My girlfriend runs a small/medium ecommerce store based on Woocommerce. They have large problems with fulfillment. On a good day when 2 people work for 10 hours (intensely) they pack around 50-60 packages. Usually though it's 1 person. Locating products in the warehouse is not problematic (it's just one large room). They also make few mistakes.
They get around 1000 orders a month (around 3000 individual items). There are ~400 SKUs in the store, mostly small products (cosmetics, accessories, some clothes). They are running in-house fulfillment and 3PL is not an option. We are based in Poland so many of the platforms like ShipStation don't make too much sense (they don't provide integration with Polish couriers, accounting is different). Practically the store is ran from within Woocommerce. They don't keep a good track of inventory (managed kind of ad-hoc from within Woocommerce).
Given the current scale and team (family business) I suspect that batch picking can give them a huge productivity boost.
Right now all orders are picked to order. The process is;
- Pick a random order from Woocommerce
- Find the needed items
- Pack them in the box and/or leave the box open if some stuff is missing. Add a note on it what's missing.
After a few orders they'd print labels and put them on the box. I'd like to learn how to optimize this process and whether there's some software that could help. It'd be great if the packing person could have some app/website open on the phone which would guide them through the packing process so that it's streamlined. I thought about a process like this:
- Person opens an app/webiste and clicks "start packing"
- It picks 5 orders or so and shows the person items to batch pick one by one
- The person goes with all picked items to the packing table and starts the packing process, the app shows them orders to fulfill one by one. If there are some items missing for that order snooze the order until some time and put items back.
I think (tens/hundreds) of thousands small businesses struggle with this and I'm surprised I couldn't find any software/guidance besides Picqer which is too expensive.
: Proper inventory management would definitely help too but maybe I'll leave it for another post. It's a bit problematic because they have manufacturing in house so the inventory management process could get too heavy.