Quick ship standards refer to the processes and technologies in use that optimize order fulfillment and exceed customer expectations for fast delivery. In other words, such measures give companies the ability to compete with Amazon, Target, and Walmart. To achieve faster order fulfillment and expedite delivery, shippers need to know challenges, the benefits, and a few best practices to avoid unnecessary expenses.
Challenges of Quick Ship Order Fulfillment
The leading obstacles of quick ship order fulfillment include:
- Warehouses lack the human resources to handle sudden changes in demand. Increases in demand without planning will lead to delays in shipping.
- Consumers may prefer faster shipping, but the question remains. Do they need it enough to pay for it?
- Failure to utilize integrated systems will contribute to areas of poor visibility and miscommunications. Such shortcomings will alienate consumers.
- Automated systems still require a human component, even if only for reprogramming.
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The Benefits of Quick Ship Standards
The leading benefits of implementing quick ship standards in your organization, says Daniela Forte of Multichannel Merchant, include:
- Utilizing quick ship standards increases the productivity of your team.
- Faster shipping improves competitive advantage by 85%, compared to those using traditional shipping strategies.
- Quick ship standards build trust, rapport, and reliability among business-to-business (B2B) and direct-to-consumer (D2C) consumers.
- Companies using quick ship standards achieve year-over-year sales increases and a 200% increase in sales conversions.
How to Create and Deploy Quick Ship Standards
Warehouses and supply chains have a common goal: move more product faster and cheaper, a basic premise of quick ship standards. However, the path to implementation is not always the easiest to realize. Those that wish to develop and deploy measures should follow these best practices:
- Know your customers. Although data suggests that up to 30 percent of e-commerce purchases are returned, reality reveals approximately 10 percent of online purchases are returned without requesting a replacement.
- Give customers options. Since 85% of online purchases are based on availability, not customer desires, an item being listed as “out-of-stock or on backorder” will lead to lost conversions. More importantly, consumers are more likely to go to your competitor—Amazon! Moreover, consumers may prefer to wait on a lengthy shipping process when it is free, having delayed shipping to combine items to fewer packages, or paying a premium only for faster delivery.
- Consider handling and shipping costs in all decisions. Any decision affecting operations will impact shipping efficiency. Shippers should always consider the impact on handling and shipping before making changes to operations.
- Outsource fulfillment to third-party marketplaces. Sometimes, it is easier to let someone else handle the storage and fulfillment of your inventory.
- Integrate warehouse and supply chain systems. Integrating systems eliminates uncertainty and inconsistencies in applying data to understand and improve operations.
- Take advantage of robotics and automated systems to speed fulfillment. As noted by Schafer in “Get Ready for the Nextgen E-Commerce Automation Revolution,” automation is much more than merely sending a system to collect an item. It is up to workers to pull tubs, ensure enough containers are available, authorize payment of reorders and more. Thus, deploying quick ship standards that account for both discrete and non-discrete systems (such as combined human and automated resources) are essential to faster order fulfillment.
Optimize Your Fulfillment Operation With the Right Quick Ship Standards
The right fulfillment strategy will reduce labor costs, increase employee morale, and enable competitive advantage. Of course, it all relies on having the processes and technologies in place to gain end-to-end visibility and apply data accordingly.