There is only one way to know if your company is getting what it needs from its third-party logistics provider: fulfillment reports. These reports are essentially measurements of certain benchmarks and are necessary for ongoing evaluations of your progress with that partnership. Your company is unique, so you’ll need customized third-party logistics metrics to help you find solutions for optimization. Here’s how fulfillment services and reports can help you make your business work better.
Types of Reporting
Real-Time Inventory and Order Reports
The purpose and benefit of fulfillment reports is that they can show you in real-time when your customers order, what they order, and the status or count of inventory in your warehouse. This information is used to provide you with the data you need to manufacture and deliver products in record time, so customers get their orders when they expect to. Additionally, shrinkage is one of the biggest issues in a retail market, which is why you need to know how well your fulfillment partner is handling and protecting your inventory. Reports will reflect all of these metrics.
Usage reports are a great way for your company to learn about your customers and fulfillment partner’s habits over a certain period of time based on data generated. These reports can help you predict patterns, correct errors, and alter your processes to be more efficient. Usage reports give you the information you need to have better control of your systems.
Expense reports detail the items that your fulfillment provider purchased for the sake of your business and the costs of each item. These reports are very important for you to get an understanding of what aspects of your business you can scale back on to save, and which areas require more investing. Expense reports can help you plan your strategy accordingly, and will allow you to spot errors early to prevent them from reoccurring. Some of the information fields in an expense report include the following:
- Date that the expenditure was incurred (receipt date)
- Nature of the expense
- Amount of the expense
- Account charged for the expense
- Subtotal of each type of expense
- Grand total of the amount of reimbursement requested
Optimization According to Fulfillment Reports
Here are some of the specific ways you can optimize your business with the help of fulfillment reports from your third-party logistics provider.
There are several factors that influence a product’s velocity (the rate of which the item moves through the supply chain). These factors include seasonality, availability of good labour, recent marketing promotions, and the weather. Patterns emerge as more data is collected, so you can make predictions and adjust your inventory to suit demand. Inventory adjustments can be made in real time to gain an advantage in your supply chain.
Identifying Error-Making Carriers
When it comes to choosing your carrier, there are more choices available now than ever before. It’s wise to negotiate contracts and compare them to others, but this can be a tedious process. A good way to gauge a carrier’s speed and reliability is by generating reports on various performance indicators. These may include frequency of invoicing errors and number of delayed deliveries. If you notice carriers that continue to make invoicing errors, you know to stay clear of them.
Product Addition or Removal
In some cases, available data may not be sufficient to capture a clear pattern. However, if sales trends show that an item is heading downward, you can assume it is losing popularity. You can use this information and decide not to restock the item.
Find Where You Can Save Money
Sometimes it can be challenging to find areas where you can save money, but this is an important aspect to include as you strive for optimization. The data collected in your reports may be enough to make the right adjustments, but you can ask yourself the following questions to help you decide where to cut back:
- When is labour needed more often? When do I notice an oversupply of workers and when should extra workers be sent home?
- Are there better ways to reduce picking time for larger items?
- Which venders have the tendency to short-ship or ship damaged items?
- Which carriers are the best options in which regions?
Choose Lean Supply Solutions for Your Fulfillment Reports
At Lean Supply Solutions, you can benefit from quality and accurate fulfillment reports that help you make wiser decisions about optimizing your supply chain. We are a third-party logistics provider in Toronto, and our Lean Methodology helps our clients eliminate any operations, equipment, personnel, or resources that do not add value to their supply chains. We do our best to ensure that you consistently deliver the right products to the right customers at the right time.
When you outsource your fulfillment to us, you can benefit from long-term savings, customer satisfactions that deliver the best return on investment, lower operating costs, improved focus, high-end technology, and more. Our services also include warehousing and distribution, pick and pack, repackaging, integrated solutions with companies like Amazon, labelling, online reporting, transportation, and more! You can trust us to provide consistent, predictable, and quality results. Contact us today to learn more!
Fulfillment centres provide a great option for businesses to expand their fulfillment capabilities. For businesses that have an online store, outsourcing fulfillment is a great way for them to streamline their operations and provide better service overall. E-commerce fulfillment has made it easier for customers to get the products they want at the best price, but, as a business owner, you need to be able to deliver on those promises. With the right logistics provider, you can gain access to limitless scalability and a worldwide customer base. Here are some of the ways that a fulfillment centre can boost your business.
What Is a Fulfillment Centre?
A fulfillment centre is essentially a warehouse or physical space that processes and fulfills orders made by customers. When a customer places an order from an e-commerce retailer, the company will gather the purchased items from inventory, package and label them, and give them to a shipping carrier to be delivered to the customer. Depending on how many orders your business gets, you could be spending a huge amount of your time preparing shipments for your customers. The more orders you get, the greater the risk of error as you try to meet the demand. Therefore, if you’re trying to manage your inventory yourself, you should consider partnering with a third-party logistics provider. Giving this responsibility to them prevents you from making costly mistakes and lowers the number of items that end up on backorder.
Fulfillment Centre vs. Warehouse
When you partner with a third-party logistics provider, each customer’s order information goes directly to them. The fulfillment centre already has your inventory in their warehouse, so they will take the purchase orders, package them, and hand them over to be shipped and delivered to the customer. This entire warehousing process can be taken off your shoulders, and in most cases, it can be completed quicker and more efficiently. Fulfillment centres are designed to do this task in a fast, efficient, and cost-effective manner. They have the capacity to process various orders, and can scale to peak and low seasons.
Although the term fulfillment centre is often used interchangeably with warehouse centre, the two are very different. A warehouse is simply a storage solution that is used to hold a business inventory for a certain amount of time. This is the best option for retailers who need to stock large quantities of their products or who have diverse inventory. On the other hand, a fulfillment centre provides multiple services, including those that a warehouse does. In addition to storing a business’ inventory, a fulfillment centre will do the process of fulfilling customer orders. They will pick the product, package them, label them for shipment, and ensure that they are sent to the customer. The fulfillment process is more in depth and takes a bigger burden off your shoulders. It also helps your business meet and fulfill customer orders.
Benefits of Fulfillment Centres
- With the help of a fulfillment centre, you won’t have to seek out physical space for your inventory or flood your home with items.
- They will handle your inventory, so you won’t have to pack boxes and run to the post office to fulfill customer orders.
- They will negotiate with shipping carriers to give you the best rates and costs.
- They speed up the order fulfillment process and they provide you with same-day or next-day shipping to your customers.
- Your inventory will be properly organized and stored and you will have a real-time view of what you have in stock.
- They will handle returns and exchanges to save you time and energy.
- They can save you money by building your storage and shipping solutions from one place.
- By taking on your inventory management and warehousing and fulfillment, you can focus on other important tasks such as growing your business through marketing, product development, and customer service.
Things to Consider when Choosing a Fulfillment Centre
When choosing the fulfillment centre you want to partner with, here are some areas to consider and some tips to help you make the right selection for you:
- Take some time to look at your current inventory and shipping process—find out what problems exist.
- Do some research about your options for a 3PL provider in your region.
- Compare the services provided by each option.
- Reduce your list to your top three preferences and then dig deeper.
- Consider how compatible they are to your existing management software.
- Plan ahead for scalability and choose a provider that can accommodate your changing business needs.
- Choose a provider with multiple locations, so you can keep costs low and optimize your efficiency.
- Find a provider with multiple industry references and customer satisfaction.
- Negotiate the pricing with your chosen 3PL partner based on what service packages work best for your needs.
Let Lean Supply Solutions Handle Your Fulfillment Processes
There are many benefits of hiring a 3PL provider, including those mentioned above. While they take care of your fulfillment and warehousing responsibilities, you can take care of your core goals such as communicating with your customers, boosting your sales and marketing strategy, and ensuring that you are doing everything you can to reach your goals. If you are looking for the right company to partner with, Lean Supply Solutions is the answer. We rise to the challenge of meeting our clients’ needs through our services which include product fulfillment, warehousing and distribution, e-commerce fulfillment, warehouse pick and pack, order fulfillment, and more. To learn more about outsourcing your fulfillment and warehousing in Toronto to our team, or to ask any questions, contact us today.
Are you thinking about starting an e-commerce business? Have you been selling products for a few years and are now ready to consider a warehousing and distribution solution? If your sales are rising and you’re wondering if you have the tools in place to scale, there are some important things to be aware of. Partnering with a third-party logistics provider is one of the best options for a growing business—here’s how you can tell if you’re ready.
Running and staffing your own warehouse may not be the most cost-effective and efficient choice if your order numbers fluctuate throughout the year. Logistics providers can scale to meet your needs, so you don’t waste a cent. They will provide increased personnel and attention when orders are high and scale back when orders are low. With their software, they can record data that helps you predict when you need to order more inventory and when to slow down.
No Time to Manage
If your fulfillment duties are taking up all your time—so much that you are unable to focus on initiatives that would improve operations and increase sales—you need help. A fulfillment partner can take over the role of ensuring your daily warehouse operations are properly managed so you can have more time to focus on your strategic work.
Lack of Infrastructure
A quickly growing business may outgrow its current infrastructure before you’re able to adapt, which is another reason why you can benefit from partnering with a logistics provider. They are better equipped to make adjustments to suit changes in your supply chain.
Contact Lean Supply Solutions for Outsourced Supply Chain Services
There are many benefits of hiring a 3PL provider—they can help you ensure you are giving your customers quality customer service by providing accurate inventory counts; they can help get your orders to your customers on time; they can get you better rates and provide excellent services to meet the needs of your growing business; and they can manage your entire supply chain so you can focus on other core aspects of your business.
As a growing business, you can benefit from their efficiency, talent, and resources, as well as reap the benefits of their supply chain management software and technology to increase visibility and communication between you and everyone in your business network.
If you are looking for the right company to partner with, look no further than Lean Supply Solutions. We rise to the challenge of meeting our clients’ needs through our services, which include product fulfillment, warehousing and distribution, e-commerce fulfillment, warehouse pick and pack, order fulfillment, and more. To learn more about outsourcing to our supply management in Toronto, or to ask any questions, contact us today.
What could a third-party logistics provider possibly bring you? If it seems like managing your own warehouse will give you better cost savings and control, think again. For any business that expects growth, a 3PL provider offers endless benefits and solutions that help you run a better supply chain and stay competitive. Here are the top five benefits of teaming up with these experts.
1. Saves Time
Managing your supply chain will take up a lot of your time because you will have multiple responsibilities to manage and optimize. If your business is growing, you should consider partnering with a third-party logistics provider. They can shoulder that entire workload so that you can focus on your core business. Their experience can also help you avoid costly shipping mistakes that take even more time and resources to resolve.
2. Avoid Long-Term Leases
Another advantage of working with a third-party logistics provider is that they offer flexible pricing. As your business grows or enters periods where things are slow, your provider will adapt to your needs and adjust the costs accordingly. If you try to save money up front by renting your own warehouse space, you may end up wasting money and getting stuck with a longer commitment. Many 3PL companies don’t require long-term fixed leases. Instead, you can pay month to month for space that you use, which saves you money and gives you more control.
3. No Staff Is Required
Choosing to run your own warehouse may sound like a good idea; however, you will need to hire staff to fulfill and ship your orders. Managing your staff will take up valuable time. The benefit of working with a 3PL provider is that they will be responsible for finding and hiring the right people for every job. They have their own warehouse staff and personnel who can handle all the labour required, including receiving, inventory management, order processing, and shipping.
4. Optimized Operations
A 3PL partner will ensure that every aspect of your supply chain is working its best. They will utilize the latest techniques and technologies to constantly update and implement best practices throughout the supply chain.
5. Reduces Cost
Like any smart business owner, you want to find ways to save money without compromising your effectiveness. In the long run, partnering with a 3PL company can save you money as your business grows. You can benefit from their efficiencies and leverage their buying power on packaging and shipping costs. You will also save money on employee cost and taxes, warehousing costs, and overall rates.
Contact Lean Supply Solutions for Supply Chain Management
Working with a 3PL provider can help you deal with multiple challenges that a growing business will face. With our experience in strategizing the supply chain, we can provide you with many benefits as we handle your warehousing and distribution.
If you are looking for the right company to partner with, Lean Supply Solutions is the answer. We rise to the challenge of meeting our clients’ needs through our services which include product fulfillment, warehousing and distribution, e-commerce fulfillment, warehouse pick and pack, order fulfillment, and more. To learn more about outsourcing to our supply management in Toronto, or to ask any questions, contact us today.
Warehousing and distribution services have never been more complicated than they are today. The digitization of the warehouse, the rise in customer expectations regarding delivery and customer service, and the competition of markets put a strain on overall operations. Here are the top 10 warehousing mistakes that many organizations make, and how you can avoid them to run a better business.
1. Lack of Inventory Accuracy
The most important responsibility in your warehouse management is inventory accuracy. Without using a warehouse management system or inventory management system, you will face serious challenges in your supply chain. Managing your inventory levels and ensuring accuracy between all your locations will not be possible without proper planning and software.
2. Failure to Optimize Picking Paths
Another common mistake organizations make is poor optimization of order picking paths in the warehouse. The most variable aspect in your warehouse is the cost of labour, and it can impact your profitability. You need to be sure that your warehouse workers are operating as efficiently as possible. To make the best use of their time and energy, you should carefully study the location of your items in relation to their pick speed. You should place products that are often picked together in close vicinity to each other as much as possible. Achieving this type of analysis can be very complicated, but with the right software packages you can resolve this challenge.
3. Holding Excess Inventory
A good practice when managing your warehouse is to reduce your inventory on a regular basis. When you hold excess inventory, you increase the chances that you have money stuck in stock. Items that sit at the back of your warehouse can become obsolete and forgotten, preventing you from making profits off those items. Reduce the levels of inventory as much as you can to gain a leaner supply chain. You can do this by receiving large orders in smaller batches.
4. Lack of Safety Policies
If your employees are constantly getting injured, they will need to spend more time off work or will work slowly to prevent their injuries from getting worse. If you try to cut corners or look the other way when there are workplace safety issues, you are making a grave mistake. Worker compensation claims can cost you a lot of money. Instead of waiting to apologize after an event like this, get proactive by optimizing your safety practices. Do your best to ensure that your workers are in a safe environment when they walk into work, and take the time to keep them up to speed on current safety procedures.
5. Poor Housekeeping
Messy warehouses aren’t just hazardous, but they also obstract the flow of goods and people, reducing productivity. Establish a housekeeping routine by regularly tidying up and cleaning after every shift. This will allow the next shift to be more productive as they begin working in an organized and clean environment.
6. Neglecting Goods-in-Process
It can seem overwhelming to dispatch customer orders on time, but this pressure should not cause you to neglect the goods-in-process aspect of your supply chain. To avoid neglecting this process, assign dedicated staff to ensure that it is effectively maintained. Make sure that you have enough people responsible for receiving the goods.
7. Failing to Measure the Right Things
It’s easy to get caught up in the obvious responsibilities of managing your warehouse, which is why many organizations forget to measure less obvious operations properly by overlooking important key performance indicators. One of these operations that are often forgotten is the goods receiving process. Good warehouse management means that you need to pay close attention to your entire environment, all the people involved, and every process.
8. Sticking to the Paper Process
There is no reason that you should still be using paper to document your workflow. There are so many options available in the digital realm that can optimize your documentation. Embrace the technology that is available to you by installing effective software to manage your data and inventory. It will also help you gain better visibility, so you know exactly where your products are at all times, how much you have in stock, and when you need to restock or filter out an obsolete item.
9. Lack of Proper Staff Development and Training
Another big challenge in warehousing is employee turnover. When a worker leaves an organization, there is a significant cost that comes along with it. Employees leave for various reasons, but one common reason is because they don’t believe they are receiving the right amount of training and development opportunities to exceed expectations and grow. Employees that do not receive training and development opportunities also affect you. Without proper training, they’re more prone to mistakes, thereby reducing quality and increasing inefficiency in your supply chain. You should ensure that there are detailed training plans for each position, and that every employee has a career development plan that is specific to their goals.
10. Failing to be Ready for the Future
You will set yourself up for failure if you don’t plan for the future. If your company isn’t constantly growing and evolving, it will eventually fall on its face. Although growth rates are different depending on the industry and company you manage, you should still consider your future growth plans. Ask yourself questions such as, how can we expand our current processes, what new technologies are available to help me be more efficient, and does our current infrastructure support growth?
How Lean Supply Solutions Can Help You
Lean Supply Solutions provides quality warehousing and distribution in Canada, California, and other parts of the USA. We are aware of the rising trends, technologies, and challenges organizations like yours faces each year and we can help you track and understand your metrics better. We commit to staying up to date on our clients’ operational challenges and strive to help them get the most out of their processes. We offer consistent, accurate, and quality results by ensuring that the right products are provided to the right customers at the right time, while saving you money. Our services include warehouse pick-and-pack, contract logistics, manufacturing support, technology, warehousing distribution services, e-commerce fulfillment, consulting, and more. To learn more about our warehouse value-added services, or to ask any questions, contact us today!