Constantly climbing inflation, increasing supply chain constraints, continued lockdowns due to Covid outbreaks and navigating the war in Ukraine have all lead toward a significant slowdown globally, but experts do not expect a return to the 1970s thankfully.
According to Seth Carpenter, Chief Global Economist at Morgan Stanley, “we are in the most chaotic, hard-to-predict macroeconomic time in decades.” In spite of the war and surging inflation, Morgan Stanley economists do not believe it indicates a worldwide recession is in our near future.
Not too long ago, economists were expecting 2022 to be “a period of strong economic rebound, where businesses would return to full operation post-covid.” It was expected to be the new era of the roaring twenties, where consumers would be free to spend their savings on activities and vacationsthat they were not able to do during the lockdowns of the pandemic.
Many headlines today are referencing “stagflation,” a term many are having to search in order to remember the 1970s referenceto a painful mix of high prices and low growth brought about when the Arab oil embargo mixed with double-digit inflation caused a prolonged period of global economic hardship.
So, with so much out of your control, getting back to the basics and making your current processes more efficient is critical.
The eCommerce Fulfillment Process
Software solutions and automation can impact your business drastically when seeking to simplify your fulfilment management needs – it increases your capacity for additional customer orders with little to no additional cost and without having to hire and train new team members. It is also critical to streamline each of the areas to achieve efficiency.
Knowing the quantity and quality of your inventory prior to processing orders is critical for success.Stock keeping units (SKUs) on products allows your team to keep track of inventory levels to know what is available to sell and know when to reorder.
Implementing a standard receiving process helps to reduce inventory and purchase order discrepancies and helps to define your optimal level of inventory. Regular audits of inventory help to confirm your teams’ processes are accurately recording and updating inventory levels so that your ordering manager has accurate data for decisions and reorders.
eCommerce platforms automate order confirmations sent to customers and provide critical information such as order summary, tracking number, shipping information, etc. Any errors entered through this process can be caught quickly and cheaply, otherwise it may ship to incorrect addresses or a myriad of other issues that can arise.
It is critical that as your eCommerce business grows to include multiple sales channels, your software grows with you. Knowing your inventory across multiple sales channels is critical for the customer experience and automating this piece drastically simplifies it for your team. They are able to reserve inventory for those who pick, pack and ship the orders so inventory is not sold multiple times.
Pick, Pack & Ship
Software automates this intricate process – once orders are confirmed, the picking list is sent to the fulfillment warehouse to pull the required products to then pack and ship to the customer.
Establishing each phase of the system and working with the software will keep it accurate and efficient to help speed up the time to fulfill orders while reducing the costly errors.
An additional area that is often overlooked is branding – as many begin purchasing directly from eCommerce businesses, it will be important to develop that customer experience from the moment they select the product to purchase to delivery and opening the box. Branding the box and how the product arrives is just as much part of the customer journey.
Shipping is challenging area for all businesses right now – with supply chains down and expensive, it’s critical your team is constantly looking for the best price with the most reliable deliverability. Choosing fulfillment partners located close to your customers is another option to consider if you deliver product across the US and notice that it may make sense to have multiple warehouses instead of the time delay of shipping so far.
Understanding your fulfillment strategies will help your eCommerce business streamline and cut costs through this time of stagflation, but also allow your business to have things in order and ready to go when business picks back up.
Simplify with OPAL’s 4-in-1 Software Solution
EDI | Order Management | Warehouse Management | Shipping
OPAL is the innovative solution to simplify your small to mid-sized to enterprise business fulfillment needs in today’s rapidly transforming retail world.
As complications continue to arise around the world and supply chain issues continue to grow, it is time to enhance your systems through automation with OPAL to keep up with this competitive industry so that your eCommerce business is ready to grow.
To learn more about how OPAL has partnered with many to scale their business to new levels of success, click here.
Click here to book your customized demo today. We are here to support you through this time of change and are here to help you innovate and thrive!