3 ways to increase your e-commerce fulfillment velocity

Delivery service worker using a 2-wheel cart full of packages

Now that almost every consumer expects next-day delivery, even when they’re ordering a complete living room set and flat screen TV, most companies are trying to increase their e-commerce fulfillment velocity. In fact, a FLEXE survey revealed that 56 percent of consumers now expect one-to two-day shipping from all businesses.1 So, with e-commerce moving toward a next-day model, how do you increase your fulfillment velocity to meet ever-increasing consumer demands?

Here are three ways to get products in the hands of consumers more quickly and efficiently:

1. Design packaging that is faster to deploy

Think small. In other words, think about the few extra minutes, or even seconds, it takes to assemble one of your packages. It may seem negligible – after all, it’s just seconds. But seconds can add up to days. Redesigning your package to make it more labor-friendly and easier to construct can help speed up your packaging line and can also contribute to improving morale among your workforce.

To better understand the process and challenges, spend time with a packaging consultant to observe your packaging line and workforce. How much time do your workers spend constructing the box and filling the voids? Are there too many box sizes available, or not enough? Identify new opportunities and work with your integrated packaging provider to pilot the changes in your facility.

Formatted text representing a point made in the content2. Maximize labor with automation equipment

With an eye on decreasing delivery time, automation experts can help you discover the root cause of delays and develop a new plan to reduce labor, streamline workflow, increase throughput, and maximize revenue.

“Packaging equipment comes in all shapes and sizes and can help companies achieve new levels of efficiency and adapt to growing demands,” says Kenneth Walker, Enterprise Account Executive with Veritiv. “The key is working with an experienced packaging equipment consultant to understand the current state and wide range of equipment options that will allow flexibility as your company grows.”

Automation specialists can help you mix and match semi- or fully-automated packaging equipment based on your specific needs and business goals. These engineered, integrated solutions create a more efficient packaging process and allow your workforce to focus on larger, more important tasks.

3. Make the most of every square inch

Fulfillment centers often require more warehouse space versus traditional distribution centers, so efficient use of space and flow of materials within the facility are key to managing operating costs. Look for a company that offers just-in-time delivery of critical packaging materials. This solution can allow better utilization of space while also making sure the right materials arrive at the right time. “Just-in-time delivery solutions allow e-commerce fulfillment centers to scale up as sales increase without impact to their warehouse space,” says Veritiv Packaging Director Tory Cruse.

Given that 73 percent of consumers are unlikely to order from a company again if they receive a damaged product, protecting your package is your top priority.2 New packaging methods and more collaboration with your packaging supplier are effective ways to help unlock greater efficiencies while building a loyal customer base.

What is on your Pick Cart?

Here are some ways to help your pickers be more effective:

  • Stock each cart with gloves, tape, and boxes to keep your pickers on task, rather than looking for materials.
  • Add manual tapers to the cart so pickers can quickly seal boxes.
  • Include a space to clip the pick list—this simple step can keep it handy and prevent it from being misplaced.

 

 

1 “Delivery Promise Gap – The Distance between What Retailers Offer and Customers Expect.” FLEXE. October, 2017.  
2 “Breakthrough Research - Understanding Consumers’ Emotional Response to Protective Materials in Parcel Packaging.” Pregis. February, 2018.