Distribution management has always been a challenge for businesses. Although many uncontrollable events or mishaps occur, common supply chain issues can be traced back to poor supply chain management and how efficiently inventory moves from manufacturer to print on demand retailer to end user. With the growing popularity of omnichannel retailing, having complete control over your layered, dynamic, and complex distribution ecosystem has become essential. This article provides an overview of distribution management, how it works, and how you can improve distribution by partnering with a print on demand fulfillment partner.
WHAT IS DISTRIBUTION MANAGEMENT?
The movement of finished goods from a manufacturer or supplier to the end user is referred to as distribution management. Several activities and processes occur during this process, including ecommerce warehousing, inventory management, warehouse picking and packing, and last-mile delivery. Furthermore, a well-executed distribution management can help improve the ecommerce order fulfillment process, inventory turnover rate, profit margins, supply chain agility, and customer satisfaction.
WHY IS DISTRIBUTION MANAGEMENT IMPORTANT?
Distribution management’s goal is to keep inventory moving through the supply chain. How well distribution management is executed affects profit margins and the rate at which a brand can grow. For example, if you overspend on storage, you may have amassed excessive deadstock. Alternatively, if you are not replenishing inventory quickly enough, it can result in lost sales, backorders, and stockouts.
When done correctly, distribution management is one of the most effective ways to ensure:
- Inventory is distributed efficiently to reach customers as quickly and efficiently as possible.
- There is enough inventory to meet demand while keeping storage costs to a minimum.
- Business owners have sufficient visibility into operations to make informed decisions and make improvements.
HOW PRINT ON DEMAND DISTRIBUTION MANAGEMENT WORKS FOR ECOMMERCE?
1. Receiving Inventory
Unloaded, processed, and stored ecommerce inventory arrives at a warehouse or ecommerce fulfillment center. A proper inventory-receiving process is critical because it prepares your supply chain for efficient, cost-effective inventory management and fulfillment later in the fulfillment process. As a result, a proper inventory-receiving procedure can prevent poor inventory accuracy or lost inventory, impacting profit margins and inventory reporting.
2. Warehouse Management
After receiving the inventory, it must be monitored to ensure enough inventory meets demand. Warehouse management includes inventory tracking and storage and training and managing warehouse employees on how to best monitor inventory throughout the warehouse. However, with the rise of digital warehousing, it has become standard practice to implement a warehouse management system (WMS). As a result, the need for manual labor is reduced, allowing warehouse workers to focus on speed without sacrificing accuracy.
3. Packing orders
Once all items for a single order have been selected from the shelves, the packing process begins. It is necessary to place the appropriate items in the appropriate sized box with the appropriate packaging materials to ensure that they arrive at their final destination undamaged and most cost-effectively. Furthermore, packing should always keep order within the smallest boxes and use the right packing materials for each product to reduce shipping costs and maintain order accuracy.
The packed orders are sent to their final destinations in this step. Ecommerce shipping is an important stage in the distribution process because it affects customer satisfaction. 43% of online shoppers consider fast and dependable delivery the most important factor when purchasing goods online. As a result, a proper shipping strategy ensures you can provide your customers with competitive, cost-effective shipping options.
BENEFITS OF PRINT ON DEMAND DISTRIBUTION MANAGEMENT
1. Fulfill Order As Quickly As Possible
Because there are fewer orders to fulfill when you start, in-house fulfillment may be manageable. However, to remain competitive and reach more customers, many brands have expanded into multichannel distribution operations, which results in a higher volume of orders when done correctly.
Technology and location are two factors that can significantly accelerate the fulfillment process. Technology can help improve the fulfilment process, from automatic order processing to assisting warehouse pickers in quickly locating items within the warehouse. Furthermore, if an item is out of stock at one location, it can be fulfilled at another. Finally, supply chain technology and optimized distribution work in tandem to enable faster retail fulfillment.
2. Consistently Meet Customer Expectations
Distribution management is critical to meeting customer expectations consistently. With print on demand distribution management, you’ll never again miss a deadline for getting goods from the manufacturer to the end customer. It also ensures that SKUs are available for each sales channel and when the customer wants them. Simultaneously, it keeps order fulfillment costs low, allowing the retailer to pass the savings on to their customers.
3. Analyze Distribution Management Data
You need the right systems to collect and analyze supply chain data to improve and optimize your distribution network. You can gain insights into how to best distribute products and optimize inventory throughout your network by optimizing everything from inventory turnover rate warehouse allocation and how much inventory on the SKU level is currently available at each location. This knowledge can assist you in allocating inventory to distribution centres closest to your customers’ homes to reduce shipping costs and transit times.
4. Increase Profit Margins
Having sufficient visibility into operations can significantly reduce operational expenses. Simply storing inventory in more locations can help you save money on shipping while meeting customer expectations. Other ways to boost profit margins through optimized distribution include collaborating with a print on demand fulfillment company with multiple locations worldwide and ecommerce fulfillment services. It allows you to spend less time on logistics while decreasing fulfillment costs.
5. Faster Delivery Options
You can offer better shipping incentives to your customers if you have a well-established distribution strategy. For example, storing inventory closer to your customers reduces shipping costs while increasing transit times. As a result, you can provide customers with incentives such as 2-day shipping or free shipping with a required minimum cart value.
As ecommerce expands, the standards for fast, affordable delivery and customer expectations rise. There has never been a greater need for supply chain agility, so developing a flexible distribution strategy is critical. Fortunately, several distribution management solutions on the market can assist online brands in optimizing distribution and saving money while meeting customer expectations.
Fulfillplex is a top ecommerce fulfillment company that can help you improve your distribution management strategy by providing infrastructure and technology. Our warehousing and distribution services, which include receiving inventory, real-time inventory tracking, fast fulfillment, and automated shipping, improve the ecommerce distribution process. To learn more about how Fulfillplex can help you improve your distribution strategy, contact us by clicking here.