Today’s ecommerce landscape requires pick and pack operations to move faster and more efficiently – and with industry giants offering same-day delivery, consumers expect fast service and a seamless experience. Plus, it would be best if you moved inventory quickly to reduce inventory carrying costs. If you can get your products off the shelves and ready to ship with zero error, then that’s half the fulfillment battle already won.
Here are our tips for quick picking and packing:
- Organized shelving. Streamline the pick and pack process with organized shelving. We know it sounds almost too basic to include in this list, but you’d be surprised at how many warehouses still lack neat, well-organized shelving. The longer it takes to locate a product, the more you stand to lose as an ecommerce merchant. Know which of your products move fast and make them easily accessible. Keep things at an easy-to-reach level, and avoid placing heavy/sharp/large objects on high shelves. No one wants a giant shoe rack or a surfboard falling on their heads! Your shelves should also be organized and labeled in a way that makes products easy to locate. Plus, each product/shelf should have labels, sizes, and SKUs printed in a legible font that catches the eye.
- Place fast-moving items near the packing station. If it’s ordered often, put it where you can reach it easily. You can even ask your supplier to pre-package so it’s ready to ship, and all you need to do is print and position the label. Consider this tactic for things like phones, mp3 players, and e-readers sold in single units and rarely purchased with other products.
- Place “frequently bought together” items near each other. Shampoo and conditioner. Cleanser, toner, moisturizer. Tablets and tablet sleeves. There are certain products which are sold separately but frequently bought together. Keep these close to each other to facilitate easy picking.
- Try kitting. Better still, try kitting products. Create new SKUs by assembling products frequently purchased together into a kit and sell these kits as a new unit. The customer gets a value-add, while you end up selling more and saving time.
- Know your inventory levels and shipping deadlines. Avoid pick-pack fails by ensuring you have enough inventory on hand to fulfill orders and that you have enough time to meet your shipping deadlines. You need to be in regular contact with your suppliers and manufacturers about stock levels and inventory movement to ensure that things move smoothly. Technology that updates in real-time and provides timely notification will ensure that your suppliers are in the loop and customers know when to expect their package.
- Use right-sized packaging. Shipping costs are based on package dimensions and weight. When your packaging outsizes the contents, this sends the wrong message to your customer. Not only is it a waste of packing materials, but it also more expensive to ship. An oversized box is less likely to protect the contents from bouncing around in transit too. Delight your customers with a great unboxing experience.
- The right staff makes a difference. The people involved in the operation make all the difference. You need to hire right and train well. Your team should meet the demands of the job, which include being on their feet for long hours, wrapping and handling packages, and understanding seasonal fluctuations. And above all else, your staff should know the brand and the products well so that consumers have a seamless experience from the moment they place an order until the time they receive it.