Packaging fulfillment is a team effort that often stretches across multiple companies. In order to be productive, some sort of consistency needs to be established.
The first step in this process is to set goals and communicate them so that your whole team is working toward the same result. When processes work, everyone benefits. Fulfillment costs less money, customers are happier, and thanks to the increased efficiency, companies find additional time on their hands to develop new strategies to grow their business.
But for this to happen, you need to choose your goals wisely. Here are a few things to consider when setting goals.
What Are Your Current Needs?
Every company has some form of package fulfillment services—whether you’re shipping your goods (to a store or a customer) or providing advertising materials to a vendor— but your set-up will be unique. You need to be sure that your fulfillment team is well-equipped to handle the volume you require. Historical numbers and other stored sales and shipping data can be a good way to set general expectations, but it is vital that your team is plugged in to your IT so that they can get up-to-the-minute counting and projections.
How Can You Best Utilize Accessible Tracking?
Successful packaging fulfillment relies on the concept of "the left hand knowing what the right hand is doing." Utilizing a tracking system that can be seen by everyone involved is an important part of this process.
The manufacturer, the warehouse, the distribution center, the retailer, and even the customer all look at tracking information with a different perspective. The physical location of a package at any given time is important to know, but so are other metrics such as daily workload, customer feedback, and overall performance efficiency. There will always be good days, bad days, and days in between.
Effective tracking makes it possible to identify which conditions promote the most success.
Can Your Team Partner with Technology?
Although technology plays a large role in packaging fulfillment, the backbone of packaging fulfillment is the people involved.
It is human beings who develop strategies, write programs, and monitor them to see that they are working as intended. When things don't work, it is also people who figure out how to fix them. There are also times when computers fail completely, and it is up to the fulfillment team to have a "plan B" in place so that the process can continue even during difficult situations.
Do You Have the Strong Leadership in Place?
There is a difference between a leader and a boss.
A boss dictates necessary tasks, but a leader helps a team understanding how tasks are integral and is a motivator toward overall success. Leaders need to make each person aware of the importance of their role within the packaging fulfillment process and have a system in place to share both positive and negative feedback.
When changes occur, whether they are temporary due to a glitch or a permanent change, or new team members are brought on, you need the people and processes in place that can assure that the proper adjustments are made and integration is achieved with little fuss.
Is Your Team Flexible?
There's a popular philosophy that states "the change is the only constant." While this is true in just about any area of business, as well as life, it’s particularly relevant when it comes to packaging fulfillment where volume changes daily or even hourly. Different factors can come into play at any time that can make old expectations obsolete. It could be obstacles, like a storm that slows delivery, or something more positive such as a sudden increase in demand for a product or the discovery of a more efficient manufacturing process. This is why evaluation is not done only initially, but on an ongoing basis.
You need a team with the ability to adapt, no matter what the situation may be.