Pick and Pack eCommerce Fulfilment: 3pl Inventory Management
Pick and pack is one of those 3pl (third party logistics) eCommerce fulfilment order phrases that many people may not be familiar with. People may think the order fulfilment process and inventory management are very simple. At its core, many may think that way; yet many pick-pack-and-ship factors distinguish good 3pl services from great 3pl services.
A pick-and-pack fulfilment warehouse does many things. Whether you are a small eCommerce brand or a large eCommerce retailer, it’s vital to understand pick and pack from A to Z. The picking and packing process not only includes custom packaging but can save your business time and money. So, let’s take a closer look at pick-and-pack eCommerce fulfilment services and 3pl logistics.
What is pick and pack fulfilment?
Picking and packing is a process of order fulfilment in which a warehouse operator has to pick an item and pack an item. Warehousing picking happens after an eCommerce store gets an order from a customer that’s shopping online. The warehouse fulfilment centre takes the online order digitally and then locates the item through its warehouse management software (WMS). The item is then electronically assigned to a worker.
Using technology, the warehouse worker will then be assigned the item or bulk items for pickup from a pick list. Companies like Selazar digitally map the warehouse, allowing for the most optimal routes to be taken, saving time and money for the business. Selazar offers no monthly contract to its partners, and they have fewer costs than the competition by charging partners for the time needed for the fulfilment process. If businesses sell out all their inventory by the end of the month and have no products left in the warehouse, Selazar believes they should not be charged for it.
Managing inventory for eCommerce fulfilment is integral to the pick-pack process. Even before an order is received within the warehouse, there is a logistical shelving and storage organisation process. There are different considerations for both size and number of products and ease of access for quicker picking and packing. The warehouse layout is set up in different sections for inputting products, holding products, and packaging products. Somebody must strategically map in such a way that is efficient and logical.
For example, if the pick and packers are taking routes that interfere with the flow of machine operators storing inventory, this will cause hiccups. If too much pallet stacking happens, making it harder to reach items, this will slow down operations. In the 3pl business, it’s all about rapid turnaround; therefore, proper inventory management is essential.
What is pick, pack and ship?
What 3pl logistics providers do is assist with the entire order fulfilment journey. Whereas a standard courier may only deal with one part of the order fulfilment journey, 3pl fulfilment centre providers like Selazar do more. We include inventory storage, inventory packing, and inventory shipping, all while having a high-tech platform for managing your orders.
UK retailers and UK eCommerce online stores can benefit from outsource fulfilment because it frees up time to focus on other priorities of the business. When you don’t have to leverage more company time on custom packaging, sending, or dealing with returns, you can focus more on the marketing and sales side for example.
Selazar and our partner network streamline the fulfilment centre process, making it fast and efficient. We can ship products from our warehouses to all areas of the UK, Europe, and abroad. Our pick-and-pack fulfilment process leverages technology so that customers can get orders within 24 – 48 hours, advocating a better online delivery experience. Selazar makes inventory management a priority.
There are various pick-pack order strategies for 3pl services, such as:
Batch picking means picking multiple orders at a time. When many orders are initially processed, gathering all of them is more time-efficient than repeating single runs. For a worker to take a route, picking up multiple orders reduces travel time around the warehouse. Usually, if a single eCommerce store has multiple orders, it makes more sense to get bulk orders at once rather than for each sale.
Zone order picking
Warehouses are divided into multiple zones. For example, they are divided into larger and smaller items, etc. Workers will be assigned to all the SKUs (stock-keeping units) in their zone. Another reason for zones is that they can be figured into fast-moving or slow-moving areas for people and machines.
Zone picking is typically used with a high volume of SKUs. When each zone is assigned to a different worker, it allows for more familiarity with the products and efficiency. According to the VWO:
On average, 43% of profits for eCommerce stores comes from returning customers
The most common method of pick and pack is piece picking. This is when a single order is picked up. Depending on the business, single orders may have very sporadic sales; therefore, it’s the only way to fulfil it. However, this can be largely inefficient, and companies with smaller amounts of sales might be better for smaller warehouses.
Wave picking is a packing warehouse that combines both batch and zone picking. It is a frequently used process that includes piece picking, but in scheduled waves of time. The orders can be predicted and more productive by scheduling these time frames.
Why is the picking and packing 3pl fulfilment process important?
Picking and packing is such an essential process because it’s key to keeping your customer base happy and, therefore, loyal to you. When your 3pl is quicker and more streamlined, the customers receive their parcels faster. Dispatch speed is your completive advantage. This goal happens through smarter operations and accuracy. Selazar currently has a 99.9% pick and pack accuracy rate, even receiving an award nomination for exceptional warehouse management. This system of managing inventory was nominated by the logistics awards 2021.
Pick and pack accuracy can make or break your business. E-commerce customers now expect to receive their products more quicker. Therefore, having a tech-first approach towards fulfilment with a digitally mapped warehouse is where your products need to be stored.
What is the difference between packing and the unboxing experience?
When eCommerce businesses partner with Selazar, they have two options for the end process of picking and packing. The first is standard packing.
Order Packing (standard)
Standard order packing for eCommerce order fulfilment means that the product is prepared to be shipped. The product is put into a container box, taped, and prepared safely for transit. Nothing extra is done to the product. No inserts or custom labelling.
Selazar standard packing offers space-saving algorithms that optimise the picking and packing experience. Our algorithms determine the size and shape of products being combined into a single container. During onboarding, we undertake enabling work called Product Absorption. We get to know your products and everything about them. We’re able to automatically know the minimum amount of space needed and assign the most appropriately sized box with minimal padding for safe shipping.
Unboxing Experience (custom)
Custom order packaging for eCommerce order fulfilment means your product is specially prepared for storage and custom branding. Many brands have specific requests for custom covers for their products, stickers, packing inserts, etc. It’s a desirable option for customers who have an affinity for appearance and aesthetics. People identify closely with brands, so this is very important to some companies.
Both standard and custom options are available to Selazar partners when managing inventory. We even use eco-friendly boxes and tape without using any plastic.
Using innovative logistics and custom packaging and moving your operations to a third-party provider like Selazar has a plethora of experience boosting benefits.
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What is green fulfilment?
In the modern world, customers and businesses are aware of the ever-growing importance of environmentally friendly products. Not only do customers endorse it, but they prefer companies that use green fulfilment methods. According to a European consumer packaging survey, 90% of UK shoppers want recyclable packaging.
Pick and pack eCommerce fulfilment is an essential part of 3pl inventory management. Your eCommerce businesses must consider all aspects of pick and packing, custom packaging, green fulfilment, and more. Let us know how we can further serve you today. Contact us here.
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