For an e-commerce business to be successful, building and maintaining a reliable and flexible supply chain should be one of the top priorities. Without a well-planned supply chain and logistics management, your business runs the risk of encountering problems that could be both costly and time-consuming. Still, supply chains are tricky and require a fair bit of trial and error to get right. We know this, and would therefore like to share our experiences – good and bad – so that navigating the jungle of supply chain administration becomes a bit more manageable.
In this post, we have listed 3 common mistakes that e-commerce businesses make when building their supply chains and what can be done to avoid them in the future.
1. Only Operating One Fulfillment Center
A common misconception in the world of supply chain management reads that operating more than one fulfillment center is unnecessarily complex and lacks any real benefits. While this may be true for smaller e-shops that are just starting out, the same thing cannot be said for growing e-shops that operate on an international level. Here, a multi-warehouse strategy becomes key to keeping your supply chain up-to-date and ready for further expansion.
With a multi-warehouse strategy in place, you will have much more flexibility compared to keeping your logistics flowing through one fulfillment center only. In addition, you will be able to expand your customer reach geographically and reduce your total shipping costs. The ability to fulfill orders from multiple distribution centers can prevent unnecessary fulfillment delays. In addition to this, you will be able to expand your customer reach geographically while substantially reducing your total shipping costs. Keeping several fulfillment centers strategically positioned to be as near your customers as possible is a great way to keep your supply chain agile while maintaining speed, reducing hefty custom costs, and staying sustainable with short delivery distances.
By far, the easiest way to set up multiple fulfillment centers is through a 3PL provider like Prime Penguin. With our expert support, you’ll be able to optimize your supply chain to save time and money. Adding a digital interface like the Prime Penguin Platform to the mix will make it possible for you to fully automate your entire fulfillment process. We are using algorithms that route each order to the fulfillment center best suited (and situated) to handle them effectively.
2. Overlooking Environmental Concerns
It’s no secret that e-commerce fulfillment can harm the environment. Yet online shopping keeps on growing, slowly fazing out traditional commerce and putting severe pressure on the prevalence of shipping, manufacture, and packaging. For this reason, any modern supply chain that is expected to meet the ever-growing demands of the e-commerce industry needs to take into consideration the material waste and pollution that comes along with it. While eliminating carbon emissions entirely is nearly impossible when it comes to logistics, luckily, there are preventative actions to be taken that help brands make smarter, more sustainable choices regarding their fulfillment process.
Giving your customers the option of eco-friendly packaging made from biodegradable materials is a great way to minimize your ecological footprint in a material sense. Besides reducing your business’s carbon footprint, you will build a brand that pays a real contribution to a sustainable future. This will help you build trust among your customers. Studies recently published in Forbes magazine showed that 92% of e-consumers will be more likely to trust a company that supports environmental issues. 73% of consumers would change consumption habits if it meant reducing their impact on the environment. Additionally, over two-thirds will pay an added 35% or more for sustainable purchases and/or shipping alternatives. With these numbers (and the state of the Earth) in mind, putting some real effort into providing your customers with sustainable options should be one of your top priorities when building your supply chain.
It isn’t only your customers who should be able to make sustainable choices during the fulfillment process. Beyond eco-friendly materials and maintaining a low dim weight for your freight, outsourcing your logistics through a cloud-based platform (such as the Prime Penguin Platform) enables e-shops to locate and procure multiple ‘satellite’ warehouses worldwide. By doing so, you are able to reduce your products’ shipping distances with the help of digital product mapping and order routing. In other words, such a digital interface gives e-commerce businesses a sense of autonomy through the ability to make conscious decisions regarding the environmental impact of their supply chain. With the support of WMS-generated data made available in the same interface, optimization and customization of your supply chain in regards to environmental impact are limitless.
3. Not Taking Customer Satisfaction Into Consideration
From the e-commerce platform you choose to the final order delivery at your customer’s doorstep, every stage of the supply chain must meet increasingly high customer expectations. At the very least, always make sure that your inventory and order data is synced across all platforms in real-time to prevent delays and confusion on the one hand, and streamline the overall fulfillment process on the other. If you sell across several sales platforms, and perhaps even through different vendors, a great way to manage your orders is through a so-called omnichannel. With omnichannel order management in place, your inventory, orders, returns, and data history across all sales channels (including physical locations, your website, and online marketplaces) will be gathered and presented in a single platform. Implementing such a seamless workflow greatly improves not only your overall customer satisfaction but your internal logistics operations as well. It’s easy enough to grasp that having all your e-commerce data collected and connected in one place facilitates the different stages of your fulfillment process, making it much easier for you to manage your orders, inventory, and returns from a device of your choice. One could say that the main goal of any successful supply chain strategy is to move with your customers through the consumer journey, on their own terms, and always with a seamless logistics flow backing the process from behind the scenes – and an omnichannel achieves just that.
In the world of logistics and fulfillment, there will always be issues that are beyond your control: shipping delays, lost packages, technical malfunction — accidents happen no matter how prepared you are, but in the end, it is your customers who face the major blow of these mishaps. Having their best in interest from the get-go will ensure that you build a resilient and agile supply chain that is as prepared as can be for any obstacles it may face on the way to your customer’s doorstep.
Build Your Supply Chain With Prime Penguin
Not to toot our own horn (maybe just a little bit), but we know a whole lot about logistics. Helping e-commerce businesses to find and procure reliable and scalable supply chains through our network of 3PL suppliers is what Prime Penguin is all about. More specifically, we provide e-commerce businesses with a cost-efficient and scalable solution to connect their e-stores with warehouses and marketplaces worldwide. To top it all off, we make it possible for our customers to maintain and oversee all their logistical proceedings in a user-friendly digital interface – the Prime Penguin Platform. By leveraging a network of pre-integrated logistics partners and market-leading integration technology, with headliners such as Shopify and WooCommerce as part of our offer, Prime Penguin ensures that your commercial data is flowing between your sales channels and the warehouse management system (WMS).
Are you looking to expand your e-commerce business and solidify your supply chain through external 3PL suppliers? Do you want to ensure that your e-shop is primed and scalable with the right market integrations? Skip the hassle of logistical negotiations and unnecessary investments, and let Prime Penguin help you locate and connect with trusted industry experts. Together, we will streamline your fulfillment process from start to finish and make sure that it meets all criteria for future growth and sustainability. Fill out our procurement form to request a price quote, book a free consultation with one of our logistics experts, or contact us with any questions you may have about our services.