Fulfilment

How does order fulfilment work?

Order Fulfilment
Order fulfilment is basically the process followed to deliver goods and products to customers. The order fulfilment process is all the steps that a company takes to ensure this happens. From receiving a new order to it reaching your customer’s home. It involves various steps including warehousing, picking and packing the product, shipping and delivery (and then returns if necessary!). There are multiple steps involved and we are going to outline the key stages of the order fulfilment process in a digestible, easy way. 

There are five key steps in the order fulfilment process: 

  1. Receiving 
  2. Warehousing
  3. Pick and pack
  4. Shipping
  5. Returns

1. Receiving

This first step is all about your goods and products arriving at a warehouse or fulfilment centre. At this stage of the order fulfilment process, your fulfilment company or warehousing staff will add barcodes and other details to the system in order for the products to be sorted and organised correctly. 

2. Warehousing 

The next stage in the order fulfilment process is when your goods are stored and organised in the warehouse ready for orders to come in. At this point, the goods are organised so that the pick and pack process runs smoothly and efficiently and that the goods are stored effectively. Businesses will be able to monitor their stock levels in real time. 

3. Pick and pack

This is the stage in the order fulfilment process where customers orders are processed and prepared for delivery. This part of the process ensures that products are delivered safely and on time. It involves various elements like putting the orders together, ensuring the items are secure and checking for any damages. 

Items are picked from their place in the warehouse, which is made easy by highly organised and efficient tracking systems and then packed ready for delivery. The pack part of the pick and pack process secures items and prevents them from any damages. 

4. Shipping

The next stage in the order fulfilment process is all about the delivery and shipping of your items. Getting your items from A to B on time and safely and ensuring that customers are satisfied with the service. This part of the process often requires good relationships with shipping companies and other elements in order to run smoothly, particularly with large orders.

5. Returns

The last key stage in the order fulfilment process is the returns process. The fulfilment process isn’t over until the returns window finishes. If customers wish to make a return, this is also part of the fulfilment process. The returned item needs to be inspected for damage which then depends on whether it is resold or not. It is also important that this part of the process is easy for the customer. Customers are more likely to reorder from a company that has an easy returns policy. 

This basic outline of the fulfilment process touches on the key stages of the process. There are many complex and complicated details to the process that enable it to run smoothly and get those deliveries out as quickly as possible. Stock control and management, for example, is an ongoing process that happens all the time. There is also real-time reporting and the general management of the warehousing that needs to be taken into consideration. 

As a result, often, companies choose to hire a 3PL or pay for a fulfilment service to do this process for them. This is beneficial because 3PL’s and fulfilment centres are highly experienced in the process of picking and packing orders and the entire fulfilment process. This means that there is much less room for error and your customers can receive their products quickly and efficiently. 

Are you looking for some help with your order fulfilment process? Perhaps you’re an ecommerce startup and need some expert advice? Or maybe you’re expanding and can no longer pick and pack your items yourself. We have over 20 years experience in order fulfilment are happy to help. Get in touch with Complete Packaging today to find out how we can help your business. 

April 16, 2020
by 
Mark Jones
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