Warehousing & Fulfillment

Pick and Pack Fulfillment: FAQ (And Answers) About eCommerce Fulfillment

Warehousing & Fulfillment
August 31, 2023
10 min read

Pick pack and ship services are an essential part of the ecommerce supply chain. Learn the hallmarks of efficient ecommerce pick and pack fulfillment and how to find the right partner.

Understand the basics of pick and pack fulfillment or jump straight to getting your questions answered:

Pick and Pack Fulfillment: Understanding the Basics of Picking, Packing & Shipping

Whether a brand is D2C, B2C, or B2B, as a business scales, finding warehouse space becomes essential. Pick pack and ship fulfillment is the step-by-step order fulfillment process that gets product off warehouse shelves and into customers’ hands. Fast-growing brands often choose to outsource pick pack and ship fulfillment.

  • Picking is the process of pulling the appropriate products in the appropriate quantities. There are several different inventory picking strategies- which may depend on factors including: inventory category, size of the warehouse, and warehouse labor capacity. . 
  • Packing is the process of putting  products- or bundling multiple products in the same shipment- into an appropriately-sized box The packing process also includes addingany protective packaging (otherwise known as dunnage), such as packing peanuts, sealed air, or corrugated paper. 
  • Shipping is the process of delivering a packaged product to a customer within the promised timeframe. Most ecommerce customers expect 1- to 2-day shipping.

Picking ensures order accuracy, while proper packing ensures that the product is not damaged in transit. Together, they provide the best unboxing experience possible for the end customer. When it comes to shipping, emerging brands have options, and many are turning to distributed warehousing to ensure they can stay competitive with 2-day shipping.

FAQs About Pick & Pack Fulfillment

Get answers to frequently asked questions about pick pack and ship fulfillment below, or contact a Ware2Go expert.

How should warehouse inventory be organized for eCommerce fulfillment?

An important component of efficient and accurate pick pack and ship fulfillment is warehouse slotting.  Warehouse slotting is the process of finding the best location within a warehouse to store inventory. 

The best way to make warehouse slotting decisions is to use data. This should include a product’s size, weight, and storage requirements, and also consider SKU velocity compared to other warehoused products. When leveraged, inventory data allows pickers to take the most efficient path to get to the item.

Picking and packing is more efficient when warehouses are well-slotted: decreasing errors and reducing the likelihood of inventory shrinkage.

What are the different warehouse picking strategies?

There are four standard methods of picking orders in a warehouse. Consider the size of the warehouse and the volume of orders being picked to find the right pick and pack method:

  • Piece picking is the simplest method. This process involves taking a single order at a time, picking all of the products for the single order before packing and shipping. This may be the method that smaller merchants use when they only fulfill a few orders a day.
  • Batch picking entails picking multiple orders at one time and is a great option for high-volume orders. Picking the same product for for multiple orders creates an economy of motion. With this process, the picker goes to a warehouse location once and picks for all of the orders rather than returning to the same location multiple times.
  • Zone picking is best for large warehouses. By assigning pickers to a certain zone, all items can be picked for orders being being passed off to the next zone.
  • Wave picking is the most advanced and works best for large volumes of orders being picked from large warehouses. The wave method combines the batch and zone methods. Pickers are assigned a warehouse zone and pick multiple orders at once before passing them off to the next zone.

How does pick and pack fulfillment work in omnichannel selling?

To maximize opportunity, merchants often sell in multiple online marketplaces and utilize several different sales channels. So, how can a warehouse handle orders from multiple inbound sources while staying organized and focused?

A Warehouse Management System (WMS) is crucial to ensuring order accuracy and efficiency.

Therefore, the right WMS should simplify and optimize ecommerce pick and pack by providing:

  • Real-time inventory visibility
  • Inventory re-allocation between warehouses and sales channels
  • Delivery insights into the order fulfillment status
  • Predictive analytics to assist with forecasting and procurement
  • Insights on customers’ locations and buying behaviors

Should I be concerned about warehouse labor management?

The warehouse labor market is changing. According to SMB decision makers, 36% report that labor management has become more time-consuming over the past 1-2 years. At the same time, warehouse laborers are unionizing and enforcing all-out work stoppages. 

To ensure amiable working conditions and optimize for pick and pack, warehouses do not want to over- or under-schedule for order volume. It’s important to find a balance between having enough labor for on-time fulfillment Service Level Agreements (SLAs) while keeping labor costs down.

By partnering with an on-demand warehousing partner, fast-growing brands with highly seasonal demand can optimize labor scheduling. With on-demand warehousing, merchants pay only for the warehouse space and labor they need, rather than agreeing to an upfront average daily volume (ADV).

To create a successful warehousing partnership, it’s important to always communicate potential changes in labor needs. For example, a large promotion coming up, or a feature on Deals and Steals. The more advance notice the warehouse has of a potential influx in order volume, the better they can prepare.

Efficient picking procedures ensure order accuracy and on-time fulfillment, while proper packout procedures ensure the safety of the product in transit. Both are highly important for an excellent customer experience.

Success Stories: How Thoughtful Pick & Pack Choices Create Better Business Outcomes

Efficient picking procedures ensure order accuracy and on-time fulfillment, while proper packout procedures ensure the safety of the product in transit. Hence, both are highly important for an excellent customer experience.

HyVIDA Eliminates Damage in Transit by Shifting Pick and Pack Warehouse Services

HyVIDA, a hydrogenated water brand, found that their customers loved their product, giving them a reorder rate twice the industry average. However, their 3PL partner did not have packout procedures in place to protect their products in transit. Their customers complained that on average, at least one can per shipment arrived dented, which eventually resulted in negative customer reviews.

They switched to a pick and pack warehouse service provider that took full responsibility for packout procedures, finding the right size boxes and perfect dunnage materials to eliminate the damages in transit. Thereafter, their loyal customers noticed the difference and even left positive reviews about the new packout procedures.

YBell Fitness Finds a Big and Bulky Provider

YBell Fitness had very different pick pack and ship needs. Their versatile free weights can be used as dumbbells, kettlebells, push up stands, and more. As gyms shut down in 2020, YBell found a route to explosive growth. How? By pivoting to a D2C ecommerce, YBell could now sell equipment to homebound individuals, rather than gyms. With heavier products, YBell needed an ecommerce pick and pack provider that was specifically equipped to handle their inventory.

Often, ecommerce fulfillment centers are optimized for small products like electronics and beauty. Big and bulky products have specific needs for picking and packing like forklifts, conveyor belts, safety equipment, and trained laborers.

Ultimately, they chose to partner with an on-demand pick and pack warehouse service that had a wide variety of capabilities within their warehouse network. This enabled them to grow their D2C sales channels at their pace without having to invest in equipment and resources needed to manage their own pick and pack fulfillment.

Outsourced Pick Pack and Ship Fulfillment

Pick pack and ship fulfillment is complicated to manage at scale- but doesn’t have to be. Similar to a need for optimizing technology, nearly 1 in 3 merchants cite the ability to scale and automate as one of their top warehousing concerns. That’s why many merchants choose to outsource order fulfillment to a dedicated fulfillment partner. According to a recent survey on competitive shipping, merchants who chose to outsource their fulfillment saw:

  • Simplified day-to-day operations
  • Reduced warehousing and fulfillment costs
  • Faster shipping guarantees that drove higher revenue.

Ware2Go is a UPS-owned warehousing and fulfillment provider that simplifies pick pack and ship for merchants of all sizes with a nationwide network of warehouses and a state of the art warehouse management system. To learn more about Ware2Go’s outsourced pick and pack warehouse services, reach out to one of our in-house experts.

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