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Technology and Order Fulfillment: Understanding the Process

Are you curious about how order fulfillment works?

Order fulfillment refers to the process of packaging and delivering products to customers.

If you operate an e-commerce company, you likely already do some form of order fulfillment. 

It's possible to fulfill orders in-house or to outsource these services. While there are values to both methods, outsourcing fulfillment can be a cost-effective way of streamlining the shipping and handling process.

When you outsource order processing, you entrust your inventory to fulfillment professionals. An effective order fulfillment process itself relies heavily on technology for success.

Understanding the relationship between fulfillment and technology can help business owners understand the process itself. Read on for insight into this relationship!

Technology and the Order Fulfillment Process

Advances in technology are rapidly changing the way supply chains operate and fulfillment solutions are no exception.

This is good news for business owners and manufacturers!

After all, the faster you can locate and allocate inventory, the faster you can deliver your products to your customers. If you are also able to deliver well-packaged, high-quality products to your clients, you are likely generating high customer satisfaction.

The more satisfied your customers are, the more solid your reputation as a company. And this is only likely to lead to more orders (and more sales!).

Technology has improved every step of the order fulfillment process. These steps include inventory management and distribution, warehousing solutions, and product delivery.

Yet tech also influences other things that can impact order fulfillment. Technology is changing the landscape of marketing and sales, for example, which have everything to do with the way you demand plan and process orders.

Let's look closer at all of these technical components of the order fulfillment process.

Inventory Management and Distribution

It is possible to manage product inventories without using any tech whatsoever. In fact, humans have been managing inventories tech-free since the stone age!

With the use of cloud based inventory management software, however, it's possible to manage inventories with almost zero human intervention. 

For one thing, such technology can receive and process orders almost instantaneously. They can also provide accurate, real-time updates on inventory supply levels.

Digitizing inventory management has the added benefit of minimizing backorders, predicting order volumes, and making the delivery process more efficient.

You may already be using inventory management software. If you are an e-commerce business owner, you probably use a platform like Shopify or Magento to receive and process orders.

When you outsource your order fulfillment process, providers will integrate these platforms with their warehouse management system.

The result? Real-time, error-free inventory management that can occur in seconds.

Warehousing

Most business owners assume that storing their actual products does not require much technology. But warehousing solutions make up an important technical component of order fulfillment.

In fact, it's why we offer such solutions here at Verst Logistics. And, yes, we use technology to do so!

Without technology, storing and finding products can be time-intensive. If you have to wander through warehouse aisles trying to locate a product, your customers will notice the time lag.

Warehouse management software keeps track of the physical storage and removal of inventory items. Just like inventory management programs, this software makes it easy to locate and keep tabs on certain products.

Modern machinery like conveyor belts and forklifts makes it easy to physically move these items, too. This means that order fulfillment providers can be more efficient with storage space.   

Product Delivery

Technology is at the fore when it comes to actual order processing and delivery. E-commerce platforms automatically receive orders.

The processing occurs when a product is "captured," located, scanned, and prepared for delivery.

Once again, inventory and warehouse management software streamlines these processes. These programs send out order confirmations to customers and make a record of all products ordered.

They can also send out immediate requisitions to the departments in charge of order packaging and delivery. It can even predict shipping costs, materials required for packaging, and delivery timeline.

Advanced tracking technology can keep tabs on products throughout all stages of the delivery process. What's more, customers can also "watch" their orders travel from warehouse to doorstep--in real time.

Marketing and Sales

Tech is making product distribution faster and easier. But how can it impact a business's marketing and sales departments?

Your marketing and sales departments are deeply intertwined with the way you receive and deliver orders.

It's important to market your products accurately. Product weight and dimensions need to be recorded and updated as frequently as products change.  It's also vital to generate accurate sales forecasts which determines order volume.

Technology optimizes the way data flows between all of these factors.

It can translate marketing efforts into product orders seamlessly, for one thing. For another, it can ensure real-time accuracy with profit margins and predict errors before they happen. 

How it Works With Verst Logistics

The technology involved in order fulfillment is one thing. But what about the tech that you'll engage with as a client of an order fulfillment provider?

Here's more insight into how it works with Verst Logistics--from a technological perspective.

1. Data Analysis

Technology is at work the moment a prospective client calls us. We learn all about your business, your vision, and your storage, shipping and handling needs in an initial phone conversation.

Then we use advanced software programs to analyze your data. This data analysis looks closely at inventory numbers, budgets, market needs, and more.

Based off of this analysis, we will craft a fulfillment plan that meets each client's specific needs. Data-driven plans save our clients money, most importantly.

But they also are more efficient overall, helping our clients maximize their order fulfillment from the start.  

This data analysis is also what enables us to offer accurate and comprehensive proposals for all order fulfillment plans. 

2. Platform Integration

Platform integration is the heart of optimized order fulfillment. Most of our clients already use an e-commerce platform such as Shopify or Magento, and we integrate with these and many more.

These platforms enable customers to place orders online. They also send out order confirmations to customers and business owners and retain basic information on inventory and supply levels.

We ensure that all of our clients' platforms integrate effectively with ours. In fact, we will stop at nothing to ensure our programs work together!

Seamless integration essentially ensures that everyone is on the same page. It also means that everyone can get a real-time visual of inventory, order volume, and delivery at all times.

3. Dock-to-Stock

The next step in outsourced order fulfillment involves delivering your inventory to Verst Logistics fulfillment center. This may sound like an intimidating process.

Yet technology makes this "dock-to-stock" step fast and easy. With tracking technology, we follow your inventory as it makes its way to our warehouse. 

Then we use barcode scanning and packing slip inspection to ensure all inventory items have made it to their destination. Once everything is double-checked, our inventory and warehouse management software (and our employees) set to work.

We create an item set up for each SKU.  We use your item master list to document your SKU attributes.  We make use of modern machinery to transport and safely store inventory items in a warehouse. Client products are stocked as quickly as four hours--the fastest dock-to-stock time in the industry!

Once the items are put away, and item set up is complete, customers are all set to order inventory items. Once again, our order management platforms are at the ready to receive, process, and requisition orders.

A live web interface makes it possible for all of our clients to watch this dock-and-stock process. This enables transparency on all ends and, most importantly, peace of mind.

4. Capture and Shipping

What happens when an order comes through? Our software requisitions orders, triggering the workflow needed to locate, package, and deliver orders to customers.  Pick, pack & ship!

Order "capturing" is almost instantaneous. When an order is captured, our programs register right away and make the appropriate changes to client inventory.

After that, the rest is history. E-commerce systems handle payment and receipt of sales. Automated machinery and robotics speed up the picking, packaging and labeling process.

Once a product is packaged, it is shipped via a designated carrier with advanced tracking applied. Customers are informed at every step of the way via email confirmation--and even mobile tracking.

The best part about all of this? Clients don't have to do a thing. Technology automates order fulfillment, giving business owners the time they need to focus on company growth and expansion.

Understanding The Order Fulfillment Process

The order fulfillment process can be complex. Technology naturally plays an immense role in helping businesses deliver products to their customers quickly and effectively.

Understanding the relationship between tech and order fulfillment can help clarify the process--and even shed light on the value of outsourcing fulfillment itself!

Technology streamlines all steps of order fulfillment. It turns customer orders into sales instantaneously. Management software helps businesses process and deliver packages as quickly as possible.

What's more, this software minimizes the risk of error, boosting the odds of customer satisfaction. Advanced tracking ensures that customers and business owners know where a package is at all times.

When you work with Verst Logistics, we use cutting-edge technology to guide every step of the order fulfillment process. Most importantly, we integrate your e-commerce platform with ours, making inventory management seamless.

We are proud to offer reliable, effective order fulfillment services as a result. Are you ready to receive your free quote for fulfillment services?

Request a Quote Today!

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