Pick, pack and ship — these three little words might not mean much to you, but they mean everything to your successful product fulfillment. As a seasoned 3pl service, we find that pick, pack and ship is a crucial option for growing companies to leverage.
When you’ve finally grown your company to the point that you no longer just deal with the odd shipment here and there, it’s time to consider a partnership with a fulfillment service. These shipping specialists streamline the ordering process, whether your customers buy using your online shopping cart, call in from a catalog or send you orders via carrier pigeon.
WHAT IS PICK, PACK AND SHIP?
Pick, pack and ship is the process of grabbing the right item, choosing the right box and packing materials and then shipping it off to the customer.
It may sound simple, but there’s actually a very detailed system in the background that ensures your item arrives on time and in perfect condition. Pick, pack and ship may start with kitting and sorting. Kits are items that are frequently sold together, so to speed up the process, fulfillment companies combine these items into one box or bag and assign a single identification number (called a SKU) to it.
At the same time the kits are being built, the rest of your inventory is given unique identification numbers so that each item can be located quickly. Whether your logistics partner uses a robotic warehouse or employs individuals, these numbers help track inventory, tell the company when you need to reorder a popular product and eliminate picking errors.
BENEFITS OF PICK, PACK AND SHIP
There are several benefits of implementing an efficient pick, pack, and ship process in your business. If you run an ecommerce business, you may already be familiar with some of these factors:
- Improved Efficiency: A streamlined pick, pack, and ship process minimizes errors, reduces handling time, and optimizes workflow. According to a study by McKinsey & Company, companies that prioritize supply chain digitization and automation, including pick, pack, and ship processes, can achieve a 45% reduction in order-to-delivery time and a 20% increase in order accuracy.
- Greater Customer Satisfaction: Fast and accurate order fulfillment is crucial for customer satisfaction. By promptly picking, properly packing, and swiftly shipping orders, you can meet or even exceed customer expectations, leading to positive reviews, repeat purchases, and increased customer loyalty.
- Time and Resource Savings: Outsourcing pick, pack, and ship operations to a 3PL provider can save you valuable time and resources. You can focus on core business activities like marketing, product development, and customer engagement, while leaving the logistics to experts who specialize in order fulfillment.
- Scalability and Flexibility: As your business grows, maintaining an efficient pick, pack, and ship process becomes increasingly important. A well-designed system allows you to handle higher volumes without sacrificing accuracy or speed. Plus, a 3PL partner can offer scalability and adaptability to seasonal fluctuations or unexpected surges in demand.
- Cost Optimization: An optimized pick, pack, and ship process can help reduce operational costs. By minimizing errors and improving inventory management, you can avoid costly returns, replacements, and inventory write-offs. Efficient packing techniques can also lead to savings in packaging materials and shipping costs.
- Real-Time Visibility: With modern order management systems and technology, you can have real-time visibility into your inventory levels, order status, and shipping details. This visibility enables you to track orders, proactively address issues, and provide accurate information to customers regarding their shipments.
TYPES OF PICK, PACK AND SHIP
There are different types of pick, pack, and ship methods used in order fulfillment processes, depending on the nature of the business and the specific requirements. Here are some common types:
- Batch Picking: In batch picking, multiple orders are grouped together, and a picker collects all the items required for those orders simultaneously. This method improves efficiency by reducing travel time within the warehouse or storage area.
- Zone Picking: Zone picking involves dividing the warehouse or fulfillment center into distinct zones, and each picker is assigned a specific zone. Pickers are responsible for picking items only from their designated zones. Once the items are collected, they are brought together for packing and shipping.
- Wave Picking: Wave picking is a method where orders are released in waves or batches at specific intervals. Pickers focus on completing the assigned orders within each wave. This method helps balance workload and optimize picking efficiency.
- Discrete Picking: Discrete picking, also known as order-by-order picking, involves picking items for individual orders one at a time. Each order is processed separately, and pickers retrieve items based on the specific requirements of each order.
ORGANIZATION AND SPEED ARE VITAL
To speed up the process even more, your most popular items and any flyers or catalogs you want to send along with the order are stored near one another. When your order is picked, the picker can grab everything they need quickly. Speed is key, the sooner your orders are picked and packed, the faster they’ll ship out and the happier your customers will be.
Speaking of packing, that’s the next step — and it’s a place where you can save a lot of money. Instead of shipping your items out in random boxes, your logistics partner knows exactly what size boxes work best with what shippers. These standard-sized boxes save money on shipping and help prevent extra inspections that may slow your shipment down — standard-sized boxes and lightweight packing materials are a potent combination when it comes to the “ship” part of pick, pack and ship.
Pick, Pack, Ship and Relax with ShipWizard in Your Corner
Running an Internet-based company or a catalog-based company can be a complicated ordeal without the right systems in place to store, retrieve and address your products. In the early phase of their business, smaller online retailers may choose to follow the pick, pack, and ship process within their own home or office space. However, there is an inflection point where outsourcing pick, pack, and ship processes just makes sense. Hiring a logistics expert will speed up your processes and ensure your customers keep coming back. ShipWizard would be happy to take over order fulfillment for your business; please contact us today to discuss your needs.