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The recent oil spill disaster in the Gulf Coast has started a new round of the “blame game.” Whenever something goes wrong, fingers are pointed in all directions as a way of deflecting guilt. This is especially true with something as devastating as that huge oil spill.
On an infinitely smaller scale, fulfillment centers can sometimes get caught up in their own blame game when a customer doesn’t get what they ordered. If could be the fault of the delivery agent if they lost the package somewhere along the line in transit.
Or it could be the fault of the actual processing center if they conveyed the wrong information down to the fulfillment operation who in turn would have given the wrong information for the pick and pack phase. All of this adds up to the wrong shipment going out. The bottom line is that the customer didn’t get what they ordered. There are only two solutions in that scenario: resend them what they ordered and fix the problem.
Part of an effective warehouse management system is an ongoing series of quality control inspections. These should occur at every step of the pick and pack process to insure that the operation is happening at peak efficiency at all times. Any fulfillment center should be proud of their quality control efforts and be willing to share those reports with a prospective customer.
One key aspect of a fulfillment center’s quality control is the management of inventory. Obviously the first issue raised will be whether or not the facility can physically accommodate a client’s inventory. Additionally, there should be resources to handle any potential expansion of that inventory. Remember, Amazon started out just selling books and now they are selling practically everything. Clearly this meant a major expansion in their fulfillment centers.
As inventory is depleted, it will fall to the inventory management system to be able to provide orders for restocking in a timely manner. This requires good communication between the fulfillment center and the companies they are doing business with. Setting parameters for reordering when inventory numbers drop should automatically trigger reorders. But this information has to be conveyed from the pick and pack floor up to the management levels. That can only be accomplished with a comprehensive inventory program incorporating mobile scanners and a practically warehouse management software programs.
Stocking the shelves with inventory is one aspect but in order to stay competitive, a company that is offering pick and pack services needs to be flexible. This might mean make accommodations with regard to shipping procedures such as overnight priority versus standard 3 day shipping. Being able to offer a wide range of shipping fulfillment greatly increases the possibility of a company adding to their customer base.
With an ongoing and professional quality control system in place a fulfillment center can up hold the promise of customer satisfaction. Just as a company needs to stand behind their individual products, a fulfillment centers needs to stand behind the proficiency of the pick and pack supply chain.