Successful order fulfillment is more than just putting a product in a box and slapping a label on it.
In fact, for most small- to medium-sized businesses, the fulfillment house that supports them is involved in a delicately choreographed dance that ensures that every player falls into place at just the right time, in just the right step, every single time. But is there really a secret to successful order fulfillment?
Moving Toward an Information-Driven Supply Chain
As the software and hardware required to maintain an increasingly complex supply chain becomes increasingly complex itself, many companies are suffering from problems caused by incomplete or unsuccessful integration of layers upon layers of new thinking in how supply chains should function.
Functionally, the end result becomes a supply chain that doesn’t function—not in any way that’s useful, by any account. Instead of customers getting better service, systems are bogged down even more, supply chains are increasingly fragmented and no one is happy.
Instead of pancaking updates, what should happen is simple: systems need to move to an information-first focus so that future software packages can act as an overlay, thus saving companies costly and time consuming system overhauls.
The secret to order fulfillment, after all, has always been data—and lots of it. Not only should you know where your products are, where they’re headed and how long it’s taking to get them from here to there, these are some important things to keep in mind for your data-driven value chain:
Channel demand. Where your orders are coming from are as important as where they’re going to. After all, having solid data on a customer’s purchase trajectory makes it easier to predict future order behavior. In addition, if you notice that more customers are using your website than your app, it might be time to dedicate a little more spend to your website’s marketing, or vise-versa.
On-time deliveries. Order promising continues to be a massive global challenge, even if it’s getting better on the domestic front. Tools can allow retailers and manufacturers to connect in real time and with complete transparency in their processes to help determine accurate future delivery dates. Even if your customers are just down the street, you or your 3PL can still advantage of Transportation Management Systems (TMS) to better direct shipping traffic to ensure your packages are delivered on time, every time.
Improved Order Orchestration. When you’re dealing with orders that are coming in from multiple systems, it’s easy for things to get lost or orders to go astray. With order orchestration tools in play, your systems don’t require a full blown overhaul in order to bring all your information together under one umbrella and make it easy for everyone to see at a glance.
The secret to order fulfillment is simple: fulfilling your orders as promised, every day, without fail. Unfortunately, the larger your enterprise, the bigger the undertaking this simple-sounding charge becomes. By focusing on an information-first approach, however, your supply chain will get smarter and easier to operate at peak efficiency.