When working in a fulfillment and shipping center, efficiency and organization are critical to the business’s success. Coordinating the fulfillment of orders and the logistics of ensuring everything is delivered to the correct location safely, and on time, is a tremendous job that requires the proper equipment, supplies, and software. However, when you have what you need to do the job and people trained to know what they need to do, you can effectively process countless items through your facility.
When you’re operating a large fulfillment center, you can’t be hung on doing everything by hand. Investing in the equipment that will allow you to automate much of the work and make large jobs quick and easy will allow you to keep up with the growing demand. For example, a pallet wraping machine will allow you to wrap pallets of merchandise effortlessly so that they can be shipped safely. Wrapping the pallets will ensure the products aren’t thrown around or jostled during transport, causing damage to the product or packaging. Wrapping will also ensure that the products stay organized the way they need to get to the correct location on time.
When determining what equipment you’ll need, you can network with other business owners to see what they recommend. If allowed, you can see how their fulfillment centers operate, so you can determine how to utilize what you’ve learned for your operation. Depending on the size differences, you may decide you need more or less than what you’ve seen others utilize. It will also be critical to make sure your staff knows how to work the equipment properly for the highest efficiency.
Similar to the equipment, having the needed supplies on hand at all times will allow your business to run smoothly and efficiently, maximizing profits and decreasing waste. Custom folders, postage stickers, bubble wrap, tape, printing ink, and labels are all critical supplies. Allowing the business to run out of needed supplies will cause delays in the entire process, resulting in unsatisfied customers and refunds for not delivering when promised.
You can set up business accounts with supply companies like Mines Press to make reordering quick and easy. This will streamline your operations while also ensuring you have everything you need. Too often, it’s easy not to notice how low you are on needed supplies until it’s too late. Setting up automatic reorders or automating your inventory tracking will correct that problem. It’s also important to get new price estimates annually to ensure you are getting the best price on your supplies.
Fulfillment and tracking software is a must-have for this type of business. Unless you’re running a minimal operation out of your home, you won’t be able to track your business in real-time without the needed software. Since there are so many software options, it will be best to see what others are using and how they feel. Don’t be afraid to ask other managers what the advantages and disadvantages are of the software they are utilizing. When choosing a software program, it’s important to make sure the software has the capacity to grow with your business, so you aren’t forced to change programs during a period of tremendous growth.
In addition to fulfillment and logistics software, you’ll need business software like Quickbooks to ensure all your financials are being recorded in real-time and tracked for accounting. This will streamline the process when tax time comes and will make it easier for you to seek out additional business funding if needed. You can hire someone trained in Quickbooks to handle the day-to-day and then only pay an accountant for the big stuff.
This just covers the basics. As you get used to your equipment and software, you’ll likely find more ways to streamline your processes.