Order fulfillment should be the backbone of any e-commerce company. And if your business is gaining traction, then it might be best to start looking for ways to optimize your shipping preparations. Inventory and Order Management Solutions are especially helpful during the pick and pack process.
So let’s look into the reasons why you should start using dedicated software for preparing your orders!
What is picking and packing?
The process of picking and packing means, in short, gathering the products for a Sales Order and preparing them to be shipped. In theory, it doesn’t seem like something very complicated – you just take the products and put them in a box, right?
That’s true, but unless you keep a good structure and monitor each step of the process there is a lot of room for mistakes. And in an environment where multiple operators are rushing to send orders out, it’s best to prevent any problems.
How to organize the picking process
If your e-commerce sales channel integrates with your fulfillment system, then the Sales Order will instantly be directed to the assigned warehouse. You can set the software to generate a digital or physical picking/packing slip for the warehouse staff. Barcodes may be present on the document in order to help the responsible find the right items in the correct location.
This step also includes preparing the necessary items and machinery for transporting the products. Some examples are pallets, trolleys, forklifts, etc.
2. Movements and extraction
After identifying product locations from the picking/packing slip, the operator must go and extract the exact SKUs. Because there may exist a number of variations for the same product, this part requires careful attention, in order to avoid repeating this step. Then, the worker will transport the products back to the operations desk or to the shipping station.
The products need to be inspected in order to make sure that they match the picking/packing slip. On top of this, they have to be checked for any damage or fault before they are packed and shipped. This step is essential for ensuring your customer’s satisfaction.
What you should remember for packing
Now it’s time for the fun part: placing the items in the right packaging and preparing them to be shipped. First, the operator must select the necessary packing materials, which have to fit the products’ sizing, weight, level of fragility, etc. Also, you may have multiple layers of packaging for certain orders, especially if you group products into bundles.
After that, the parcel should go through one last check to ensure compliance with the transportation service’s requirements. And this often includes preparing a custom dispatch label. It may contain details such as parcel reference number, tracking number, recipient name and address. Sometimes, companies may add contents’ SKU, information about sizing and weight, barcode(s) and others.
How to optimize pick and pack with Inventory and Order Management Software
Given everything we discussed until now, it’s obvious why picking and packing requires such rigid structuring. That’s why Inventory and Order Management Software may be the best solution for better order processing.
Let’s name the main reasons!
Instant and easy inventory tracking
First, there are multiple ways to organize your warehouse inventory depending on certain criteria. Red Stag does a great job at describing them. And even though we don’t recommend having a chaotic storage layout, using Inventory Management Software can help you track at any point where each product is. Also, it will tell you how many items and variations there are available in stock.
Efficient workflow and fewer errors
As we previously mentioned, certain items need special packaging. So in order to reduce human error, it’s best to have that specified in your system and on the picking/packing slip. This way, not only do employees use the correct packaging, but they can also process orders faster.
On top of that, having everything organized and easy to understand will help limit the number of operator movements. The staff will know from the beginning exactly what they have to get and where to go. Barcodes are especially helpful in this case because they store essential product information – most importantly the SKU and the exact location. And with wireless barcodes, the operators can move with no restrictions.
But have you thought about processing multiple orders at the same time? You can easily do that with the help of Order Management Software. With only a few clicks the warehouse staff will be ready to pick and pack everything at once.
Integrate directly with your e-shop
We mentioned integrations earlier so let’s expand on that. E-commerce providers such as Magento, WooCommerce and Shopify provide very limited features for inventory management and order processing. That’s why we recommend integrating them with an inventory management system. Not only will you be able to structure picking and packing more efficiently, but you can also optimize other steps from your workflow. For example, such software can help you manage restocking with the help of Purchase Orders.
What you should remember
Picking and packing are of utmost importance to any e-commerce. This process often determines whether the customer will be satisfied enough to order from your store again. So we recommend you take the necessary measures to optimize order fulfillment.
Now you know why inventory and order management will improve your pick and pack process, so it’s time to test it yourself. Start a free trial to discover the value of Megaventory!
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Ștefania Bulgaru is a Digital Marketer for Megaventory, the online inventory management system that can help medium-sized companies synchronize stock over multiple stores. She believes that good communication can solve almost any problem and she likes to stay up to date with the latest digital marketing technologies.