When used in the context of product fulfillment services, the term “accuracy” refers to a collection of quality measurements that reflect how well your order fulfillment process has met a customer’s need. In the world of e-commerce fulfillment, an order is considered “accurate” if the correct product is delivered on time, to the correct customer, and in the expected condition. This represents, in essence, the basic promise between your business and the consumer. Many elements of accuracy are handled at the warehousing and distribution levels, before the product actually ships out. Everything from shipping labels to pick-and-pack procedures to packaging materials can play a role in how accurate your shipments will be and, in turn, how strong the customer experience will be.
Accuracy Is Key to Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty
With new customers, your first impression will go a long way towards influencing how likely they are to return and shop again. This applies as much to ecommerce fulfillment as it does to brick-and-mortar shops. If you go to a restaurant and the waiter is slow, gives you the wrong food, or if the chef burns your order, are you likely to return again? How about if you buy a lemon from a car dealership? What if an online store doesn’t deliver your Christmas presents in good condition or only gets them on your doorstep in the new year? All of these scenarios represent the same essential situation and outcome: a failure of accuracy and a customer who is not likely to return. With existing or regular customers, it is important to maintain accuracy. Although a good history with your business can earn you some leeway and benefit of the doubt, all it takes is one bad experience to start souring the relationship. The perpetual flipside to e-commerce is that it is very easy for customers to start shopping elsewhere, which makes loyalty an incredibly valuable thing that should not be jeopardized.
Accuracy Reduces Costs
Even if you don’t care about customer satisfaction (good luck with that!), maintaining a high level of order accuracy can have other impacts on your business that need to be kept in mind.
Minimize Reverse Logistics
An effective reverse logistics and returns policy is something that every business should have but is not something they ever want to need. Each step of the process, from shipping the product back to repackaging and refurbishing, incurs its own costs. Although the purpose of reverse logistics is to recapture value, it is always better to be in a situation where your customer doesn’t want to return the product in the first place. Naturally, accuracy helps with this goal.
Reshipping a returned product is another part of reverse logistics, but it bears separate mention because it has other impacts on your business. Shipment carriers have a finite amount of space available, so there is a very real opportunity cost that is felt whenever you are returning products or sending a customer a repaired or replacement item. Every item that undergoes shipping and packaging as part of reverse logistics is taking up space that could have been spent on another, more profitable order. Maintaining high accuracy helps limit how often this sacrifice has to be made.
Technology and Accuracy
There are numerous ways to help improve order accuracy. Some methods are process-based while others are rooted in technology. Bar codes, for instance, can be combined with robots and sensors to quickly identify and place or retrieve items. Warehouse management systems can help provide configurable and flexible integration of the workflow to help monitor and drive accurate performances.
Look to Lean Supply Solutions for Accurate Fulfillment Services
Lean Supply Solutions is a third-party order fulfillment company in Toronto whose operations are based around the Lean Methodology, a proven philosophy focused on eliminating any operations, equipment, or resources that are not capable of adding value to clients’ supply chains. By striving to ensure that the right products are provided to the right customers at the right time, Lean Supply Solutions is able to offer consistent, accurate, and quality results. To learn more about the Lean Methodology, outsourcing to Lean Supply Solutions, or to ask any questions, give us a call at 905-482-2590.