Why ECommerce Fulfillment is Critical for Online Sellers!

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Ecommerce Fulfillment is Critical article and permission to publish here provided by Nikitha Kanumuri.

Technological advancements have made our lives more convenient. Different sectors of the economy have benefited from novel innovations; however, businesses can be considered as the biggest winners. From manufacturers to retailers, technology has greatly improved the efficiency and operations of these sectors. The emergence of ecommerce redefined how entities and their customers relate. Today, the ecommerce sector has made it easier for people to purchase their desired products hassle-free. 

The introduction of ecommerce fulfillment centers has made it easier for traders to outsource warehouse facilities and shipping services, thus making their operations much more manageable. It relieves the pressure of operating and managing the physical storage spaces. All the seller needs to do is outsource fulfillment services and the chosen company will handle the shipping and returns. 

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Machine Learning in Warehouse Management!

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Machine learning article originally published by, and permission to publish here provided by, Adam Robinson at https://cerasis.com.

Machine learning, a branch of artificial intelligence, has already been used across many industries to improve efficiency and productivity.

The technology has been in development for some time, with the uptake being slowed down by some industry’s reluctance to adopt it.

However, it’s now being used by many businesses, including logistics companies and retailers seeking help for warehouse management.

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Logistics in the Golden Age of E-Commerce!

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Golden Age article and permission to publish here provided by John Howard of couponlawn.com.

For the last two decades, the field of e-commerce fulfillment (logistics) has been going through the golden age because of the equally growing market of e-commerce providers (online sellers). However, other logistics companies improved their fulfillment game in 2018. New players in the field, such as ShipBob, presented the public with cheaper fulfillment solutions.

With all the changes in the e-commerce industry, customers are expecting faster services and response times. Amazon suddenly changed the game by introducing the 2-day shipping program of Amazon Prime. Target tried to counter this move, but Amazon launched ‘Amazon Prime Now,’ which ensures deliveries over two-hour delivery time.

After the launch of these fantastic services, customers’ demand will only increase.

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Which is Better? Amazon FBA or 3PL?

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Amazon FBA article by Dona Dimaculangan of 3P Logistics at https://www.3p-logistics.co.uk/.

E-commerce is defined as the buying and selling of products or services exclusively through electronic channels. If you’ve made an online purchase through eBay, Shopify, Amazon, and other platforms, then you have made your purchase via an e-commerce site.  More and more people spend their time browsing on the internet and the more likely they are to buy stuff online.

Admittedly, the e-commerce industry is booming. Retail e-commerce sales in the United States are projected to grow at a fast pace in the coming years, going from 322.17 billion U.S. dollars in 2016 to just over 485 billion US dollars in 2021.

Why You Need Order Fulfillment Services

 If you’re looking for a business that will eventually get you out of your 9-5 job, or looking to expand your existing business, having an online presence and web-based store could fulfill this goal. For beginners in the e-commerce trade, what do you need to do to get more sales, with a lot of online businesses competing for customers’ attention?

Amazon

Customers want products that will give the best bang for their buck with speedy delivery, and good after-sales support. Here’s where the different companies offering order fulfillment services come in.

What is an Order Fulfillment Service?

 Order fulfillment is defined as the steps involved in receiving, processing and delivering orders to end customers. A fulfillment service is defined as a third-party company that provides these order fulfillment steps on behalf of another party, such as an online seller.

Let’s look at the pros and cons of using either Amazon FBA (Fulfillment By Amazon) or a 3PL for your fulfillment needs.

Fulfillment By Amazon

 FBA, or Fulfillment By Amazon is a business model wherein e-commerce sellers on the Amazon Marketplace, big or small, can have their products stored in any of Amazon’s giant warehouses, pack and deliver them to customers, handle customer support, and returns.

FBA Pros
Expertise and Reach

 Amazon has one of the most advanced e-commerce fulfillment service in the world, can help you scale-up or grow your business and as of the last measured period, the source estimated 90 million paying Amazon Prime subscribers in the United States, up from 63 million in June during the previous year.

Amazon Prime customers are eligible for 2-Day Shipping, Free Shipping and other benefits. If you sign up your products for Amazon Prime, your products are eligible for free shipping, too.

Customer Service and Returns

FBA handles customer service and returns. Listings are displayed with the Prime logo, so customers know that Amazon handles packing, delivery, customer service, and returns.

They handle the fulfillment services side of the business and saves your time, so you can focus on the other aspects of your business.

Multi-Channel Fulfillment

With Multi-Channel Fulfillment, you can fulfill orders from other sales channels using your inventory stored in Amazon order fulfillment centers. Single-source your inventory to streamline your fulfillment operations, manage your inventory through an online user interface and can direct Amazon to return your inventory in e-commerce fulfillment centers at any time.

Cons of using FBA
Customization

Little to no order customization. Sellers must comply with existing Amazon .processes.

Branding

Items are shipped in Amazon boxes. Sellers can ship in generic boxes which may cost extra.

Warehouse Pricing

Storage fees are generally higher compared to 3PLs and usually rise during holidays.

Higher order handling fees for non-Amazon orders.

Communication

Solutions are based in standard processes which may pose little opportunity for dialogue.

Conflict of interest

The fact that Amazon may actually be a competitor to the seller. Amazon is in the business of selling, they just happen to offer shipping services. For Amazon, it’s free product and market research, and they’re making money off you.

Third Party Logistics (3PL / TPL)

Third–party logistics in logistics and supply chain management is a company’s use of third party businesses to outsource elements of the company’s order fulfillment services.

Pros of Using 3PL
Customization

Boxes/bags and all internal packaging are customized to a specific brand. Processes are adapted to your business’ operation and specification.

Warehouse Costing

Attractive storage costs that is variable. Customer pays storage space on a given month. Some 3PLs even offer free warehouse storage for a limited time.

Communication

Has onboarding processes, frequent communication before and after product launch. Collaborative approach is encouraged.

B2B (Business to Business)

Certain 3PLs can handle both B2B and B2C (Business to Consumer) fulfillment, resulting in one e-commerce fulfillment partner for all sales channels.

Cons of Using 3PL
Finding a Trustworthy 3PL company takes time.

Not all 3PL providers are created equal. It takes time to find a good company to work with from the beginning. Once you find someone you can trust, you can rest assured that your goods are being properly cared for. The initial search could be stressful but it will all be worth it once you find a reliable 3PL company.

Bad Service Reflects on Your Company

An inefficient 3PL provider could make your company look bad. Your customers do not care who is in charge of getting the product to them. All they care about is the end result. It is very important to look for a good distribution center early on to avoid customer-satisfaction issues in the future.

Amazon FBA or 3PL in Conclusion

Order Fulfillment Services are a crucial part of your business and a major factor in determining its success or failure. Whether you entrust your fulfillment services to FBA or a 3PL, there is a greater chance that you will be in good hands – these are fulfillment experts, after all.  The key difference is you as the owner,  – what do you want for your brand and what kind of customer experience you want to give to your consumers.

If you are happy to use Amazon’s existing system and tap into their wide customer reach, FBA may be a perfect fit for your company.  If, however, you would like more control over your order fulfillment services, partnering with a 3PL could be the best solution. Make sure your order fulfillment service provider is experienced with the type of operations you need before you entrust them with your reputation.

Originally written for Supply Chain Game Changer and published on March 8, 2018.

Streamline your Entire Distribution Centre or Warehouse at One Time!

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How many times have you looked at your Distribution Centre operation and thought about how you would re-layout and streamline the process flow if you had the chance?

When you are starting with a new, empty facility it is clearly much easier to layout the operations to make the best possible flow of materials and processes.  But when you have an existing operation which has evolved over a long period of time, you are likely faced with utilities, equipment, infrastructure, walls, and paradigms all of which have resulted in a rather inefficient flow of materials and people and processes.

This was the situation we had in one of our Distribution Centres. In this particular Distribution Centre the current layout of the operation had been the result of many iterations of adding new customers, new products and new processes over time with the associated fluctuations in demand for everything.

Yet with the launch of our Global Process Excellence project we had unleashed our employees to make the improvements they had imagined could be made for a long time.

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Rise of the Warehouse Robots!

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Warehouse robots article provided by Mike Futch of Tompkins International at https://www.tompkinsinc.com/en-us/ 

Customer expectations are changing as new sales outlets are being used. With the application of social media, omni-channel and e-commerce customers now have more price options, selections, delivery methods and shopping experiences. The ability of a business to keep the customer satisfied greatly depends on fulfillment capabilities.

Progressive businesses have realized the critical nature an operations strategy has on designing a working supply chain. Combining distribution and fulfillment operations into a single facility has become the base of the supply chain network, as they allow a single location to stock a vast number of products and service multiple channels.

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The Next Generation Warehouse is Built on Data!

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Article originally published by, and permission to publish here provided by, Dave Joseph at https://veridian.info/next-generation-warehouse/

Today’s supply chains are evolving at a phenomenal rate. The next generation warehouse will deploy analytics, blockchain, robotics, drones, driverless forklifts, automated storage and retrieval systems, and much more.

Each rendition of the next generation warehouse will build on existing technologies, and these improvements have a common denominator. They all rely on fundamental data principles and the application of meaningful data.

Supply chain leaders need to understand the problems inherent in traditional warehouses and how a next generation warehouse can leverage data and technology to maximize efficiency and productivity.

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6 Ways a Warehouse Management System Boosts ECommerce ROI!

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ECommerce ROI article and permission to publish here provided by Claire Glassman.

Warehouses play a significant role in businesses that offer goods and products. Whether you have a physical or online store, they’re important since they hold these products and house your inventories.

Since they are beneficial in your business, it is only important that you have an efficient system in place. That’s where a warehouse management system (WMS) comes in.

An effective WMS can significantly improve the efficiency of your business’s daily operations and optimize your warehouse’s overall function, as well as your ECommerce ROI.

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5 E-Commerce Order Fulfillment Choices! (Infographic)

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E-Commerce order fulfillment article by Dona Dimaculangan of 3P Logistics at  https://www.3p-logistics.co.uk/.

Businesses have long since entered the E-Commerce marketplace. But how do you physically fulfill all of those online orders?

The age of technology and innovation has made E-Commerce order fulfillment business processes and solutions so readily available that it has become highly competitive.   This competition is especially apparent in the area of E-Commerce  Third-Party Logistics (3PLs).

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Types of Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) and Their Use in Warehousing!

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Autonomous mobile robots article and permission to publish here provided by Luke Goodwin.

An autonomous mobile robot (AMR) is a robot that can move around its environment without an operator or a fixed, predetermined route. An AMR uses sensors to study and understand its environment, thus using the most efficient way to perform its tasks.

AMRs use intelligent navigation to navigate around obstacles in a warehouse. Many industries are seeking ways of improving their warehouse efficiency

Automation is one of the best ways of doing so. AMRs are fast and safe, therefore ideal for the dynamic operations of a modern warehouse.

Please keep reading to understand the various types of AMRs and their applications in warehousing. 

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5 Tips For Making Warehouse Management Easier Than Ever!

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Making Warehouse Management easier article and permission to publish here provided by Eada Hudes.

If you run a warehouse, you would know of the hassles and responsibilities that go into its efficient management.

You may be doing your best, and some problem or the other still may crop up. Simply frustrating!

But, hey. That’s still normal. Just that there’s a bunch of measures that can sort your warehouse management chores, so you don’t have to feel too worked up.

Ready to read? Here are 5 useful tips for making warehouse management easier for you.

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Are Ghost Assets Haunting Your Inventory Control?

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Article written for Supply Chain Game Changer by, and permission to publish here provided by, Christina Morrison at https://www.top10erp.org/.

Imagine an asset that, instead of contributing to a business’s success, costs it money without producing return, makes it harder to get an accurate picture of performance and otherwise hinders its success.

It’s a scary picture for any business owner or employee—and for many, it’s all too real.

These assets are called ghost assets, and they’re surprisingly common. How do these assets come to haunt a business, and what can be done about them?

They’re certainly a challenge to deal with, but it’s possible through the power of technology and smart asset management.

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Worst Forklift Accident Ever and Forklift Safety! (Video)

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The first job I had at the beginning of my career was in the Materials Handling and Engineering department.  As a part of my job I was responsible for Forklift and Material Handling equipment planning.

To help me understand this area better I took the Forklift driver training course just like anyone else would have to do.  I was able to drive the truck and load and unload pallets from trucks and into and out of warehouse storage locations.

While I wouldn’t trust myself to drive a forklift these many years later I was reminded of the importance of forklift driver training and safety this week when I saw a short video of an absolutely horrendous forklift accident.

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Ways to Maximize Warehouse Storage Space!

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Warehouse storage space article and permission to publish here provided by Marvin Chandler.

With businesses booming every day, warehouses are reaching full utilization of their storage capacity. This can lead to congestion, uncomfortable work environment for the workers, damage, increased costs and time going to waste moving products around trying to make more space. This over utilization can really hamper productivity as well.

To handle this demand for storage that exceeds your capacity should you buy or rent more warehouse space? Before you decide to invest in more storage space let’s consider these tips on how to maximize the availability of the space that you already have.

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Top ECommerce Order Fulfillment Challenges!

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Order fulfillment challenges article and permission to publish here provided by Catherine Park.

If you run an online business, you definitely know that managing it involves many moving parts. Ecommerce order fulfillment is among these moving parts that most eCommerce retailers overlook. Your profitability, customer experience, and overall business growth suffer without effective fulfillment.

Interestingly, despite simplified order fulfillment, most online store owners still struggle with several challenges.

Outlined below are common fulfillment obstacles faced by online businesses and their solutions.

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