5 Ways to Streamline Your Fulfilment Operations

This post first featured in ‘The Essential Guide to Fulfilment – Are Your Logistics Future Fit?’ published in association with PHL. To read the full ebook click here, or scroll to the end of the page to view on page-turning software.

It’s no secret that 2020 has required retailers to adapt their fulfilment operations on a large scale. Many of these changes have been made in a rush, with the aim to simply keep business running smoothly. However, now is the time to streamline these operations, making them as beneficial as possible

Here’s how you can streamline your fulfilment operations:

1. Contingency planning

Making sure you are prepared for all eventualities works to combat uncertainty and give you peace of mind when it comes to fulfilment.

One way to do this is to outsource fulfilment operations, whether it’s to take care of your entire process, or using them as a backup warehouse. Having the ability to ship out of a secondary warehouse and keep overspill stock in case your primary warehouse has a problem, means you can be agile, adapting as required.

For some retailers, this could be two UK-based warehouses, however for others, it could be worth considering an overseas warehouse or fulfilment companies based in different locations. This can be particularly useful, meaning retailers can continue to operate at normal capacity, even if an area goes into lockdown or is added to a quarantine list due to COVID-19.

2. Understand stock levels

It is vital to understand stock levels, allowing you to keep on top of quantities, demand and shipping.

Efficient stock management gives you fluidity, enabling you to stock across different warehouses, as well as transporting stock in the most beneficial way to your business.

Stock management software plays a pivotal role, with many retailers benefitting from its ability to import orders from numerous sources, including websites and Amazon, also aligning this with stock across multiple warehouses.

As an example, good stock management software can predict how much you will sell, based on the market, and enable you to better understand your stock requirements. Using this means you can ensure you don’t run out of stock and are ready to ship as required, reducing the likelihood of delays.

3. Choose the right warehousing

Having a warehouse that is suited to your requirements is essential. An ideal warehouse is accessible, has the storage space you require and has staff that understand your processes and are able to assist with relevant aspects of fulfilment operations. Outsourcing to a fulfilment company means you can be confident that this is left in the hands of professionals, reducing the time and effort you need to invest into finding the perfect warehousing. The reason for this is that they will be able to advise on the most suitable warehouses, based on your requirements and take care of this on your behalf.

4. Analyse performance

One of the most simple ways to streamline fulfilment operations is to analyse your current situation, understand areas for improvement and adapt processes moving forward. The great news is that a fulfilment company can make recommendations based on your usage, simplifying this process.

5. Assess returns process

Now is the time to finetune your returns policy. Wherever possible, you should attempt to reduce the number of returns, offering in-depth product and sizing information, as well as accurate descriptions and imagery. However, when returns are required, you should have a clear and concise policy, making it as simple as possible for customers, fulfilment houses and warehouses

If you would like to know more about how talking to Fulfilment and Logistics experts like PHL can help grow your business through the current retail challenges, then please feel free to get in contact now laurap@thephlgroup.co.uk