Online retailers

How to use Data to Increase Order Fulfilment Efficiency

By Luke Owens
Share
How To Use Data Banner

Consumers and ecommerce business owners have increasing demands of accurate, efficient and timely delivery of the items they purchase or sell online. Whether you’re an online retailer or a fulfilment house, your order fulfilment processes need to be as efficient as possible, to meet expectations.

 

Mintsoft Product Manager, Luke Owens advises that one of the ways to succeed in meeting these expectations is to use analytical data to streamline and optimise business operations. Depending on the data your business tracks, you can use analytics to provide insight on a range of business areas such as stock or staff levels, pricing and even market positioning.

 

The following 3 simple steps can get you started on the path to optimal order fulfilment efficiency.

 

Step 1: Locate your business performance data

 

Most software has a reporting system built in that allows you to extract key data about your operations. Often these can be complex and the right data can be hard to locate, or put into tangible reports. 

 

Taking some time to explore your reporting system and the reports you can generate is the first step. It could result in you identifying that you need additional software to be able to assemble all of your data into legible metrics and insights that matter to you and your business goals.

 

Some example reports that could be required to review current business performance include: 

  • Order Despatch Times
  • Order Processing Volumes
  • Picking Efficiency
  • 3PL Accounting
  • Stock Holding

 

Step 2: Use existing data to assess current business position and set your goals

 

Now your data reports are ready, it’s time to use them with a view of understanding your current position. 

 

It can help to identify a north star metric for your business. A north star metric is a key data point you can measure to show your progression. For example, for order fulfilment efficiency, this is often the number of orders despatched on time and in full.

 

With your north star established you can start to look at different areas of your existing data in more detail, considering what you are trying to affect. You may, for instance, want to maintain the number of orders you can fulfil but decrease the cost per order to your business. 

 

The key point to make is that with a north star metric mindset, you can measure the impact of any changes you make against a single data point. 

 

For example, if your north star is to maintain order numbers and decrease cost, your data metrics and reports may show different factors affecting your cost per order such as:

  • Number of staff on shift against volume of orders dispatched
  • Average pick rate of different teams; or, 
  • Courier costs from different providers over time.

 

By observing trends in the data, you can start to make informed decisions about your operations and set targets for improvement. For example, you may notice that you need more staff on a Monday to cover orders placed over the weekend but can save money midweek as you are over staffing. Additionally, by looking at your historic data, you can even begin to forecast your staff levels based on expected order volumes.

 

Looking ahead, you may set a target of an average cost per order and ensure your staffing numbers per day are correct to save money. 

 

Step 3: Measure and adapt to the new data

 

You can continue to use your data analytics to stay informed about how your implemented changes are affecting your business operations and overall efficiency. For example, using you Picking Efficiency report and Order Expectancy levels data, you will have determined your optimal staffing levels. By measuring your fulfilment performance against this data, you can analyse your cost per order for a certain timescale and make further changes, if necessary.

 

It’s important to schedule the time to review your business performance against your north star metric on a regular basis so you can remain agile and make further adjustments if you’re not hitting your targets as expected. Continual monitoring will ensure optimal efficiency.

 

Data Analytics Checklist

 

This is the tip of the iceberg and the use of analytics data can help you monitor, optimise, and ultimately grow your business.

 

The important steps to remember are: 

  1. Create data reports or dashboards that are useful
  2. Identify a fixed reference point (your north star metric), find an area for improvement and the variable elements for this area
  3. Monitor your progress and make further changes if required

 

With Reporting and Analytics included with Mintsoft via the Access Workspace platform there’s never been a better time to start letting data better inform your decisions.

 

The Analytics feature can help bring multiple data sources together, including data from other software, to create useful reports and customisable dashboards to easily view your business performance and efficiency levels in one place.

 

Ready to utilise data for order fulfilment efficiency?

 

Book a demo with one of our experts to see how Mintsoft could help you get a better view of your current business productivity and order fulfilment efficiency.

 

If you’re looking to learn more about how you can increase order fulfilment efficiency, read our detailed guides on order management systems and warehouse management systems.

Share