Pick, pack, and ship services are also known as crowdfunding fulfillment. Using 3PL is a great way to have all of your fulfillment services in one location. Small eCommerce, medium-sized, and fortune 500 companies outsource to 3PL for their pick, pack, and ship services. Many industries use these fulfillment services. Industries such as apparel, electronics, health and wellness, pet supplies, etc.
With pick, pack, and ship services there are more steps to the fulfillment process versus other fulfillment processes. Thus making it a more time-consuming, tedious process. If not done properly this fulfillment service could have many errors. Using 3PL for these services will ensure efficiency and reduce errors. Pick, pack, and ship services became a necessary fulfillment service to quickly and inexpensively ship a high volume of small orders.
What Is The Order Process For Pick, Pack, And Ship Services?
A patron scrolls a business website and orders goods. They then go through the checkout procedure, choose their shipping, and pay for it. That is then sent to the business’ website software which is linked to the warehouse where the product is stored.
At this point, the software will process your order, confirm the products are in stock and alert the pickers that the order is ready to be picked out. A packing slip with a list of the items and their SKU numbers is printed out.
The picker receives the packing slip and uses this to locate the products in the warehouse. Then they pull the items off the shelf to fulfill the order. Depending on the size of the warehouse and the amount of product carried, there could be multiple pickers. During the picking process, there may be kitting fulfillment that occurs. The picker takes the fulfillment order to the packing station with the packing slip.
The packer will first verify that all of the items needed to fulfill this order are there. The picker will then choose the best way to pack the items. Perhaps it will be a small or large box, maybe it will be an envelope. Also, this is when customized packaging happens. The picker will place a packing slip, receipt, as well as any instructions that are needed inside the package before sealing it. A shipping label will be created. The packer will verify the information on the label is correct. If it is correct, they will affix the label on the package.
Once the fulfillment is completed and ready for shipping, the products that were packaged will be removed from the inventory management software. The eCommerce platform will then be updated with the product that is now available in the warehouse.
The package is now ready to be shipped. When the patron that placed the order looks at the status, the eCommerce platform will show it is ready for shipping. As soon as the carrier picks the package up, the status will change to out for delivery.
But Why Is This Service Necessary?
This fulfillment service can be complex. If even one part of the process is not done correctly, it could create further errors throughout the rest of the process. Could you imagine what it would be like to go to pick a product only to find there is a different product in the place where the original item should be? Then you have to try and locate the original product. These kinds of errors can happen in a warehouse that is not prepared for a high volume of products or orders. This type of issue would make it take longer to get the product to the customer. By outsourcing, you can focus on managing your growing company.
Advantages of Outsourcing
The pick, pack, and ship services outsourced to a 3PL provide:
- Up-to-date technology
- Organized inventory management
- Guaranteed tracking
- A higher amount of volume to be moved quickly
- Maintained warehouse and space
- Reduce costs
- Time management
- Increased order accuracy
- Increase customer satisfaction
- Offer a larger volume and wider variety
3PL has the latest in technology, from software to machinery. Up-to-date software allows for better inventory management, and accurate records, and reduces the number of errors that can occur. Updated machinery allows for quicker and easier production.
Organized Inventory Management
3PL has updated software and enough staff to keep the inventory organized. This makes pick, pack, and ship services go much smoother because everything is where it is supposed to be which makes it easier to locate and pick out the items that were ordered.
3PL will have the time and resources needed to find the best shipping available. With that shipping will come guaranteed tracking. This helps the customer see where their purchase is currently in the shipping process.
Volume VS Time
3PL will be able to push out a high amount of volume quickly because they will have the technology, the staff, and the resources available to do so. This will increase customer satisfaction, and profit, and increase business. This is a valuable way to grow your company.
Maintained Warehouse and Space
3PL will have the amount of warehouse space needed to keep enough inventory on hand for your business. It will have enough room to allow for an increase in inventory. 3PL will have trained staff to help maintain a clean and organized warehouse, which will make the pick, pack, and ship service run efficiently.
By outsourcing your pick, pack, and ship service you will reduce many costs. The 3PL will find the best discounts for packaging and shipping. It will reduce your overhead costs. It will reduce the amount of space you need to run your business which will save on the cost of utilities. With the technology the 3PL offers, there are fewer errors made, which will reduce the amount of unnecessary waste. Because the 3PL already has the staff needed to complete the fulfillment service, that will decrease your cost of employees.
Because of the technology, staff, and organization the 3PL has, fulfillment services can be completed on time. The 3PL will be able to pick, pack, and ship each order quickly and efficiently.
Increased Order Accuracy
Because of the inventory and time management skills a 3PL offers, the accuracy of orders will be increased. The 3PL will have the experience of fulfillment processes to continue running the service smoothly.
Increase Customer Satisfaction
With the ease of the eCommerce platform, the accuracy of orders, quick fulfillment, and shipping, customers are going to be far more satisfied. The 3PL will offer amazing customer service to help your customers with any issues they may face, which will satisfy the customer. Customers will be very satisfied to receive their order with no errors made.
Offer a larger volume and wider variety
3PL has so much warehouse space and the staff to maintain it, that they can hold a larger volume of product. Because they can hold a larger volume, you can offer a wider variety of products. Customers are more likely to purchase from a company if they can purchase multiple products they need or want from one source.
Disadvantages to Outsourcing
By outsourcing you do not get the opportunity to personally get to know each customer. By getting to know your customers personally, you would have the ability to be more flexible, offer personalized discounts, and offer them products they haven’t purchased yet based on past purchases. Because you have outsourced, it will take you longer to understand the business, and the flow of the fulfillment process, and could hinder your goals for the future of your business. By outsourcing, you have to give up the logistics of your company. Yes, you have to give up some control of your business. That could be scary for any business owner, especially one that is just getting up off the ground.
Disadvantages of Not Outsourcing
For a small eCommerce business that is just getting started, having the technology, staff, organization, and resources may be hard for them to obtain. They will need to create a customer base, run the business, keep inventory updated, and hire enough staff for each process that occurs in the fulfillment service. This can be difficult and if not done correctly or promptly could cause problems in losing customers, losing revenue, and losing vendors. Not to mention the cost of having a big enough warehouse and office and up-to-date machinery to run the fulfillment services.
A business owner that tries to do it all on their own would surely feel the stress and may lose focus on some departments of the business. There is a higher possibility of errors, the inability to keep up with increased orders, and not having enough staff on hand to fulfill orders. If the staff is doing multiple parts of the fulfillment process, they are likely to get burnt out and leave their position sooner than if they did not.