4 tips to manage and optimize your order preparations
Changing consumer habits and the rise of omnichannel strategies are pushing materials traders to process orders from multiple sources to different touchpoints. E-commerce, sales at the counter, click and collect, click and drive, delivery to the customer… Guaranteeing quality customer service is becoming a key issue for the merchant in the digital world, who must prepare the right goods, limit omissions, respect deadlines agreed with the customer, etc. Here are some tips for managing and optimizing order preparation with your trading management software.
1. Mastering the entire chain and its challenges💪
First of all, you need to make sure that your Trading ERP of materials allows you to master all the stages of order preparation, with the challenges they can pose. Your objective: to manage the entire chain, with a 360° view of the activity of your depot(s), the operations in progress, the actions of your employees.
Without full visibility of your logistics, you run the risk of a considerable loss of time on order preparation and a potentially damaging lack of performance (product return, damaged packaging, unavailability, error in the prepared order, oversights, etc.) . Controlling your merchandise levels, thanks to your stock management software, is an essential prerequisite.
2. Plan the preparation of orders📆
Planning is undoubtedly the key to optimizing order picking. It is the first step in the process that triggers the rest of the chain until delivery. And in this case, it is standardization that is your ally in addition to your trading management software. The more you standardize load units, packaging and your operations, the more time you save and stay efficient.
Planning the preparation of orders means organizing the actions as much as possible, in order of priority and automatically assigning them to the teams concerned. You must therefore integrate these essential functionalities:
- Management via a dashboard with filters and statistics, which lists all the preparations in progress and to be validated, the assignment of preparations and rounds, the deadlines for each order recorded, etc.
- Assignment to preparers, in order to optimize preparation time by assigning employees and assigning them specific tasks
- The management of priorities, calculated in particular according to the desired date of the provision of the order by the customer
3. Collect the goods: picking📦
Optimizing picking requires above all to organize your warehouse well and store your goods correctly. Thanks to your stock management software, you locate the goods and you control their rotation (ABC classification). So, remember to store the products that sell the most in an accessible way, at arm’s height, and close to the place of packaging; conversely, shelve items with lower demand.
Once your picking routes are defined, it is crucial to give the right information to order pickers and equip them for greater efficiency. A few tips :
- Assign a picker to an order in your dashboard, indicating the order of the product lines to be picked;
- Directly notify your employees of the preparation of an order so as not to waste time, via their portable terminals;
- Invest in “mobile” order picking software: your pickers can directly scan item barcodes during picking to fill the order and update your stock in real time.
4. Manage packaging and shipments🚀
Before dispatch, the order is checked one last time – references and quantities – by the preparer who also manages the packaging. Beyond the choice of packaging, this step is also the time to correct errors according to the entry of the preparation, to print the order form and the shipping/delivery slip for the carriers.
In your materials trading ERP, once the order preparation is completed, it is integrated into a round if it is not withdrawn by the customer himself. We will then be able to indicate the number of packages and pallets, the total weight transported, etc., before validating definitively. Again, your software must allow you to manage your shipping zones, carriers and order priorities to optimize customer delivery times.
👌 Our advice to manage and optimize your order preparations in materials trading:
- Control the entire supply chain by following all the stages of order preparation, thanks to a dashboard updated in real time, linked to your employees and your inventory;
- Invest in management software adapted to your business, which allows you to control your storage specificities and support your employees in their actions (mobility);
- Use features that optimize your order preparations, from planning to picking, from assignment to delivery to the carrier.