping when it’s needed. During especially busy times like the holidays or even lockdown when most people are forced to order items online, proper inventory management through e-commerce distribution services is especially important.
Failing to thoroughly track inventory, predict demand for certain items, or restock in-demand items can cause serious issues like prolonged backorders and stockouts or out-of-stock events. Stockouts and out-of-stock events occur when there isn’t enough inventory supply to meet large demand and the stock is completely exhausted until a new order can be placed with the manufacturer.
Pick and Pack Fulfillment Services
Unlike warehouses which merely store inventory for indiscriminate periods of time, distribution centers typically move at a much faster pace. Distribution centers are responsible for direct order fulfillment, product mixing, packaging, cross-docking, and more. Products in distribution centers typically have a shorter shelf life or expiration date and need to be delivered as quickly as possible, whereas warehouse inventory can be stored for a longer period of time. That’s where a good pick and pack fulfillment process comes in handy.
Returns are a normal part of commerce, whether it’s online or in-store shopping. However, the process is a little more complicated for e-commerce businesses than brick-and-mortar ones.
E-commerce businesses rely on distribution centers to handle returns for them through an RMA system. RMA systems are essential for managing e-commerce returns because they make the process a lot smoother and easier for customers and businesses. Businesses can and should provide return shipping labels for customers to send unwanted items back.
RMA systems also make it easier to process returns, issue refunds, and issue product exchanges. Making the return process as seamless as possible also ensures customer satisfaction and can aid in customer retention for future purchases.
Restocking and Auditing
One major distribution center benefit is that they take care of inventory restocking/replenishment and auditing on behalf of businesses. Distribution centers must keep a detailed record of all current incoming and outgoing inventory to guarantee that there are no product shortages.
You want to make sure that you always have a sufficient supply of product to meet the demand. Distribution centers must work closely with warehouses to ensure that inventory records are always kept up to date and that all shipments go out according to schedule. Working with multiple warehouses means that distribution centers need to keep the lines of communication open at all times across all channels.
Using a secure cloud-based network of state-of-the-art inventory auditing and tracking systems is an effective way of ensuring you always have enough product to meet the demand. Failing to restock products in time or not preparing to meet the demands of your customers can result in what’s known as a split shipment, which is when products that have multiple items are shipped separately as the parts become available. While most customers are understanding about this as long as you explain the situation to them, it can cause a huge inconvenience and customer dissatisfaction if they needed the item shipped immediately.
Overstocking is just as detrimental as understocking as you could be sitting on large amounts of inventory for a long time. Overstock items can end up costing you money because they take up space in the warehouse that could be used for more popular items. Companies typically have to sell these items at a discounted rate just to get rid of them. Working with a prominent supply chain company like Lean Supply Solutions can help you avoid under and overstocking product.
Benefits of Choosing Lean Supply Solutions’ Distribution Centers
At Lean Supply Solutions, we have a customer-focused protocol that’s dedicated to not only storing products, but also meeting and exceeding customer expectations to the best of our ability. Here are a few reasons why you should work with us.
We’re partnered with trusted transportation companies that enable us to provide our customers with cost-effective and efficient shipping solutions, so that we can get products out to end-customers as quickly and safely as possible.
Meet Clients’ Specific Requirements
Every client is unique and has their own set of shipping requirements. We use a detailed Warehouse Management System that records all client information, so that we can effectively manage and fulfill orders according to end-customer specifications.
Reduce Overall Distribution Costs
With a strong commitment to eliminating waste throughout every step of our supply chain and distribution process, we’re focused on improving our organization’s performance one step at a time. And it all starts with cutting down unnecessary expenditures that are eating away at your budget.
Integrated with Powerful Technology
We use a versatile and secure series of cloud-based technological networks that are designed to be effortlessly integrated with the platforms used by our customers. Our customers can synchronize their online ordering platforms with our network, so that any orders placed on your website will be redirected to our system immediately.
Reliable and Experienced Partner
Our mantra is “produce the right products and provide the right services at the required time in the required quantities with consistency and predictability”—and we stand by it. Over the years, we’ve proven our loyalty and capability to adapt to and integrate evolving technological components into our business model to make our logistics protocols as easily accessible to our clients as possible.
Why Choose Lean Supply Solutions as Your Preferred Distribution Center?
Using our incomparable industry experience and knowledge, we can help you streamline your e-commerce or brick-and-mortar distribution processes significantly. By employing sophisticated SCPaaS cloud computing technology, Lean Supply Solutions can help you update inventory levels, process order fulfillments, process refunds, boost customer experience, and process payments quickly. Contact us today to learn more.
Since its inception in the 1980s, the supply chain management industry has been faced with a great many challenges. Many of these challenges were the driving force behind some of the most advanced technological developments in modern history. The COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing global economic downturn turned the industry on its head, but mostly for the better.
Here are some of the top logistics trends in 2021 that will inevitably shape the future of the industry as a whole.
Need for Green Logistics in Supply Chain Management
There’s a growing need for more green practices and solutions in the logistics and supply chain management industry. Green technology has always been a domineering and prevalent force in the global economy, but the need for these advancements has never been more amplified. Countries across the globe are vying for more eco-friendly and efficient modes of transporting goods, including COVID-19 vaccines. Hence, the value of electric and solar-powered transport vehicles is undeniable.
People in general are more eco-conscious these days and sustainability is a major driving force in their purchasing decisions. Moreover, current supply chain forecasts indicate that logistics companies are leaning toward more circular practices that promote lower overhead and operating costs, material waste reductions, and repurposing reusable materials to focus on lowering overall environmental impacts.
Supply Chain Resilience during COVID-19
If there’s one positive factor that emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic it’s the unwavering ingenuity and tenacity that was and continues to be demonstrated by various supply chain services. Companies the world over were forced to completely revamp their entire supply chain operations to adjust to the demand for new health and safety protocols involving the delivery of goods and services. Many of them more than rose to the occasion by offering a variety of safe delivery solutions that satisfied this need.
Increase in Omni-Channel Logistics and Contactless Deliveries
Long before the pandemic, e-commerce businesses were already seeing a massive surge in online orders. COVID-19 forced supply chains and the businesses that rely on them to take on an expansive omni-channel approach to order shipment and fulfillment.
The most prevalent modification to services rendered was the addition of contactless delivery and porch drop-off as an option. It’s predicted that the future of the logistics industry and supply chain management will depend largely on the continued offering of contactless delivery options to give customers greater peace of mind.
Supply Chain Digitization with Advanced Technology
Technological advancements have always been a major driving force of improving the vast supply chain and logistics landscape. Here are a few examples.
- Use of Supply Chain Platform as a Service (SCPaaS)
- Internet of Things (IoT)
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Integrated 3PL Services
Using third-party logistics management services effectively streamlines supply chain operations, ensures speed and accuracy of data input, and above all, guarantees customer satisfaction through time-saving and safe delivery protocols.
Lean Supply Solutions uses sophisticated SCPaaS cloud computing software to help clients scale their business transactions and track deliveries. We provide high-tech solutions that treat the supply chain as a vast body of interconnected networks and software systems that work together to achieve a unified objective: streamlining supply chain operations to boost customer experience and ensure the accurate transfer of data. Contact us today to learn more about our extensive contract logistics services.