Wonderful Ecommerce Fulfillment Model Keep Your Customers

Fast! Faster! Nowadays, the development of technology makes us more and more impatient. We expect technology to make things faster, and when we have to wait, we will feel frustrated.

Almost the entire process of e-commerce order fulfillment is facing the problem of acceleration. Customers want the lowest transportation costs and the shortest delivery time.

If your product’s sales volume grows steadily, but you cannot have better technical support, then customers who add shopping carts may turn to your competitors.

However, if you can provide customers with fast delivery speed and excellent customer experience, it will help promote your orders’ continuous growth and increase brand awareness.

Ecommerce-Fulfillment-Model丨ChinaDivision
Ecommerce-Fulfillment-Model丨ChinaDivision

How to Choose the Most Suitable Ecommerce Fulfillment Model?

Choosing the most suitable ecommerce fulfillment model is crucial because you cannot take responsibility for making mistakes. If you lose customers due to a poor fulfillment experience, they will quickly turn to your competitors for help.

A study showed that nearly 40% of customers said they would choose to return or stop shopping with retailers because of a negative delivery experience.

The perfect e-commerce fulfillment model depends on the size and nature of your business. If you are happy to do everything yourself and have the time and space to do so, then in-house fulfillment will be the best choice.

However, self-fulfillment may bring many hidden costs. For example, if you decide to sell through Amazon, remember that regardless of the fulfillment method, they will charge all sellers 15% of each product’s sales price.

Order-fulfillment丨ChinaDivision-1
Order-fulfillment丨ChinaDivision

In-house fulfillment may become a burden for your business because supply chain management is not a simple matter. It needs enough space to store inventory and enough time to complete all tasks.

If you choose to work with a third-party logistics provider, then you need to take the time to screen which partner is best for your business.

It is meaningful to choose 3PL with experience and mature technology. At the same time, you should also consider price, quality control, the number of warehouses and their location, and whether the order fulfillment system seamlessly integrates with your system.

Good fulfillment companies will also handle returns management properly. Of course, you need to make sure that your budget can meet all the features you need.

What Questions Should You Ask Your Next 3PL Provider?

How do you determine which 3PL provider is the best? An indispensable part of business operations, it is important to let 3PL suppliers manage your supply chain. This is why you should not just choose anyone.

Although it is not uncommon to compare the pros and cons or read customer reviews, we recommend that you go further. As with finding new employees, the best way to find out which 3PL company is best for you is to interview your best prospects. Although this may require more work and more time, it is ultimately worth it. If you are worried, then the following questions should be at the top of your list.

3PL-Provider丨ChinaDivision
3PL-Provider丨ChinaDivision

1: How do you meet my e-commerce needs?

Before choosing to change to another 3PL provider, make sure you understand the person you are hiring. Although they may be similar, there are differences between the two companies. In the rapidly changing world of e-commerce, it is important to understand how potential 3PL companies can meet your exact transportation needs. 

Believe it or not, there are logistics companies everywhere that are not involved in e-commerce, or because of demand, they are new, which means they may lack experience. If you are an e-commerce company, it is important to choose a company that can meet your needs. To find the perfect match, don’t choose a company that only meets general e-commerce needs but fully meets your e-commerce needs.

2: What logistics services do you provide?

When it comes to freight, every company has its preferred method. You own yours, and the 3PL providers own theirs. You want to make sure everything is aligned. However, you also want to make sure that you have the right to choose and that the company you choose is willing to accept it. 

Many companies claim to provide “one-stop” services, but not everyone does. You should investigate your potential 3PL companies to find out if they are as they claim. Trust us, if you don’t want to fall into any trap, please pay more attention to freight.

supply-chain丨ChinaDivision
supply-chain丨ChinaDivision

3: To what extent do you assume responsibility and how to deal with claims?

The question is divided into two parts, which can catch the other person off guard. Everyone likes them, but no one wants to answer them, which makes the two-part question so big. 

The assumption of responsibility is an important aspect of transportation (whether it is domestic or international transit), so we recommend this issue as a surprise attack. The correct coverage will give you peace of mind, and it will help ensure better customer service.

4: How did you handle or correct errors in the past?

This is a multifaceted problem. On the one hand, this is a way for you to view the company’s mistakes. On the other hand, it reveals how the interviewing company handled these errors. Early mistakes are not always bad, so we remind any 3PL companies that have not made mistakes. 

Ideally, you will want to find a company that has grown through errors. To be sure, their recent records and customer reviews should be evidence of their improvement. Handling errors also means that you know how to resolve the mistakes, whether something similar has happened to them.

What is the reason for changing the 3PL service provider? (Ⅰ)

Before you consider changing 3PL service providers, you need to sort out the current business framework. It is important that you understand the impact of 3PL on your business.

To continuously grow your revenue and the number of customers, you need to maximize customer satisfaction. Today, customer satisfaction generally comes from two points: efficient delivery and satisfactory products.

If your 3PL cannot help you provide a first-class customer experience, then you may miss potential customers and revenue. These customers will turn to stores that can meet their needs, that is, your competitors.

Either way, you need a 3PL partner who can satisfy your customers, who can help you meet the ever-increasing customer expectations.

3PL-service-provider丨Hollingsworth丨ChinaDivision
3PL-service-provider丨Hollingsworth丨ChinaDivision

When should you consider changing 3PL service provider?

Order fulfilment outsourcing has advantages and limitations. One of the benefits is that it can save you time and money, and an excellent 3PL service provider can also help you improve customer satisfaction. 

The bad point is that when the customer places an order in the shopping system, the next process is out of your control. One thing that worries you more is that you need to bear the risk of 3PL’s imperfect processing of your orders. Therefore, ensuring that 3PL is appropriate is crucial.

  1. Package lost during order fulfilment
  2. 3PL has not made continuous progress and improvement
  3. The current 3PL is not enough to support your business scale
  4. The technical support provided by 3PL is too simple or outdated
  5. The current 3PL service is not worth the money
  6. Customer satisfaction continues to decline

If the above errors or shortfalls happen frequently, the loss caused by your 3PL has exceeded your budget, and the profit of the order is continuously reduced. At this time, you should probably find a more suitable partner.

How to Improve Inventory Tracking?Simple Guidance for You in Inventory Management

With the rapid development of third-party logistics, 3PL‘s advanced inventory management system can save you time and money.

However, for companies with relatively small business volume, in-house management is still required. Choosing the right inventory tracking method can help improve inventory accuracy.

What Are the Types of Inventory?

Before you can improve warehouse management, you need to understand the inventory types accurately. The following are the different types of inventory:

How-to-Improve-Inventory-Tracking?丨Lynda.com丨ChinaDivision
How-to-Improve-Inventory-Tracking?丨Lynda.com丨ChinaDivision
  1. Raw Materials, materials used to manufacture products
  2. Work-in-Progress, unfinished product being produced
  3. Finished Goods, finished goods stored in the warehouse, waiting to be sold or shipped
  4. Overhaul/MRO, maintenance, repair, and operation supplies, items used to support and maintain the production process and its infrastructure. These items are usually consumed due to the production process’s needs but are not directly part of the finished product. MRO inventory includes lubricants, cleaning supplies, gloves, packaging materials, and other supplies. It also consists of some office supplies, such as staples, pencils, copy paper, etc.
  5. Transit Inventory, the items have been loaded and are in transit.
  6. Anticipation Inventory, to meet the expected surge in sales inventory
  7. Decoupling Inventory, supplies, or products reserved in anticipation of stagnation in some production links
  8. Cycle Inventory, products shipped from a manufacturer or supplier to a company, and then sold to customers immediately
  9. Theoretical Inventory, the inventory rate in and outreaches a balanced ideal state, and inventory products can pass through the manufacturing system’s minimum stock without waiting. But in reality, the warehouse will always have some inventory (such as MRO inventory, decoupling inventory, etc.)

What inventory tracking method is the optimal solution?

Manual tracking

You must complete the inventory count for the outbound and inbound warehouse inventory in the manual tracking system. Besides, any updates to inventory records require manual operations. You can manually copy the item number and any other relevant details, but this inventory tracking method can be time-consuming and has a higher error rate. But one advantage is that you don’t have to pay for barcode scanners and other expensive equipment.

Barcode and QR code tracking

Bar codes or QR codes are commonly used in inventory tracking. The inventory system automatically extracts detailed information by scanning the product barcode or QR. The administrator can quickly and easily change the information in the system. This inventory tracking method can achieve efficient inventory management, so 3PL service providers usually recommend this method.

RFID tracking

As with barcode and QR code tracking, you can use RFID tracking to scan products and automatically extract their detailed information. The main difference between RFID and other scannable codes is the technology behind them. RFID tags scan more comprehensively, so they are very useful for inventory systems that move many products. However, only a few inventory management software supports RFID tracking because it requires specialized (expensive) tags and scanning equipment.

Why Do You Need a 3PL Warehouse Management System?

What is 3PL Warehouse Management System?

3PL Warehouse Management Software System (WMS) manages and records almost all physical cargo warehouse operations, including inventory management, shipping, receiving, putaway, picking, packaging, etc.

This software system helps simplify many time-consuming processes for one or more warehouses. Suppose your order volume exceeds the processing capacity of the internal warehouse. In that case, you can outsource these tedious tasks to a third-party logistics company, and they will design a set of suitable warehousing logistics solutions for you.

Advantages-of-3PL-Warehouse-Management-SystemMecalux丨ChinaDivision
Advantages-of-3PL-Warehouse-Management-SystemMecalux丨ChinaDivision

Benefits of Using 3PL Warehouse Management System

Inventory Control: 3PL WMS can collect the receiving, movement of the entire fulfillment center inventory through a barcode scanner. All SKU inbound and outbound data can be tracked and confirm inventory products’ location in real-time, improving inventory accuracy.

Realtime Inventory Tracking: Professional 3PL will provide partner companies with inventory management visibility data. Shippers can easily know the progress by accessing reports and tracking real-time inventory remotely online.

Nowadays, many warehouse management solutions can be seamlessly integrated with enterprise resource planning or corporate accounting rights and health solutions, allowing customers to adjust their current and future development needs.

Due to these functions’ convenience, the original time-consuming tasks such as manually generating management reports are eliminated.

Advanced 3PL Billing System: Billing is a very important part of the 3PL warehouse management system. When a 3PL provider provides this service to multiple customers, this process requires a comprehensive 3PL system to support. An accurate billing system will significantly reduce billing time while improving other functions.

Order fulfillment automation: 3PL providers are order fulfillment experts. They have adopted many advanced systems and equipment to support order fulfillment to save customers time and operating costs. Integrated WMS aims to simplify the order fulfillment process and make these tedious tasks simple and easy.

In Conclusion

With the explosive growth of 3PL warehouse and inventory management software, the emerging 3PL management software is expected to bring higher efficiency, thoughtful design, and advanced services to provide customers with the best solutions.

Third-party logistics companies will provide many benefits for your supply chain, and you can save time and resources while maintaining efficiency and customer satisfaction. If you haven’t considered adopting a 3PL warehouse management system solution, now is the time!

How to choose a fulfillment company?

What is a fulfillment company?

Fulfillment company usually refer to the organization that provides companies with services such as order receipts, packaging, and transportation. The functions and scope of order fulfillment are now more complex and efficient than ever before.

A technologically advanced fulfillment center can manage and simplify the fulfillment process through order fulfillment software or systems.

Outsourcing the management of the order fulfillment process to a professional fulfillment company allows companies to focus more on order growth instead of internal warehouses, inventory management, transportation, and returns.

fulfillment-company丨3plcenter丨ChinaDivision
fulfillment-company丨3plcenter丨ChinaDivision

What kind of factors should you consider when you choose a fulfillment company?

1. Delivery speed

Now Amazon Prime has set a new two-day delivery rule, which means that consumers expect faster shipping speeds than ever before.

So, if your company’s current order volume is considerable but the order delivery speed is far behind, then your customer churn rate will gradually increase. When your company can no longer optimize the order fulfillment process, you can try to cooperate with an order fulfillment company.

Excellent and professional fulfillment companies have effective management systems and order fulfillment software, enabling them to deliver quickly.

2. The location of the distribution warehouse

The most important point of order processing outsourcing is to examine the location of the distribution warehouse of the partner company.

To meet customers’ expectations of delivering products in a short time and improve their user experience, it makes sense to choose an order fulfillment center close to the customer. For your international business, you need to confirm whether the other party provides global delivery services before cooperating with them.

To reduce the additional burden on your business and devote more time to increasing order volume, you need to study the order fulfillment system and software used by the fulfillment companies you cooperate with. Different fulfillment companies vary order fulfillment software, and you need to ensure that their software is easy to implement and can seamlessly integrate with the business platform applications you are using.

How-to-choose-a-fulfillment-company丨Atlantic-Marine-Services丨ChinaDivision
How-to-choose-a-fulfillment-company丨Atlantic-Marine-Services丨ChinaDivision

3. Transparency

The transparency of order fulfillment is also an essential part of your corporate image. Survey data shows that 88% of consumers want to track their products in real-time. 69% of consumers said that if the merchant fails to deliver the product within the promised delivery date, they will not shop again in the future.

Therefore, when you choose an order fulfillment partner, you need to know whether it can meet the delivery time limit you require.

4.Return management

Due to the fast and convenient free return and exchange policy, about one-third of online orders are canceled orders. Some returns are uncontrollable (the customer doesn’t like the product at all). A reputable fulfillment company will manage the product well and minimize returns.

5.Cost

Your cooperation with a third-party logistics provider involves some initial costs, but in the long run, you will save labor, logistics costs, storage costs, etc. Besides, you also need to make sure that the fulfillment center you cooperate with can provide you with the best deal.

Since you have to pay for delivery services (your products are always moving after all), the delivery center should not charge you for long-term storage.

Due to the shipping volume of the shipping center, the distribution center can also get a larger discount from the operator than any single e-commerce retailer, so you want to make sure they can pass on some of the savings to you. These reduced costs often allow e-commerce retailers to compete with industry giants by offering free or reduced-price transportation.

How to Use Warehouse Logistics Plan to Accelerate Your E-Commerce Development

Warehouse logistics is the process of planning, operating, and controlling the flow of goods in a warehouse to optimize costs and time and achieve other business goals. The warehouse is an important part of the supply chain and should be aligned with the broader organizational goals and the entire supply chain.

Before you start planning a new warehouse, it is always recommended to develop a feasible warehouse logistics plan. Without a plan that includes clear business goals and a road map to achieve those goals, it is impossible to estimate whether you can reach your goals.

Warehouse-Logistics丨-Maintenance-Covid-Management丨ChinaDivision
Warehouse-Logistics丨Maintenance-Covid-Management丨ChinaDivision

Identify warehouse logistics requirements

If you need to determine the company’s warehouse requirements, you need to ask some questions before making a final decision, such as:

  • Who are your customers?
  • Where are they located?
  • What is the order volume?
  • What solution is currently adopted?
  • What is the cost of the current solution?
  • What is the delivery time of the current solution?
  • Will the new warehouse save costs?
  • What is the implementation timeline?
  • How efficient is the operation of the new warehouse?

Thinking of these questions can help you clearly define implementation needs, requirements, benefits, and timelines. You need to estimate operating costs, including all the elements of the current warehouse logistics operation, the cost or time savings gained from the investment in the new warehouse, and the break-even point of the project.

This analysis may not prove the rationality of the dedicated warehouse. In this case, cooperation with a reliable third-party logistics operator may better meet your needs. The top third-party logistics providers have spent years perfecting their operations, allowing the company to use its expertise and achieve the best performance at the lowest cost compared to maintaining internal warehouses and logistics operations. Or, you can extend the life of your warehouse by implementing flexible automation solutions.

Find location

When you finally decide that you need a new warehouse, then you need to determine a suitable location. The questions you answered in the previous requirements gathering phase will come in handy here. Once you know the location of the customer, you can easily find the best warehouse location to serve the customer.

Remember, prioritize customers who can create greater profit margins for you. You can select warehouse locations based on your proximity to your best or long-term customers so that you can deliver to these customers faster than short-term or occasional customers. goods. Geographic Information System (GIS)-based tools can be used to determine the best location for the warehouse.

Logistics丨PNGWing丨ChinaDivision
Logistics丨PNGWing丨ChinaDivision

Another factor to consider is whether you want to use an existing warehouse to upgrade to a new warehouse or choose a new warehouse. These considerations boil down to your storage needs and costs. You should also work with the company’s financial department to determine the best solution from a financial perspective. Purchases, leases, and leases have different effects on the balance sheet, and the finance department is more capable of determining the factors that are most suitable for the company’s long-term financial situation. At the same time, your new storage requirements should not be affected. Achieving finance and goals at the same time is a delicate act of coordination, so it is necessary to maintain transparent and open communication between various departments.

Mapping warehouse

Mapping the warehouse is essential for determining subsequent deliveries and how to handle operations. Order picking activities are considered to be the most labour-intensive activities in the warehouse, accounting for as much as 55% of warehouse logistics operating costs, and mapping the warehouse can help simplify this basic business function. The warehouse mapping process includes:

  • Evaluation space
  • Marking space (including aisles, shelves, shelves, containers or garbage bins, etc.)
  • Estimated traffic volume
  • Implement the right shelf system
  • Choose the best order pickup truck to meet warehouse requirements
  • Implement inventory management software

Mapping the warehouse is a crucial step and should not be missed. Without a well-mapped warehouse, your logistics business will be chaotic, because there is no operational blueprint.

Simple Guidance For You In Order Fulfillment Cost

Different 3PL order fulfillment costs are different. When you decide to use 3PL services, you may encounter some expenses and knowledge you need to know before signing the agreement.

3PL-Order-Fulfillment-Costs丨Tenaxx-Logistics丨ChinaDivision
3PL-Order-Fulfillment-Costs丨Tenaxx-Logistics丨ChinaDivision

Startup costs

When you decide to start with 3PL, you may encounter startup costs. This fee is used to run e-commerce services and is a worthy investment project because it helps reduce confusion when using various services.

Inventory receiving costs

A 3PL will first receive your inventory, and then begin processing and fulfilling your online store orders. Inventory receipt means that the specific conditions of inbound and outbound logistics will be taken over by 3PL. Different 3PL own different charging methods, such as per-unit, per-pallet, flat rates, or per hour.

Inventory storage costs

When your goods need to use the 3PL order fulfillment center to store inventory, you will need to pay for storage space. Storage fees range from per SKU or per unit storage to a fixed fee (for each box, shelf, or pallet used).

Order pick and pack costs

Some 3PL models include Order pick and pack costs. After the customer places an order, the fulfillment process starts picking or use the picklist to collect each ordered item from its designated storage location. Many fulfillment providers offer to charge on a per-pick basis, which means you pay for each item included in the order.

Packaging costs

Your product packaging represents your brand image. Some 3PLs will charge for packaging materials as a separate order item, while other 3PLs include them in their fulfillment services.

Kitting costs

Some 3PLs provide kits and assembly services. Kitting refers to any unique way of assembling, arranging, or packaging items before shipping. Common applications for kitting include assembling multiple SKUs during packaging or preparing inventory in a specific way. Because this service is designed for each customer, the supporting fees may vary.

Shipping costs

The last section is e-commerce shipping costs: the amount charged by 3PL to transport orders from its fulfillment center to the customer’s doorstep. Many 3PLs will work with major transportation companies to enable them to provide volume discounts to customers. Transportation costs take into account many factors, including transportation efficiency, transportation area, and product size and weight.

Fifth-Party Logistics (5PL): The Future of Logistics?

Due to the impact of COVID-19, the current global logistics has become more and more complex. However, the importance of logistics in the supply chain has not yet been explained.

Except for those who are extremely proficient in logistics, most people are still unclear on which level of logistics to choose. Company leaders choosing the right logistics service (1PL, 2PL, 3PL, 4PL, 5PL or even 10PL…) can bring great effects to the company’s profitability.

Most people may have heard of 3PL, 4PL, 5PL and other products. However, many people may not know what factors are required for each level of logistics services. At present, 3PL and 4PL are the most common and prominent services. However, the application of 5PL in the supply chain has gradually become more prominent.

What is Fifth-Party Logistics(5PL)?

Fifth Party Logistics, also known as 5PL, is a system in which an organization (client) outsources all its supply chain processes to a logistics service provider. 5PL company is committed to planning, organizing and implementing the client’s logistics solutions.

In these various supply chain processes, 5PL uses both third-party logistics (3PL) and fourth-party logistics (4PL) services and manages all networks in the supply chain. Moreover, 5PL company will set the price, but in some cases, the determined price will be renegotiated.

5PL service providers have implemented their work using the latest technology from implementing logistics solutions to negotiating rates. Like 4PL, 5PL’s business also includes this series of processes and can fully control the operational processes of the supply chain.

Fifth-Party Logistics (5PL): The Future of Logistics?
Fifth-Party Logistics (5PL): The Future of Logistics?

What Is the Key Role of the 5PL Company?

5PL service providers mainly play key roles in the following aspects:

  • Logistics plan planning
  • Organize and implement logistics solutions
  • Meet the needs of 3PL and 4PL

Unlike second-party logistics operators that do not participate in pricing, 5PL companies participate more. Besides, 5PL also includes professional work with other service providers to negotiate fixed prices. For example, 5PL also cooperates with airlines, transporters and carriers. This is the difference between 5PL providers and other logistics companies of different levels.

Why Does 5PL Appear?

Due to the impact of the popularity of e-commerce and globalization, compared with the previous models, 5PL tends to meet the needs of future logistics companies and has an important impact on the development of today’s Internet of Things. Among them, 5PL’s online payment function simplifies the consignee’s transaction, and the convenience of the customer’s direct call centre allows people to directly respond to the quality of the service. 

All in all, the emergence of 5PL has adapted to the progress of the times, and its more scientific and technical processes will make the operation of the supply chain more efficient.

ChinaDivision’s Smarter 3PL improves ecommerce fulfillment

Retail has never been more competitive and complex. Ecommerce needs to be viewed in concert with all your retail strategies: brick and mortar, third party marketplaces like Amazon, and your own online store. ChinaDivision’s experience as an omni-channel provider means we understand the entire retail landscape, making us uniquely qualified to help you manage the challenges of selling across all retail platforms. ChinaDivision helps you navigate the complexities that are unique to ecommerce. Let our experienced team help design a Direct-to-Consumer solution that is right for your brand.

Our distribution centers are integrated with customized warehouse management systems, radio frequency handheld scanning, and labor management systems that allow us to manage all warehouse operations in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible.

We seamlessly integrate order processing, inventory and shipping data with all ecommerce platforms, ensuring fulfillment speed and data accuracy. Timely access to all your data with powerful, customized reporting tools ensures you receive business intelligence that informs strategy and decision making.