Fulfilment versus E-fulfilment
Fulfilment is the logistic part of the order process. The storage, handling and shipping is hereby outsourced to an external party. Historically particularly large business customers would benefit from fulfilment: it was quite difficult to stack large orders on pallets and deliver big packages yourself if you don’t have the proper equipment. However, the last few years there have been some big changes in the sector logistics. Particularly through the emergence of webshops, the demand for fulfilment was not only extreamly increased, the demands also changed: only storage, handling and shipping of the goods was no longer enough. The need developed to outsource a larger part of the entire process from order to door and not only for the big boys but also for smaller webshops: e-fulfilment was born.
The e-fulfilment process at HST Groep
The e-fulfilment process begins before even one order has been placed on the webshop:
Step 1: Receivement
After the goods are received from a webshop by the party that takes responsibility for the e-fulfilment. These goods are carefully checked for any irregularities and possible damage.
Step 2: Storage
After the goods are checked, they are stored in the warehouse. Not all products can be stored the same way, so it is important that the different properties of the various products are taken into account, so the storage is always optimal for every type of product.
Step 3: Inventory
Since a large part of the process is outsourced, it is important that there is a good inventory management system: after all, you can’t just walk to the warehouse to check your stock anymore.
Step 4: Advanced and transparent IT system
The inventory management system is linked to an IT system. By linking the ordering system of your website to the automation system of HST’s warehouse, the changes in stock are already processed in the system, so any changes in stock levels are readily known and can be anticipated on. When a product reaches the “minimum stock”-level, you receive a heads up, so it can be prevented that a product is (unexpectedly) sold out. If a product is accidentally / unexpectedly sold out, the IT system can indicate this on the website, so customers’ disappointments can be prevented.
Step 5: Order processing
When an order is placed in the system, the warehouse staff receives a signal that they have to pick the order and check it, before it gets packed.
Step 6: Packaging
The article has been checked and needs to be packed. This can be in a standard box, but sometimes the article needs to be packed in a different way and needs to be sealed, assembled or labeled. These different ways of packing an order are also known as VAL-activities.
Step 7: Shipping
The order is being transmitted to the carrier. One of the benefits of HST Groep for clients is that both warehousing and transport are in-house services and there is no need for an external carrier. Because both services are within the same company, the warehousing and transport are well connected to each other.
Step 8: Reporting and Track & Trace
Communication to and with the client is essential. We understand that you and your customers value it highly to stay informed about the status of the order, wherever the order is. You can view your inventory real-time and using our track and trace system, your customer knows exactly when he will receive his order for both national and international shipments. You as our client, can follow the entire order process, from the moment a product has been picked off the shelf until the very moment the order is handed to your customer.
Step 9: Returns
Sometimes, products do not meet the expectations and a customer sends them back. The speed and quality in which a return is handled, determines customer satisfaction. Return logistics is a complex process and especially when the entire (logistical) process has been outsourced, it is a burden if you have to deal with returns yourself. This is something we can also do for you.
Step 10: HST unburdens!
If you enjoy being an entrepreneur and selling products, but experience difficulties in sending out orders and everything that is related to this, you can outsource this process to HST Groep. We unburden you completely in logistics, so you can fully concentrate on your core businesses.