An order fulfilment system plays a crucial role in eCommerce. It does not matter whether a company manages its own fulfilment centres or outsources it to an expert. Every company attending to its own or others’ order fulfilment will have to use a state of the art system. This system is not just some software or the workforce. It is a sum of the technologies in place along with the actual infrastructure, which includes the workforce. The order fulfilment system can literally make or break eCommerce. Hence, it is perhaps the most consequential link in contemporary supply chains.
• The first basic feature of any order fulfilment system is personalisation. It is impossible to work with a system that cannot be tailored. There can be industry standards, best practices and even generic recommendations. There cannot be a fixed system that would work wonders for every type of product or even the exact modus operandi of a particular company. The whole strategy needs to be in the right context and should factor in the strengths and weaknesses of the specific niche.
• An order fulfillment system cannot exist in isolation. It is an integral part of the entire supply chain and more directly associated with warehousing. The system must encapsulate order processing, warehousing, shipping and last mile delivery. The order fulfillment system must also account for customer service. While it does not have to be a specialty integrated into the solution, the system must work with the customer service teams or be accessible so they can communicate with the customers accordingly and prevent misadventures.
• The third basic feature is streamlining of the whole ordering process. Right from the first step of receiving orders after transactions are completed through the navigation of the inventory in the warehouse, necessary packaging for shipment and the eventual delivery, everything should be streamlined and be one seamless process. There cannot be any chinks in the process as that can disrupt the collective supply chain.
• An order fulfillment system must have real time monitoring. There should be systematic reporting. More importantly, the whole process should be absolutely transparent with documentation or updates at every step of the way. Time is of the essence so all processes must move swiftly and should be completed with unfailing accuracy. The system must also be convenient. There should be a cloud based interface, available on the web and on mobile. The system should simplify inventory management and warehousing.