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How To Maximize the Warehouse Fulfillment Workflow 

   
2018-03-02 
Austin Billeter 
   
Every business strives to be successful and profitable. Developing an effective business process is essential to become more efficient and profitable. Optimizing your business process can also produce major growth and new possibilities for your company to expand. 

One of these business processes is fulfillment consisting of to following: Customer Relationship Management, Order Processing, Picking, Shipping and Mobilization Tools & Techniques. 

Each practice will be broken down to help your business understand how to perform at its highest level and stand out among its competitors.

Customer Relationship Management

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) consists of the process a company uses to track all of their contact information with current and prospective clients. In order to deliver CRM, a company must have strong financial data, leadership, and control. 

There are three main strategic capabilities your company can use to seek additional sales and higher performance. Processes, Technology, and People.

Business Processes:

In order to be successful, a company must focus on each individual customer, constantly communicating and obtaining valuable feedback to apply to future critical decisions. Companies should also focus on their relationship with channel intermediates and suppliers in order to deliver quality products to customers. Finally, companies should implement specific rules in CRM databases so that customers' behavior gives the company immediate feedback to take appropriate action.

Technology:

With vast advances in technology, companies need to utilize their resources and maximize efficiency. Companies should create a real time view of every customer, giving the company the ability to satisfy the needs of every customer affectively with the benefit of better time management. In order to appeal to every customer, companies should develop a system that knows when a customer wants to buy or sell depending on the situation.

People:

Companies must recognize that employees and customers have different needs, and in turn, try to provide for each with the value they seek from the company. Companies should allow employees more freedom and take control of their careers, thus providing these employees the incentives to develop certain skills and allowing the company to grow.

Order Processing:

Companies who have the ability to process orders quickly and efficiently can in turn reduce costs and improve customer satisfaction. There are five core practices your company can utilize to be more efficient and cost affective. These are, communication, consolidation, managing inventory, single database, and automation.

Communication:

As soon as the order comes into your warehouse, your company must make sure everyone is aware to avoid wasted time and opportunity. Each order needs to be confirmed from the point of sale through fulfillment as quickly as possible. Finally, as stated before, customer communication is key for your business must be able to respond to specific customer requests and special orders in order to develop long-standing relationships with valuable customers.

Consolidation:

Costumers have many different options on where they purchase your product. Whether at online marketplaces, your website, mobile, or call centers, all of these transactions most operate in a glitch free manner. Additionally, it is essential your company implements a single integrated system allowing everyone in your organization access to help spot possible chinks in the systems armor.

Managing Inventory:

Order processing and your inventory system go hand in hand in a business so it is crucial to keep these in sync to prevent back orders or having inventories unaccounted for. Nothing hurts a business more than being unable to fulfill a customers order.

Single Database:

Condensing all information into a single database can promote organization, better time management, and eliminates potential for error. Your company simply needs an order processing software system which consolidates all data and can be easily accessed by all employees.

Automation:

To minimize errors, human interaction should be limited as much as possible. Your order system should be able to reduce, and eventually, eliminate steps in the order process.

Picking:

The picking and packing process consists of locating and pulling product from inventory effectively in order to fill a customer order. Picking process should consist of customer order profiles and product activity profiles. Three main strategies your company can use picking effectively are order mix, order size, and order lines.

Order Mix:

By understanding the percentage of product lines and the mix of high and low product, this allows your company to plan pick area layout and staffing. Order Size: Understanding the order size of a typical customer allows you to manage and set a carton size, encouraging customers to order full carton quantities.

Order Lines:

Understanding the number of lines in each order is very important when determining picking strategies. Companies using single or multi-line orders will have a variety of different pick strategies.

Shipping and Mobilization Tools & Techniques:

Shipping and mobilization are a company's bread and butter. If there are errors in the shipping process, the product will never get to it's destination and your company could suffer the consequences. When your company is shipping and receiving your product, there are many techniques to implement insuring your product is safe every step of the way.

Receiving:

Companies must always make sure that whoever is on their receiving staff must know what they are doing. This means proper training and highly motivated employees looking to perform at maximum efficiency. Employees must also inspect incoming shipments constantly, making sure everything arrived accurately and safety. If there is an error in the shipments, the employee must hold all packaging until the issue is resolved. Finally, the employee must read the carriers report before signing, looking for anything out of the ordinary which could have affected the product along its journey.

Shipping:

Before shipping the product, employees must know the liability limits of the carrier before shipment. Everything packaged should be safe and secure along with the use of new packaging material, limiting possible damage to the product in transit. Finally, make sure all inventory numbers are continually updated allowing for error free books of account.

Here We Go!

Implementing a few of these strategies effectively in your business could produce major results creating exponential growth for your company. Each business process has a best practice to fulfill your company needs. Over time, you may tweak these practices in order to optimize production and sales allowing your business to exceed your competition! 

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