5 Best Tech Tools to Improve eCommerce Fulfillment
Successful eCommerce businesses have a whole host of tasks they have to manage effectively, and eCommerce fulfillment tasks play a key role in that success.
Issues with order management, shipping, picking and packing, order processing and other tasks can pile up. When this happens, it creates a bottleneck and overwhelming a business quite easily. Fortunately, there are several areas where technology can further support eCommerce buisnesses. From TMS platforms such as RedwoodConnect 2.0 to content management systems, eCommerce businesses are only as good as the technology that powers them.
Below are 5 types of tech platforms and tools that all eCommerce businesses need to implement in order to achieve success and improve their fulfillment process…
OMS (Order Management Systems)
An eCommerce business spends the vast majority of its time fulfilling orders. By digitizing this process, however, they can save time and increase productivity. Having a centralized system to process sales and orders efficiently makes a massive difference, as well.
A quality OMS manages all of the following:
- Holds inventory data and communicate and update quantities available after orders are completed
- Downloads order data from whatever variety of sales channels are used (marketplaces, eCommerce platforms, etc.)
- Manages the process of fulfilling orders by providing warehouse staff with orders that need to be shipped
- Generates shipping related documentation, such as invoices or packing slips, shipping labels and the like.
In some cases, an OMS may integrate with a separate warehouse management system that handles the actual generation of order lists and other order-related documentation. However, either way, a good OMS should come with most of the features that your business needs with little need to integrate with other systems to accomplish it. There are OMS systems that even include additional features for drop shipping, purchasing, accounting, and more. These can be a healthy investment- but the value is in the efficiency and productivity boosts.
Shipping tools are another key component in eCommerce.
While OMS systems and shipping solutions may have some overlapping features, shipping tools are best described as solutions that have more specific benefits. Shipping tools are typically closely integrated with multiple shipping carriers, are able to shop and compare rates between shipping services, and can print bulk shipping labels quickly and accurately.
Many eCommerce businesses use a shipping tool in conjunction with an OMS to fill gaps in their primary system or add on shipping capability with non-compliant carriers.
Automation is a rapidly expanding aspect of many industries, and in the world of fulfillment, new solutions are constantly being put to the test. These include solutions like pick and pass robots, voice picking systems, and pick to light.
Warehouse facilities, distribution centers, and third-party logistics companies are constantly adding new automation technologies to their arsenals. A large majority of these are aimed at increasing accuracy and productivity in order fulfillment. With automation, you get lower labor costs and decreased touch/handling, as well.
Tracking and Performance Measurement Solutions
Whether utilizing an order management system, warehouse management system, or third party logistics company in conjunction with either, order fulfillment needs to have technology that tracks items and orders as they move through the system. It’s also of great importance to have tech solutions that monitor and measure performance to catch any issues with bottlenecking, lost shipments, slowdowns, etc.
There are a variety of options in this area, including systems that offer real-time data and work in conjunction with the barcode scanners product handlers use when picking the product- or shipment tracking solutions via post. Data can be obtained a variety of ways- and having a system that provides this feedback is vital.
Third-Party Logistics (3PL) as a Suite of Tech Tools
One of the easiest ways to gain access to all of the previously mentioned eCommerce tech tools is to engage a third-party logistics company such as Redwood Logistics to manage fulfillment.
3PLs that specialize in eCommerce fulfillment typically have access to the latest management systems, WMS platforms and shipping solutions to create a completely streamlined fulfillment experience.
As a fulfillment partner, 3PLs invest in software solutions that allow them to take on the burden of what is typically the most vital and yet time-consuming part of eCommerce. Leveraging the power of these platforms allows companies to focus their attention on growing their business in other ways.
Taking advantage of technology rather than attempting to manually manage the burden of fulfillment is key to success. As the industry continues to grow, so too will the various support systems available to utilize.
Staying knowledgeable, or working with a specialist who is focused on fulfillment solutions can almost guarantee success. To learn how a 3PL can significantly improve your eCommerce fulfillment process, schedule your free consultation with our team of professionals today.