At Volo, we have been working with our customers since 2006 to fine-tune their fulfilment and dispatch processes. Over this time we have accumulated a range of best practices and procedures which we pass on to our new customers to help them cut time, costs and mistakes out of their operations. This post shares some of our experiences in this critical area.
When it comes to labelling, consistency helps you improve speed and eradicate errors. Make sure your product codes and information are the same on the product box for warehousing, the same on the warehouse shelves for picking, the same on your shipping list for packing, the same on your manifest for dispatch, and the same on your invoice and delivery documentation. You can use the Volo system to automate all of this printing, which has the effect of dramatically cutting down on the manual aspect. Instead of having someone full-time on printing, you can redeploy them elsewhere in the business where they can really add value to an area that is not as easy, or not as desirable, to automate.
Once the items have been correctly picked, the last thing you want is for the right items not to find their way into the container for the customer. Otherwise, this precipitates a costly and time-consuming re-pick, re-pack and re-dispatch to a frustrated customer at your expense. As with picking, the better you can organise your packing area, the faster you can pack the orders ready for dispatch with a zero error count. Systems like Volo have packing screens to allow your fulfilment staff to get the order assembly right every time, in good time.
Introduce a courier
Introducing a courier or aggregator into the mix introduces a third party into the equation and increases the chance of someone dropping the ball. We advise you to integrate as much of your couriers’ processes and data feeds as you can into your own system, since the greater the integration, the better the efficiency all round. The Volo focus is on streamlining and automating your entire dispatch process and we've worked very hard to provide the most comprehensive range of fully integrated couriers, including all the major domestic and international carriers, as we believe this is a critical area where you can make major efficiency gains.
What to gain from an integrated system
The benefits of an integrated system are not confined to the courier and dispatch area. On the sales order processing side, your processes are better and your staff are happier if they can do everything they need to do in one system. At Volo, our approach is to help bring together all your order information into a single, coherent view. Taking this approach means that matching sales orders with payments and accounting systems then gets much more straightforward.
When your customer opens their package, you are presented with your first opportunity to re-market to them. Remarketing gives you the chance to secure more sales from your customer and build on what will hopefully be a long-term mutually beneficial relationship. Some of the marketplaces, however, where the question of customer ownership is not as clear-cut, frown upon your inserting marketing collateral into the package and this can be reason enough to suspend you from the marketplace.
With Volo, however, you can easily organise the printing of marketing messages and invitations to purchase onto the invoice and delivery documentation itself. Better still, if you can make your offer more compelling and more tailored to the item or items your customer has ordered, you increase your chances of them taking you up on the offer. It costs you nothing and even a small conversion rate is worth the effort at personalising your service.
FBA (Fulfilment by Amazon)
Finally, when you use a system like Volo you have full ‘Fulfilment by Amazon’ (otherwise known as FBA, the seller side of Amazon Prime) functionality integrated into your operations. FBA gives you additional options around sales growth and profitability, as well as fulfilment, since being able to offer Amazon Prime is a major influencer on the Amazon Buy Box. With full FBA integration in Volo, you have complete control over the consignments of your products that you send to the various Amazon fulfilment centres.
Read back later this week to learn about what customers had to say about how Volo helped them with their fulfilment and dispatch process.