Inside an Ecommerce fulfilment warehouse
Most ecommerce businesses who need fulfilment services have never worked in a warehouse before and have no idea about what happens from when an order is placed and when it is delivered to the end customer.
So, to give an idea of exactly what a growing brand would face or must consider when scaling their fulfilment operation, we tasked our marketing apprentice Jake to spend two days within our world of fulfilment – below is the summary of his experience:
List of equipment used
- Scanning guns
- Computer desktop
- Picking bin
- Recyclable A4 packaging
- Recyclable A5 packaging
- Recyclable A3 packaging
- Mailing bags
- Label printer
So, what is picking and packing?
To put it simply; picking is the process of pulling inventory from the warehouse to be included in the customer’s order; packing is the process of gathering and packaging these items to prepare them for shipment to the customer. With the definition out of the way let me explain what each process involved step-by-step:
- Picking led me to our racking area, our racking contains 2 overall sections Z1 and Z2 and spans the length of the warehouse containing 4 levels, in which the picking station is closely located. A picking station is an area dedicated to the picking process, it is a table or trolley where you keep the product boxes on. The scanning process occurs here and the item is placed into the product box here. I was handed a scanning gun and given a short training session with it. The scanning gun used had a small tablet on the top which showed the tasks, was also touch screen. This piece of tech removed the need for a desktop computer and therefore reduced picking times and making the process that much simpler. What was required of me is to start a task on our scanning gun which would show an item code.
- My job was to then locate the product/product’s barcode that is found along our racking. This process was rather simple as each layer of racking was numbered from 1-4 and each section of racking was labelled A-J. Each product bin on a section was also labelled A-J. To give you an example, the scanning gun shows a product on section H; it is the fourth product bin in and is on the third row up. The barcode we are looking for would look something like this “Z1HD3”.
- Once the item is found I had to scan the product barcode where it is then placed into a picking tote.
The picking tote has its own barcode located on the front and back which is also scanned, tying that item to that box (known as the location of the item). Now, it is important not to mix up items within the packing boxes as this will affect the software used during packing.
The process of packing:
- This process involved taking a box containing a product and using another scanner on the barcode on the box. This will bring up the product on the computer screen.
- The product then needs its barcode scanned to show it is the correct item. Once that is done, we have several barcodes for the appropriate packaging option.
- For the particular product line, I was personally working on was able to fit in our recyclable A4 packaging. For smaller items we use A5 packaging and for large numbers of products within a single order we have A3 packaging.
- We have the capability to pack larger products, but our current fulfilment orders are straps for tech watches which are small enough to only require the packaging mentioned.
- Once the barcode is scanned for the appropriate packaging, I weighed the product inside of the packaging and then input it into the computer. This completed the process, and the packing slip and mailing sticker was printed. The packing slip goes inside the packaging and the sticker goes on the outside. (Important! The packing slip and sticker needs to be clear, no smudges, and ALWAYS INCLUDED!)
The software used massively speeds up the packing process as a few scans of barcodes leads to an automated system linking the printer and label printer to simultaneously print the delivery information as well as the packaging slip containing the details of the product. The problem of human error is substantially minimised using this system as it is extremely easy to remember, and the scanning is done automatically. There is no manual process of inputting product numbers where a number could be accidently missed or changed due to human error.
Both our picking and packing processes utilise the marriage between our integrated software and hardware to substantially speed up the tasks which enables us to fulfil hundreds of orders daily. Without a system like this the process would be significantly slower, lowering our competitiveness but also negatively affecting the businesses we are fulfilling. If you are an ecommerce business that has been using drop shipping or doing your own outbound processes, but you are thinking of scaling the business. I highly recommend outsourcing for your ecommerce fulfilment needs. From my time in the warehouse, I can confidently point out some of the positives you would experience from selecting us as your fulfilment warehouse.
Through our integrated software order fulfilment will become much quicker and with the new age of same-day and next-day deliveries it is important for your business to have this option in order for you to stay competitive. With an outsourced fulfilment provider this is achievable, it also lets you focus more on the business without having to worry about dispatching orders, it is all done for you. We have an in-depth knowledge of warehouse management and design which has been learnt from our 18 years in the logistics industry. We have had several years of experience implementing different designs for the warehouse and we have implemented this knowledge into our fulfilment warehouse. Our organised racking and closely located picking station is all designed to create the most efficient picking process, with the best-selling products closest to the picking station to further increase the speed. The use of several trollies located near our packing stations also contributes to our speedy packing. Everything has been designed to create a quick and efficient pick and pack process to get your orders dispatched as fast as possible.
When combining the efficiency of our design as well as our integrated software we have substantially sped up fulfilment. We can also offer, through our connections and partnerships, access to international distribution giving you the option to explore markets you were previously unable to penetrate.
OnLogistics first began its fulfilment operations in 2014. In the month of June 2021, we re-launched our fulfilment operations with a focus on wearable tech, high-end fashion, and many other high value small products. Through our partnerships a fully integrated system has been established enabling the fulfilment of hundreds of orders a day.
To learn more about fulfilment and how we could aid you email email@example.com or view this key feature document here!