Team meeting to learn more about OPAL from experts.

What Defines a Perfect Order?

The American Productivity and Quality Center, otherwise known as APQC, defines the ‘perfect order’ basically as ‘perfect order performance,’ which “refers to flawlessly taking and fulfilling a customer order and includes taking the order correctly, allocating inventory immediately, delivering product on time, and sending an accurate invoice.” Although this may seem like a simple, straightforward task, there are several steps that are involved in the fulfillment of an order that makes the ‘perfect order’ difficult, including, but not limited to: picking the right order, accurate warehouse picking, delivery, making the documents, invoicing, etc. Each step has potential for causing errors, wasted money and delay in delivery in the order. In essence, a ‘perfect order’ is damage free, complete, and carries accurate documentation. So, what are some traits that make an order a ‘perfect order?’

  • Correct booking of the order: When the customer places an order, you need to fully comprehend which product he or she wants. For example, if the customer orders a T-shirt, you need to note the exact color, design, and size the customer wants.
  • Accurate order description: As soon as the order is placed, you need to note down the complete description as to where the order has to be delivered, along with the customer’s address, phone number, email address, etc. 
  • Timely delivery: Most importantly, a ‘perfect order’ is an order that is delivered to the customer on time. Nothing can be more irritating, and sometimes off-putting, for a customer than a delayed delivery of his or her order.
  • Tracking of every step: A ‘perfect order’ is one in which the customer can track down each and every step of his or her order’s processing. When the customer calls you, you should be able to tell him the exact status of his or her order or add a link on your site, allowing the customer to track his order online.
  • Damage-free order: In a ‘perfect order,’ the product that the customer receives is exactly what he wants, without any damages either due to the manufacturer’s oversight or the shipper’s fault.
  • Complete with documents: The order should reach the customer complete with all the required documents and paperwork, including the paper bill, warranty card, order slip, packing slip, etc.
  • Accurate invoicing: No matter how inexpensive an item is, it should be invoiced accurately, along with the shipping and handling charges, etc. All the charges added in the bill should be stated clearly, in order for the customer to have a complete description about what product he or she has ordered and exactly how much he or she is paid for it.

All these characteristics above make the ‘perfect order,’ which will result in the enhanced reputation of a company, and a higher level of customer satisfaction. While processing orders within your company, keep in mind the above features in order to make orders as perfect as possible. 

Top Five Reasons Why to Use Drop Shipping

What exactly is ‘drop shipping?’ Drop shipping is a supply chain management technique in which a retailer does not keep goods in stock, but rather transfers customer orders and shipment details to either a manufacturer or a wholesaler, who then ships the goods directly to the customer. Drop shipping has recently become a well-known system. So what advantages can you get out of drop shipping?

First, no cost. You will not need to spend a single extra penny when utilizing drop shipping. All you will need to do is gain permission from the suppliers to resell their products, allowing you to post pictures of these items in your own store. 

Second, convenient transactions. The process is very convenient for the middleman, which in this case, would be you. You ask the customer to fill out an order form and then submit it to the supplier for sorting and fulfillment. The money will be sent to you and you pay the supplier. 

Third, abundance of suppliers. You can opt to have as many suppliers as you desire. Look for the wholesale sellers that welcome re-sellers in their shops. You do not have to limit yourself to only one brand. You can make a list of all the things that interest you and would be a good attraction for your shop.

Fourth, free storage. With drop shipping, you do not have to worry about having a large warehouse to store your products. All you need to have is a constant connection with prospective customers and of course, to your suppliers for price and availability updates. The only storage that you will want to have is a bigger wallet for profit gains. 

Fifth, effortlessness. Drop shipping is effortless. You will not have to lift a finger or put any extra effort towards handling items. All you need to do is convince your audience to purchase your products.

Top Five Problems with Drop Shipping

In an earlier post, it was discussed what the top five reasons why to use drop shipping were. Now, we will discuss the top five problems with drop shipping. Let’s recall what drop shipping is. Drop shipping is a supply chain management technique in which a retailer does not keep goods in stock, but rather transfers customer orders and shipment details to either a manufacturer or a wholesaler, who then ships the goods directly to the customer.  Although this may seem like a good business deal, it comes with a few major issues as well.

1. Fulfillment Problems

Many drop shippers regularly face fulfillment problems. You many guarantee your customers that the product they are ordering is in stock, however, when the time comes for fulfillment, the product ends up running out of the supplier’s store. The entire burden will be left to you and will be upon you to communicate to the customers and inform them that their orders will not be delivered on time, as promised. In addition, some suppliers may take too long to ship the products, making customers become impatient and may withhold future business. Most drop shippers overcome this problem by increasing the time between order placement and shipping.

2. Dealing with Returns

To improve customer satisfaction and establish strong customer relations, drop shippers are required to have an easy and efficient return policy. In such cases, the drop shipper will be responsible for refunding the customer’s money or replacing the product. The problem with drop shippers returning the refunded items to their vendors is that vendors may reject the items, impose restocking charges, or delay confirmation of received items. If the drop shipper receives the items by himself, it may be difficult for him to resell them. In most cases, the drop shippers are the ones who suffer losses when items are returned by customers.

3. Minimal Branding Opportunities

If you are running a drop shipping store, the chances of branding your store are very minimal. The reason is you do not have any control on the products being sold, their packaging, labeling, or even the contents in the purchased box. This makes it very difficult for you to do any form of customized branding for your store. Most distributors and online sellers create the impression of their stores by branding the product boxes or attaching notes on the package. However, this type of branding is unusual in drop shipping since the supplier determines the final look of the order package and labels. Therefore, it is very challenging for you, as a drop shipper, to make a memorable impression on consumers. 

4. Incapacity to Fix Order Problems Directly

There are several problems that are associated with shipping, including order cancellations, order changes, lost deliveries, product damages, etc. The customer’s expectation is that these problems will be fixed immediately after contacting you. However, drop shippers ship on the suppliers’ account and thus the problem has to be communicated to the supplier and the shipping company for it to be fixed. Most drop shippers find themselves failing to meet order expectations of their customers whenever a problem arises that needs to be fixed. 

5. Higher Shipping Costs

When using drop shipping, products will pass through the hands of several drop shippers before reaching the final consumers. The different drop shippers will charge different shopping costs, which increases the overall shipping costs of the products. Many times, the drop shippers involved will try to pass any extra cost they incur onto the final consumer, reducing the competitiveness of prices in the market.