26 Feb 3 Costly Shipping and Fulfillment Blunders and How to Avoid Them
Logistical options for shipping and fulfillment have expanded with the rapid growth of e-commerce, cloud, and mobile computing solutions. While this growth has created many opportunities for small and large businesses alike, it’s also raised the standard with consumer expectations. If modern enterprises fail to plan accordingly by upgrading and streamlining existing systems, costly blunders could stifle future growth. In an effort to help, let’s discuss 3 costly shipping and fulfillment blunders and how to avoid them.
Careless Shipping Mistakes
While it may seem easy enough to take an order, pick and pack an item, and then ship it out in a timely manner to the correct address, in actuality, this process takes precise coordination and organizational skills, especially, during times of increased ordering. In other words, there’s a lot that can go wrong with shipping and fulfillment processes.
Careless shipping mistakes are one of the biggest blunders a business can make, as they directly impact customers and cost businesses both time and money to manage and resolve. When an order arrives late, contains the wrong item, isn’t packaged correctly, or is shipped to the wrong address, the customer’s expectations won’t be met and the business’s brand reputation will be damaged.
Shipping mistakes are a blunder for businesses because they’re, generally, caused by carelessness within the fulfillment process. There are many reasons why this could happen, including:
- Overworked employees
- Disparate distribution channels not centralized and integrated
- Understocked warehouses
- Failures with manual inventory processes
- Lack of automation controls with address verification
- Coordination failures with logistic partners
- Lack of coordination with customer service departments
- Not enough resources to meet the scale of orders
Of course, shipping mistakes can also be the customer’s fault, yet the goal of businesses should be to eliminate the blunders they can control while mitigating the ones they can’t. Overall, the last thing businesses want is their brand reputation to be diminished by their lacklustre shipping and fulfillment services.
Overspending on Shipping and Fulfillment Processes
The focus of retail businesses is to sell products to customers, yet how well they get their products to customers is half the battle. For those selling physical products online, over the phone, and/or through the mail, this means they must gain expertise with shipping and fulfillment processes. The problem is their expertise with these processes isn’t always sufficient, which leads to the blunder of overspending on shipping and fulfillment processes.
This blunder is, especially, prevalent with medium to large-sized businesses, as the scale of their orders works to magnify the margins of overspending; conversely, by using an effective solution, the scale of orders can magnify the margins of profit. In other words, running a tight ship with streamlined efficiency has the potential to save businesses a significant amount of time and money.
This is why most of the top companies in the world outsource their shipping and fulfillment processes to 3PL partners, as data from a Shopify article validates:
An estimated 86% of Fortune 500 companies and 96% of the Fortune 100 use these services.
Essentially, businesses will benefit from optimizing these processes to reduce overspending. With the right perspective and solutions, businesses can transform shipping and fulfillment into profitable processes, rather than perpetual sources of wasted potential and overspending.
Not Preparing for Peak Seasons
Peak seasons include the holidays and other times when businesses see a significant increase in orders. Businesses can maximize the profit earned during these times by being prepared. This includes having sufficient inventory in stock, enough workers, and optimized fulfillment processes that can handle the heavy load.
An article found at Forbes puts it this way:
Whether you’re making sure you don’t go broke in the offseason, getting enough people to work in the peak season or having inventory to stock your shelves for the rush, planning well ahead is critical to the survival of any seasonal business.
Essentially, businesses want to be prepared for an increase in orders all the time, as this is the goal of marketing efforts and strategic developments, such as expanding e-commerce channels. While the level of order fluctuation will vary depending on the specific variables involved, all businesses will benefit by avoiding the blunder of not being prepared for peak seasons.
How to Avoid These Blunders
Online technology and the rise of e-commerce has drastically changed the expectations of modern consumers. Today’s retail e-commerce consumers expect faster shipping times and optimized shopping experiences. Essentially, they expect the standard being set by retail e-commerce giants like Amazon and eBay.
The good news is businesses don’t have to be Fortune 500 companies to excel with shipping and fulfillment, in order to meet these rising consumer expectations. Really, all they need is the right focus, technology, and partnerships to upgrade and optimize these processes. This may include working with a third-party logistics partner and adopting order management software with cloud capabilities.
Essentially, what modern enterprises need are the online tools to streamline and centralize these processes with the accessibility and functionality provided by cloud-based software solutions. The key is to simplify the complexities by automating redundancies and manual inputs while integrating sales channels and enterprise systems into a centralized online location.
Shipping mistakes, overspending on shipping and fulfillment processes, and not being prepared for peak seasons can all be considered careless mistakes by modern enterprises, mostly, because there are viable solutions to avoid them. Partly, this includes gaining the right perspective and partly the right technology.
With the total online retail sales in 2018 at $504.6 billion in the U.S. and $40 billion in Canada ($2.3 trillion worldwide in 2017), there’s plenty of reasons for businesses to focus on optimizing these important processes. For most medium to large-sized businesses, this means finding effective 3PL partnerships that work for their specific needs.
Learn More About Avoiding Shipping and Fulfillment Blunders
Finding the right shipping and fulfillment partner can drastically change the possibilities for businesses. Not only will they avoid these 3 blunders more often, but they’ll also enjoy the benefits of working smarter and not harder. If interested in learning how Ottawa Logistics can help, please contact us today.