Every Friday, we answer a common question about fulfillment, shipping, or business. This week’s question comes from one of the fans who entered our giveaway contest for a copy of the board game Gloomhaven. Today we will answer the following question: “what are some of the biggest challenges in the fulfillment industry?”
This is an exceptionally thoughtful question and we want to give a similarly thoughtful response. We will tell you the two biggest challenges in the fulfillment industry as we see them. We’re not pulling challenge ideas from other sites, but are instead speaking from the heart on this post. Our opinion is based on both firsthand experience and by the opinions of our peers, with whom we communicate extensively.
Challenge #1: The Incredible Shrinking Delivery Window
If you’ve read more than three or four posts on this blog, you know that in 2017, 63% of online shoppers expected three-day delivery as a standard. You also likely know from having visited the post office that priority shipping usually takes about two days. To meet the expected three-day delivery time, we have to fulfill most orders shortly after we receive them. This is something we are very proactive about and it makes our clients and their customers very happy.
Now you also likely know that Amazon has recently rolled out next-day shipping. It’s not just Amazon either. Walmart is also offering next-day shipping, but without a membership fee. Customers haven’t quite come to expect this level of service from small businesses, but it’s a matter of time.
Our challenge is to keep finding faster ways to ship, and it’s a challenge we obsessively work on. Our close relationships with postal carriers make this a lot easier.
Challenge #2: The Push for Productivity
The world of fulfillment is a world driven by speed and accuracy. As you can imagine, fulfilling orders correctly, on-time, every time isn’t easy. We’ve had to work very hard to establish efficient processes and maintain high productivity. You can’t forget about the human element either – warehouse work can be tough, and you have to make sure your workers are happy!
Everything from software to warehouse layout to the location of supplies has to be fine-tuned to make work as easy as possible. This is why some exceptionally large warehouses are starting to use robots to move inventory long distances that would otherwise have to be walked.
As for us, our philosophy toward addressing this is a simple one. Everybody has a chance to make work a little easier. It doesn’t matter if you work in the warehouse, if you’re an executive, a programmer, or a marketer. If you work at Fulfillrite and you find a subtle tweak that can make life easier, we implement it. Same goes for customer advice.
Speed and productivity are paramount in the fulfillment industry. The pace can be challenging to keep up with. Ultimately, though, we find the challenge enjoyable and we take sincere joy in helping our customers succeed 🙂