What Are the Objectives of Inventory Control?

Inventory control is a method of tracking the flow of inventory. It starts with the purchase and warehousing of the goods until it reaches the manufacturing unit or market. This process can be performed manually or using an automated system.

When the goods arrive at the warehouse, inventory management can ensure that these items (such as inventory, raw materials, components, tools, etc.) are effectively received, counted, classified, arranged, stored and maintained.

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Objectives-of-Inventory-Control丨ChinaDivision

The types of inventory control management systems

When installing an inventory control management system, companies generally need to consider several aspects, such as cost, budget, availability, and accessibility. Inventory management systems can usually divide into the following types:

An inventory management system that uses barcode technology is more accurate and efficient than an inventory management system that uses manual processes.

Barcode inventory management

The inventory management system using barcode technology will be more accurate and efficient. The bar code system automatically updates the inventory level when the staff scans it with a bar code scanner or mobile device. 

The benefits of using barcodes in the inventory management process include:

  • Accurately record all inventory transactions.
  • Eliminate time-consuming data errors that often occur in manual or paper systems.
  • Eliminate manual data entry errors.
  • Easy and convenient scanning speed.
  • Automatically update existing inventory.
  • Record transaction history and quickly determine the minimum level and reorder quantity.
  • Simplify documentation and reports.

Periodic inventory management

Periodic inventory management requires manual tracking of inventory, which is more suitable for small businesses. It does not track inventory every day, but it allows companies to understand inventory level within a specific period. 

Companies will choose to use LIFO or FIFO inventory accounting methods or other methods to calculate the ending inventory value.

Perpetual inventory management

Perpetual inventory management, an accounting method of inventory management, is also called continuous inventory management. 

It links bar codes and radio frequency identification with the accounting inventory system, received inventory, point-of-sale system, and production system to track the path of inventory movement in real-time.

The objectives of inventory control are as follows:

  1. Ensure the continuous supply of materials and inventory so as not to affect production when customers demand.
  2. To avoid overstock or understock.
  3. To ensure sufficient materials for production.
  4. To minimize the capital required for operations and sales activities.
  5. To optimize the various costs of the warehouse, such as handling costs, storage costs, etc.
  6. To reduce losses due to deterioration, theft, waste and damage.
  7. To provide data for short-term or long-term planning under inventory control.
  8. To maintain system inventory records.
  9. Ensure sufficient cash flow to improve operational efficiency.

Ecommerce Order Fulfillment Progress: 4 Strategies to Optimize Your Fulfillment

“Paid Successfully.” When the order system displays this page, for customers in front of the screen, your order fulfillment process maybe just a step in their minds.

They just want to know when and where their items will arrive under the conditions they wish.

However, for e-commerce business owners, the order fulfillment process is no easy task!

This process involves multiple steps and people. Coordinating them all is a process that usually requires continuous improvement and improvement to reduce costs, satisfy customers and enable employees to work with maximum efficiency.

Four Strategies to Improve Your Ecommerce Order Fulfillment Process

Maintain an Attractive Refund Policy

Your return policy is an integral part of your e-commerce order fulfillment process. But how exactly does this support your business?

In short, when the customer receives the order, the order fulfillment is not over yet. On the contrary, once he or she is satisfied with the service provided by your company, it is over.

Therefore, you need to develop an effective return policy so that you can process returned orders and issue refunds when required.

Warehouse Management System Seamless Integration

Now that products come from all over the world, the truth is that you may not produce the items you sell online in-house. 

Your products are likely to be transported to storage in warehouses by various distributors and delivered directly to your customers.

Embrace Warehouse Automation

If you are not familiar with automation, it may sound daunting-is it really safe to hand over control of your business to a computer?

Many companies insist on what they know, even if they are aware of the problem’s inefficiency and crux. The idea of radical change can be daunting, leading to an attitude of “know your demons better.”

However, automation does not mean that robots will run your warehouse. On the contrary, this means that all time-consuming manual steps are prone to eliminate human error.

For example, when your warehouse operators receive an order, the automated system can let them know strictly which packaging option should be used, the most efficient order picking, and the best courier service to use.

When you receive orders from different channels, the execution of the order may become complicated. Having a standardized, automated fulfillment process avoids confusion and enables your warehouse staff to sort out orders as quickly as possible.

Enable End-to-End Order Visibility

Now you need to make sure that you can see everything in the entire supply chain.

In simple words, this means that both you and your supplier should be able to access the same catalog, inventory, and order fulfillment process-know precisely what items are available, quantities and locations. 

Besides, the e-commerce customer you are browsing should check whether an item is in stock and the amount is small or essential, how many things are available.

This clarity is called end-to-end visibility and is an essential aspect of customer satisfaction and accurate order fulfillment.

How to Accelerate E-Commerce Order Fulfillment Process?

With the introduction of Amazon’s supply chain’s new fulfillment policy, you are faced with creating more innovative strategies to accelerate e-commerce order fulfillment. This is undoubtedly a huge pressure, but these strategies can optimize your e-commerce fulfillment process, speed up your business development, and bring you more income.

Appropriate strategies can help you reduce unnecessary operating costs, expand your reach while improving the customer experience, and even completely change your online retail business.

E-Commerce-Order-Fulfillment-Process丨Tezz丨ChinDivison
E-Commerce-Order-Fulfillment-Process丨Tezz丨ChinDivison

Cooperation With A Third-Party Logistics (3PL) Provider

Please consider working with a third-party logistics provider (3PL) for support if you have many orders. 3PL can complete all order tasks, from product receiving and storage to pick and pack and transportation. 

3PL service providers usually set up fulfillment centers in multiple regions, helping speed up your orders’ shipment. You can expand your resource network and continuously optimize your supply chain. One of the biggest advantages of a third-party logistics company is to cut costs. So, cooperating with 3PL providers is a good way to speed up e-commerce order fulfillment.

Optimize Warehouse Automation

Optimizing your warehouse automation can become an important part of the rapid development of your future business. Nowadays, more and more e-commerce companies continue to optimize and integrate resources to deliver products to customers ASAP. Warehouse automation minimizes human errors, reduces labor costs, and integrates warehouse management systems to maintain warehouse accuracy.

Provide Multiple Delivery Methods

To speed up order fulfillment, e-commerce operators will provide customers with multiple delivery methods. This is also a good way to maintain customer loyalty. You can combine online orders with brick-and-mortar shops to offer customers pick-up products curbside or directly to your distributions. In this way, you can reduce costs, and efficient delivery can also make your e-commerce customers more satisfied.

Conclusion

In general, speeding up e-commerce fulfillment is not only related to your e-commerce fulfillment efficiency but also related to your brand reputation. Continuously improve your customer satisfaction through these strategies to promote order volume. Satisfying customers and maintaining customer loyalty can make you invincible in the industry.

Order Status: What Does “Awaiting Fulfillment”, ” Awaiting Shipment” Mean?

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What-does-Awaiting-Fulfillment-mean丨ChinaDivision

What does “Awaiting Fulfillment” mean?

When you place an order for a product online and complete the payment, the order system will change your order’s status to “Awaiting fulfillment.” But at this time, the merchant has not yet started processing your order. 

Every e-commerce store has its order processing schedule. Generally speaking, the normal working time for the order processing is 1-2 working days. If there are holidays or special circumstances, the “waiting for fulfillment” state will last 7-10 working days.

What does “Awaiting Shipment” mean?

When the merchant completes your order’s pick and pack and sends you a confirmation email, the order system will change the order status to “Awaiting Shipment.”

Parcels are usually sent out within 24 hours, but it may take about 48 hours in peak season. 

Explanation of another order status:

Awaiting Payment: 

  1. The ordering system enters the payment page, you need to choose a check or money order to pay, but the payment has not yet been received. 
  2. Or you selected a credit card, and it has not yet been processed.

Partially Shipped:

  1. Part of your order has already been shipped, and the other part may be in another box.
  2. The merchant may not be able to ship due to insufficient inventory, and you will receive a new email notification.

Shipped:

Your package is already on the way, or you have already received it.

Pick and Pack: Why Pick and Pack Services Is Important?

From the moment the customer places an order, the warehouse will receive notifications of the pick and pack fulfillment process from the online store back-end order system. To ensure that customers can obtain order logistics information in the shortest time, warehouse pick and pack services are a crucial process. An efficient pick and pack process can also help increase sales and customer satisfaction.

What Is Pick and Pack Service?

The process of pick and pack:

You can get pick and pack services from the 3PL company, or manage your order fulfillment. In both cases, the fundamental pick and pack process is similar, including three main steps: pick, pack, and ship.

  1.  Order picking: When the warehouse system receives the order fulfillment information, the warehouse worker will take the packing list and pick the goods from the warehouse shelf. This step is the key to picking and packing. Because the efficiency of this step depends on your warehouse management strategy. You should decide how and where the goods are placed based on the sales of different products.
  2. Order packing: The goods will be packaged at the packaging place, and the packaging will wait for transportation after attaching various identification label information.
  3. Order shipping: Orders are sorted by carrier on the loading dock, and then loaded and transported in a suitable way (air, sea, truck, etc.).

These three steps seem very simple to operate. However, an effective and efficient pick and pack process is mixed with many crucial details that are interlocking. To better increase your sales and customer satisfaction, you should study these methods and strategies. This is true whether you run a startup or a one-million-dollar online store.

Pick-and-Pack-Services丨USA-Fulfillment丨ChinaDivisionPick-and-Pack-Services丨USA-Fulfillment丨ChinaDivision
Pick-and-Pack-Services丨USA-Fulfillment丨ChinaDivision

Pick pack ship order strategies:

  • Piece picking: is when an employee/picker handpicks each product for an entire order, as they come in.
  • Batch picking: is similar to piece picking, except that orders will be done in batches all at once, instead of one at a time.
  • Zone order picking: is when employees are assigned to a specific area of the warehouse and only pick one order at a time within that area. If an order needs products from more than one zone, it is handed off usually via conveyor belt.
  • Wave picking: is a combination of batch and zone picking, where employees will stay within a zone but pick more than one order at a time.

What are the benefits of warehouse & distribution automation that you need to know?

Warehouse & distribution automation includes automated data collection and inventory control. All work is coordinated through the warehouse control system and the use of necessary hardware equipment and software systems. This helps greatly improve efficiency, but what tools used to achieve it?

What facilities are involved in Warehouse & distribution?

  1. Barcode labels: They form the basis of warehouse & distribution automation, through which products can be tracked. Barcode labels can accurately capture product data and eliminate errors in product tracking or product shipping. The use of barcode labels can realize automatic warehouses, inventory monitoring, purchase planning, improve picking efficiency, optimize transportation, and reduce stock-outs.
  2. Inventory Management System (IMS): This facilitates real-time monitoring of inventory levels, product information, and storage locations, thereby providing companies with a high level of inventory control.
  3. Automatic storage and retrieval system (AS/RS): The software system consists of machines that move up and down on optimized channels to retrieve or place items. They provide improved inventory control and product tracking. They can also ensure that the warehouse is better arranged vertically and horizontally, thereby saving inventory. The key elements of AS/RS include storage and retrieval machines, automated guided vehicles (AGV), frame structure, and warehouse control system software (WCS). All these components work together to receive, place, pick up, pack, and ship items along an optimized route.
  4. Necessary hardware equipment: If you do not use the necessary hardware, you will not be able to retrieve data and monitor activities from the barcode label, and will not be able to achieve automation. Commonly used devices are portable data terminals, stationary computers, bar code scanners, rugged tablet computers, and label printers.
warehouse-distribution丨ChinaDivision
warehouse-distribution丨ChinaDivision

The benefits of warehouse & distribution automation

Automating your warehouse system can bring the following benefits:

  • Reduce labor costs and other operating expenses.
  • Improve warehouse space utilization and optimize warehouse layout and processes.
  • Improve accuracy, efficiency, and productivity while minimizing labor expenditures.
  • Improve inventory accuracy and avoid complete depletion of inventory.
  • Automatic storage and retrieval system (AS/RS) will improve inventory control and cargo tracking.
  • Automatically collect product shipment data and inventory tracking to eliminate inventory misplacement, shrinkage, or loss.
  • With the available data, the efficiency of the operator’s picking, packaging, and transportation improved, so that the order can be shipped and delivered in time.

5 Ways to Reduce Product Returns

Facilitating order payment may be one of the happiest things for e-commerce sellers, but there is a worrying hidden danger: product returns.

In this era of fast and free shipping and returns, no matter whether the products can meet customer expectations, they will face the risk of being returned. In this article, we will provide you with five ways to reduce product returns.

Why reduce product returns? In short, it increased the company’s operating costs and caused financial pressure. Product returns will cause the following risks to the cost of e-commerce:

  • Refund cost: The company loses profit opportunities and may lose customers.
  • Transportation costs: Companies that provide free transportation and return goods to take care of transportation costs to invest in their customers.
  • Product disposal costs: returned products must be inspected and then resold, liquidated, or discarded. If the products are liquidated, the company will lose money because these products must be sold at a price lower than the original value. In the worst case, the project will be discarded and no cost can be recovered.

Fortunately, there are ways to reduce product returns.

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Reduce-Product-Returns-RepricerExpress-ChinaDivision

An Important Way to Reduce Product Returns

Accurate and clear product pictures

Display the appearance of the product with maximum clarity and accuracy. A 360-degree product is an ideal way to provide your customers with a view from all angles, especially to showcase furniture or technical products.

But if you cannot provide this type of image, try to provide an image that can zoom in to see close-up details. Make sure that the image you provide can be displayed clearly on the mobile device because the mobile terminal often has more order opportunities than the desktop computer.

Use video to showcase products

Although pictures are useful, videos can make your product display more clearly, especially for product categories with a high customer return rate, such as electronics, clothing, etc. Clothing videos show the upper body effects of models; household appliances or electronic products show how the products are used.

Value customer feedback

Customer reviews or feedback on the product is the best way to better understand your product and how to improve it. Comments can provide you with ideas to better describe the product or discover product problems. You should not avoid this but encourage customer feedback. Your return and exchange form should provide the customer’s description of the problem, such as the product size is different from expected or not as shown in the advertisement, etc. Secondly, you can also encourage customers to leave comments by using discount coupons or free gifts.

Correct packaging

The correct packaging method is a key factor in avoiding returns, as they help prevent items from being damaged or broken. Please make sure that the packaging materials you use can protect the product from external shocks. In addition, please ensure that the product information on the package is consistent with the packaged product.

Clear delivery time limit

When customers browse the product page, please indicate the approximate delivery time of the order. This detail should be paid more attention to products that need to be customized. Please also pay attention to the logistics on weekends and holidays. Provide customers with the ability to select a specific delivery date, even if customers need to pay additional shipping costs can also improve customer experience.

Although offering free returns can help improve the customer experience, if you find that the number of returns is unacceptable, try using the methods described above to reduce returns.

Five Tips for Optimizing Warehouse Operation

Warehouse operations occupy an important position in e-commerce logistics, but if there is an error in the processing of inventory data or there is a problem with the back-end warehouse logistics, the warehouse operation may quickly collapse.

Moving the product from the warehouse to the door of the customer has almost no room for error, which affects your company’s reputation and revenue. Warehouse operation optimization plans can improve efficiency, space, and resource utilization through automation and careful planning, and deliver them to customers accurately, thereby improving customer satisfaction and experience.

Understand product movement speed

Product movement speed refers to the speed of merchandise sales. Certain products in each warehouse will move faster during special seasons or during major promotions.

At this time, the layout of the warehouse should allow these products to move faster and more conveniently. Placing them in an easy-to-extract position can speed up the warehouse operation. One solution is to place them as close as possible to the packaging area.

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Warehouse-Operation丨ChinaDivision

Minimize human error

The lower the degree of human error, the higher the efficiency of the warehouse operation. Repeated automated marking of all products in inventory is very important. If this process is a human operation, errors will occur no matter how many trainings employees receive.

Robot technology

The warehouse that invests in robotics has obvious benefits in reducing expenses and increasing efficiency.

Decades ago, the scope of technology in warehouse operations was limited to robotic arms that could move or lift heavy objects in accordance with human instructions. Today, technology can take on more tasks.

The following are some of the machines commonly found in warehouses today:

  • Automatic guided vehicle
  • Autonomous robot
  • pilot-less airplane
  • Automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS)

The use of these innovative tools has some positive effects including higher customer satisfaction, fewer delivery process errors, and becoming a means of attracting customers.

How to Reduce Supply Chain Costs?

One of the best ways to reasonably control company expenditures is to reduce supply chain costs. Fortunately, this goal can be achieved in some simple ways.

However, what you need to understand when you start with this part is where the key points are because the correct reduction with a clear understanding will bring the greatest return in the future.

Next, this article will make some suggestions for reducing supply chain costs and increasing profits.

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Reduce-Supply-Chain-Costs丨TASK丨ChinaDivision

1. Cut unnecessary space costs

Making full use of the space you have will save you money every day. As we all know, renting a warehouse to store materials requires daily rent, which will be a lot of money for a long time. Evaluate the utilization rate of your current warehouse space and find a warehouse that is more in line with actual needs that can save some money.

2. Process automation

Warehouse automation is not only a fashion trend, but it can also help you achieve the purpose of reducing supply chain costs. Ask professionals to provide assessment and advice on how to implement automation.

3. Make timely adjustments to customer needs

One of the ways to reduce supply chain costs is to make timely adjustments to customer needs. As the season changes, you will find that customer needs are constantly changing. You can follow these changes to make more accurate sales policies.

4. Minimize product damage rate

The improvement of the product packaging level will help reduce the probability of damage to the product during transportation. Make sure that the staff responsible for this area pack your products correctly to minimize breakage rates.

Warehouse Management System(WMS): How to Choose the Right one?

How to choose the right warehouse management system(WMS)? The right solution can help your company achieve improved order fulfilment, increased inventory visibility, automated data collection, and more.

The warehouse management system(WMS) can quickly process data and assist in the movement of goods in the warehouse. This article will give you some suggestions for optimizing warehouse operations.

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Warehouse-Management-System(WMS)-ChinaDivision

The benefits of deploying a warehouse management system (WMS) are as follows:

  • Efficient and effective labor management
  • Inventory visibility and traceability
  • Accurate inventory counting
  • Fewer picking errors
  • Fewer returns
  • Accurate reports
  • Improve response speed
  • Remote data visibility
  • Automatic replenishment
  • Improved customer service
  • Minimize paperwork

Before implementing WMS, you need to make sure that your company’s future business benefits are objective. This system requires capital injection and involves operating costs. The main cost is to support the entire warehouse team and senior management to use their expertise, enthusiasm, and commitment to ensure the normal and correct use of the warehouse system and regular optimization.

WMS can help you maximize the realization of automated warehouse operations. It is not just a warehouse control system and a data collection tool. When you decide to incorporate WMS, the following seven suggestions can help you choose the best solution for warehouse operations.

WMS-ChinaDivision
WMS-ChinaDivision

1. Calculate the return on investment (ROI)

The process of continuous verification is very important because it can help you set a reasonable budget for the project and focus your energy on key parts.

2. Decision procedure

Modern WMS is highly configurable (usually configured by the end-user) and can adapt to any type of warehouse environment.

3. Do due diligence on your existing system

Regardless of whether your company’s current enterprise resource plan or business system already has WMS, you need to make a full investigation of the existing system.

4. Evaluate the internal development capabilities of each supplier

Due to the advertising and marketing nature of the WMS market, few vendors’ internal developments are feasible. A typical WMS supplier may amortize the ongoing development costs of more than 100 customers. If the overall requirement is particularly strong, or the need to integrate existing internal systems, in-house development is sometimes feasible.

5. Request information

First, prepare a short request for information (RFI) document, which describes your business, future business direction, warehouse, and warehouse plan, and outlines the goals achieved by WMS. If necessary, you can use the services of a consultant to help you.

In RFI, ask the supplier about the budgeted cost and implementation time frame. Ask for supplier information, including:

  • Company History
  • Financial history and status
  • Number of sites using their current WMS products
  • Owner of the intellectual property and source code of WMS
  • Customer list
  • Daily rates and support fees
  • Scope of support
  • Development plan
  • Track record

Then send this RFI to 6 to 10 subjects. Focus on suppliers with experience in your market. A WMS provider who has no experience in this field is unlikely to have the features and expertise to help you. Focus on vendors that have track records linked to any business or ERP system you are running.

6. Assess suppliers

Select three to five WMS vendors. Price is not the main evaluation criterion at this stage, but it can be used to exclude suppliers who will exceed your budget. Meeting with suppliers will help you understand their professionalism, their ability to face your needs, and their ability to answer your questions.

7. Make a decision

Choose the best WMS supplier for your warehouse.