Top tips to reduce pick and pack dispatch costs
We are now operating in an environment whereby consumers are expecting to receive deliveries quickly, it is a constant battle to reach these expectations whilst keeping costs down and processes efficient.
A major part of the shipment process is the picking and packing of orders. This refers to the warehouse process in which orders are selected or ‘picked’ from shelves in reference to a customer order and then packed efficiently according to requirements, labelled with delivery details and ultimately shipped to the customer.
Many warehouses or fulfilment centres which offer a pick and pack service will use warehouse fulfilment software to assist them in ensuring orders are picked and packed correctly from the initial order that comes in to the shipment of the order. Orders made online will immediately be sent to the warehouse, the information shown will include everything from a list of items ordered, shipping option chosen and shipping labels with delivery details. The warehouse operative will receive these order specific details along with the warehouse locations for the individual items in order to pick them efficiently.
Once the order is picked, the next step is to package it in an appropriate container, using packaging materials that will keep the items safe from damage in transit. Order fulfilment technology can automatically predict the size and type of packaging best suited for the item(s) which of course saves time for the warehouse personnel. This is also where branded packaging or labelling will be included so the order appears to have been sent directly by the seller.
How can we make this process more cost effective and efficient?
Ensuring your orders get out to customers whilst running a successful business can be time consuming and prevent you, the business owner, from developing certain areas of your business or simply freeing up time to concentrate on things such as growth and product development.
Outsourcing your order fulfilment means you can cover the receiving, picking, packing and distribution of your goods without having to lift a finger or hire more in-house staff. There are also some changes you can make to your warehousing and order processing that can bring costs down in that area.
As mentioned above, warehouse fulfilment software can help to significantly cut costs and reduce wastage in packaging, for example. Software which can predict the size and weight of items will help your warehouse staff to use the most suitable packaging. This kind of technology will also help to keep on top of stock, calculate the cheapest shipping option and give updates to the customer.
- Optimise Warehouse Space
Before considering expansion you should first optimise the space you already have. Build upwards and minimise space between aisles, this can often be done by introducing one way traffic – this is also relevant even more so now we face social distancing due to the current coronavirus pandemic.
- Review Stock Regularly
With more options available to consumers online than ever before, it’s so important to stay on top of what is selling and what is not. Clearing out old stock in favour of fast moving items will also help with optimizing your warehouse space. Stock that doesn’t move is costing money, there is no need to hold onto dead inventory.
- Review Packaging
This is an area of the picking and packing process which can lead to wastage in warehouses. When there is a large variety of products then it is only natural that there will also be a wide range of packaging materials available to suit each product and ship safely and securely. Analyse your packaging and see if you can find ways to reduce the number of boxes, the size of boxes and packaging materials. Customers are also more conscious of supporting businesses that use a greener packaging process.
More and more companies are considering automation in their picking processes, this is clearly an option as your business grows. It is thought that manual picking can result in 60 to 80 products being picked per hour, whereas this can increase to as many as 300 when the process is automated by the use of conveyors and sorters.
Carrying out an audit of your processes can highlight areas which are least efficient and perhaps costing more than they ought to. The most efficient way to reduce costs as your business grows is to outsource your order fulfilment operations and hand over to specialist teams who can ensure your products are sent out efficiently and cost effectively to allow you time to grow and diversify your business.
For more information on outsourcing your order fulfilment head to www.xpediator.com or you can call and speak to one of our expert team on +44 (0) 330 043 2395.