One of the main functions of a UK based distribution and fulfilment company is internet order fulfilment services. At 3PL Fulfilment we developed this as a key competency. With a significant increase in e-commerce every year, on-line order fulfilment is one of the fastest growing sectors in logistics. In the UK alone third-party fulfilment warehouses deliver an estimated 430 million parcels a year with annual growth of 10 to 11 percent. More and more small to medium size companies are using order fulfilment and distribution services as it saves them the time and capital employment of costly warehouse and systems equipment whilst allowing them to rather focus on optimisation of their on-line market places and getting more orders.
One of the challenges faced by companies selling across multiple websites is to manage the inventory across multiple websites. It is therefore important to have competent interfaces allowing for automatic updates on inventory across all sites, the minute a unit is sold on other sites. Managing inventory correctly optimises sales.
Website order fulfilment and distribution is the main service we perform. Our system is fully integrated with all the main e-commerce software systems. Each hour, or however frequently preferred, we collect orders and send tracking and stock levels back to all sites. Each client gets its own sessions in the system, meaning that we could run for example, the Amazon integration for one client every half hour and for another it could be hourly.
An order travels directly into our software from where it immediately becomes part of the dispatched list and is ready for picking. The pick manager will assign the pick to a picker and it will update the picker’s handheld device with the additional pick.
During picking the picker is prompted by the handheld to visit a specific bin. Once the bin is scanned, the picker is prompted to scan the product. Having scanned the correct product, it is then placed in a scanned tote bin. By this time the tote bin is linked to the order and the whole lot then becomes inseparable. The tote bins all come back to the dispatch area where the Pack Scan takes place. During Pack Scan the tote bin is scanned and the screen displays the list of products which should be in the tote bin (all the products for that specific order). One by one these are then scanned to ensure correct product and quantity. Passing this double check, the system then allows for the operator to choose a parcel size and to confirm the courier after which the documents and courier labels print out. The order is then boxed and labelled for dispatch. Although each parcel has a system calculated weight recorded on the pick slip, we double check this by physically weighing each parcel and recording that reading on our pick slip which is filed in case there’s a dispute re a customer claiming being short supplied.
We are proud of this comprehensive process as it not only ensures the correct product in the correct quantity but it also ensures full traceability and weight and dimensions tracking.