Order Fulfillment

Order Fulfillment

Order fulfillment is the process of sourcing and receiving goods, selling them to customers, and processing the sales orders for fulfillment and delivery to customers. The order fulfillment cycle includes several stages, including:

  • Receiving of goods and inventory storage
  • Order validation and inventory allocation
  • Order picking, packing, and shipping
  • Returns processing

The fulfillment process may be managed by a company using its in-house staff and facilities, managed by a third-party logistics firm within its facility, or outsourced to a third-party fulfillment company and its facilities.

Order fulfillment represents one of the costliest aspects of a business operation due to the labor-intensive aspect of warehouse operations. Numerous studies estimate that labor costs account for 50% to 70% of a distribution order fulfillment operation’s operating cost.

Warehouse Automation Technologies for Order Fulfillment

Numerous warehouse software applications and material handling technologies have been developed to replace manual tasks and increase efficiency and order accuracy. These technologies include:

The choice of technologies and systems will depend on the specific needs and requirements of the business, as well as the nature of the goods or products being handled.

Benefits of Automated Order Fulfillment

In a small operation, it may be possible to manually manage the order fulfillment process. However, most companies implement warehouse software and material handling equipment to automate the process for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Eliminate manual tasks
  • Reduce warehouse labor costs
  • Increase profitability
  • Increase visibility throughout order fulfillment
  • Increase order throughput without adding to headcount
  • Increase the accuracy of inventory availability and replenishment
  • Ensure that customer orders are accurate and complete before shipping them
  • Gain the ability to scale up to spikes in order volume
  • Track orders in real-time for customer service

Role of Warehouse Execution Software in Order Fulfillment

End-to-end order fulfillment automation solutions are created by combining the technologies best suited to the business and integrating them to work together in a real-time, seamless environment. The integration of the various software and material handling technologies is typically managed and synchronized by a warehouse execution and control system (WES-WCS).

A WES-WCS software platform bridges the enterprise resource planning (ERP) software and warehouse management system (WMS) software layer gap by optimizing order flow, supervision, and the execution of warehouse automation and material handling technologies.

The WES-WCS is the command center to manage product movement and execute order picking workflow. A WES-WCS system controls AGVs, AMRs, and ASRS tote shuttles in goods-to-person automated storage and picking applications while guiding operators for more efficient pick, pack, and ship work tasks.

WES software manages the latest generation of automated picking and storage systems. It unites these systems with other material handling technologies such as pick-by-voice, pick-to-light, print-and-apply labeling, conveyors, mobile robots, and sorting systems.

The warehouse software manages optimized order fulfillment flow across the operation, uniting processes, people, and material handling technologies into a single solution that provides up-to-the-minute operation performance and order throughput visibility.

System Integration Considerations

With so many technologies available to companies, it can be challenging to determine the optimal warehouse automation solutions for your operations. Work with an independent warehouse systems integrator to review and compare technologies and configure the ideal solution for your company.
Systems integrators vary significantly in expertise and in-house design services, software, and controls capabilities.

The Numina Group is singularly focused on warehouse automation and optimization solutions. We partner with companies to optimize warehouse processes to gain space efficiency and reduce labor costs across picking, packing, and shipping in order fulfillment operations.

Learn More

Getting Started: Warehouse Automation Preparation Checklist
Blog: The Basics of Warehouse Automation
Video Library: Customer Case Studies, Product Demos, Webinars

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