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Peoplevox Product News

How E-commerce Order Fulfilment Works

Louisa Hopper
  • 17 July 2017
  • 3 min read

Have you ever had that sinking feeling when you realised at the last minute that a friend or relative’s birthday is coming up and you don’t have a gift for them? And, even worse, they live a distance away and you won’t get to see them before their big day?
There used to be a time when all gifts had to be painstakingly tracked down on the high street then carefully packaged up and taken to the post office for posting, all during shop opening hours. Not easy if you work full-time and you remembered the birthday at midnight. 

But now, thankfully, in this age of 24-hour online shopping and expedited delivery services, you can source the perfect gift at a time to suit you, choose a gift wrapping service with personalised message and have it delivered in time without your friend or relative ever knowing that you almost forgot!

Good, yes? But have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes to make this happen?

Check out our infographic to find out how this works for an online shop that manages its warehouse using a Warehouse Management System (WMS).
The activity shown by this infographic is explained in more detail below.

The first thing that you do is go online and see what potential gifts are available.

So how does the online shop know what products are available?
The online shop knows what products it has in stock and how many are available because the systems that support the shop’s website – typically Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) such as NetSuite or e-commerce systems such as Shopify – talk to the WMS in the warehouse where the products are stored. When products are received in the warehouse and when they are picked to fulfil customer orders, the WMS tells these supporting systems which products have arrived / left and in what quantities. This real-time inventory notification allows the online shop to accurately display the products it has available, meaning that if you see the perfect gift and the online shop says that it is available to buy now, it really is available!

The second thing you do is choose and order the gift, and then make your postage and packaging selection.

Do you want it gift wrapped? Delivered next day? Did you push the boat out and choose something expensive that you’d like the recipient to sign for it? Once you’ve made your choices this information is sent to the WMS via the supporting systems.
In the warehouse, the WMS reserves your gift item and allocates it to your order. The item is then added to a pick list and the warehouse operator is instructed where to find it in the warehouse. The WMS knows where the item is located in the warehouse because, following receive, the item was put away from the goods in area to a specific location.
Once picked, your gift item is taken to the pack bench where it is packaged up according to your instructions. The WMS talks to the carrier who will ultimately deliver your gift using the service you selected, and the appropriate shipping documents and labels are printed.

The third and final thing you are aware of is when your friend / relative thanks you for your thoughtful gift!

All that is left for the warehouse personnel to do is hand the packaged gift to the carrier who then delivers it. And that’s it.

You can learn more about the systems that the Peoplevox WMS can talk to here
Or, if you’d prefer to speak to someone about how Peoplevox WMS can help you, please get in touch and one of our fulfilment specialists will be able to answer your questions.

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