Logistics Automation Software for Efficient Ecommerce Order Fulfilment

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The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed more shoppers online than ever before. This unprecedented strain on the supply chain has strengthened the need for logistics automation. When logistics automation software is used in distribution centres, there is a great opportunity to optimise warehouse operations, automate fulfilment, and provide a better customer experience.

What is logistics automation?

Logistics automation is using technology and equipment to streamline and speed up warehouse operations and fulfilment processes to improve efficiencies.

What it’s like using an automated logistics & order processing system

The use of automated logistics systems should have a positive effect on overall efficiency and productivity of a distribution centre. Leading fulfilment companies like ShipBob provide automation solutions for ecommerce brands that don’t want to manage a warehouse, purchase automated guided vehicles, and implement automation systems themselves.

“When I was gearing up to launch the business, I was looking for someone who would automate fulfilment for us. I chose ShipBob, and it turned out to be a very easy and scalable solution.

Everything was automated, from setting up my store, to sending product, to fulfiling orders. 

It was pretty remarkable how a 24-year-old like me with very little money and no prior logistics experience could launch a product and have distribution be automated.”

Josh Hollings, Founder & CEO of Drop FX

1. Reliable inventory tracking

Tech-enabled 3PLs like ShipBob use inventory tracking systems to provide a transparent overview of current stock levels and tools to help automate reordering products before stock is depleted, forecasting inventory, and more.

ShipBob owns the entire stack: inventory and order management system, warehouse management system, and their fulfilment centres.

With ShipBob, ordered inventory is automatically marked as accounted for, so it’s held until it’s shipped. Each time a bundle or order is fulfiled, we can see the individual components that are physically picked, and we know that the order went out as expected.”

Gerard Ecker, Founder & CEO of Ocean & Co.

2. Lower order fulfilment costs

Logistics automation software can provide data to inform you how to distribute your inventory to reduce shipping costs so you can decrease overall fulfilment costs. That way, each order is automatically routed to the distribution centre nearest the customer.

“We distribute inventory across ShipBob’s fulfilment network so we can be closer to major distribution hubs, shipping couriers, and more of our customers.

Since switching to ShipBob from our previous 3PL, our fulfilment cost on comparable orders went down by 25%”

Michael Peters, VP of E-Commerce Operations at TB12

3. Faster shipping times

ShipBob fulfils orders the same day that are imported by noon local time, so the couriers can pick them up and ship them out quickly. We also enable faster shipping times by analising optimal delivery routes and fulfiling orders from the most efficient location.

“An hour after an influencer ordered from me, he had already received an email saying his order had shipped. If I was fulfiling orders myself, it would have taken me much longer.

This was the perfect example of ShipBob working how it should, automatically sending tracking info and giving my customers everything they needed.”

Tracey Wallace, Founder of Doris Sleep

4. Improved customer experience

ShipBob offers order tracking and gives you the tools to maintain complete control and visibility into warehouse operations, even with you being outside of the four walls of the warehouse.

In other words, you can outsource fulfilment logistics while still maintaining full control, spending far less time on logistics, and getting best-in-class support.

“ShipBob’s customer service continues to improve with direct contacts that know our account, real-time follow through, and a better customer delivery experience. They are a fulfilment partner that is truly an extension of our brand.”

Manuel de la Cruz, CEO at Boie

How ShipBob automates its warehouses and optimises logistics

ShipBob is a leading third-party logistics company or 3PL that allows ecommerce brands to outsource order fulfilment while ShipBob automates both order processing and warehouse operations, and gets more orders delivered faster.

1. Automated order processing

Automated order processing refers to the process of automatically syncing orders from a sales channel to ShipBob to be fulfiled in order to reduce manual work and human error, while automating shipping processes.

“Our fulfilment is on autopilot. ShipBob saves us so much effort, and the opportunity cost savings has been substantial. Rather than us packing boxes and going to FedEx, or paying additional fees to another third-party, having ShipBob do it all is awesome.”

Yannick Crespo, Co-Founder & President of Pot d’Huile

2. Box selection algorithm using Cubiscan

ShipBob understands inconsistent packaging can result in the inability to predict fulfilment pricing and uses a box selection algorithm in all fulfilment centres that uses dimensions and your packaging preferences to tell us which package size we should use for any order combination, so your orders will have more consistent fulfilment pricing.

Fulfilment by ShipBob is easy to estimate because we know the true fulfilment cost. It makes it a lot easier to spend marketing dollars when we know exactly what shipping costs are going to be.”

Greg MacDonald, CEO & Founder of Bathorium

To optimise the box selection process for each order, ShipBob also uses a triple Cubiscan process to ensure accuracy when scanning items at our fulfilment centres. This means our associates are prompted to scan each item three times, and we calculate the variance between scans. If the variance is larger than 0.75 inches, an additional scan is required. This ensures that we select the best suitable packaging for the ordered product each time.

3. Automated sorting

ShipBob’s sorting machines scan every single package. We’ve connected automated carrier sort machines to our WMS and assign sort lanes and weight/dim validations for orders that go through our Cubiscan sort machine. The sorting machine reads these values when sorting shipments with quality checks to verify package dimensions and weights, and to automatically sort packages into various carrier lanes.

The benefits of automated sorting include labour savings, higher order accuracy rate, enhanced scalability, reduced shipping correction costs, and improved accuracy in the chain of custody with couriers.

Orders move smoothly with logistics automation

Warehouse automation helps make order fulfilment operations flow smoothly.

1. Step 1: Ecommerce order is placed

When your customer completes an order, it is automatically pushed to ShipBob’s fulfilment software and routed to the fulfilment centre located closest to the order’s destination with available inventory.

Step 2: Warehouse picking and packing

The picker retrieves the item(s) from the pallet, shelf, or bin in which it’s located. All pickers are assigned similar orders in nearby locations of the warehouse to make the process more efficient by reducing travel in between picks and orders. Then, a packer packages the order according to the merchant’s preferences and using the box or mailer that will bring forth the lowest cost dimensional weight.

Step 3: Orders are shipped and the customer is satisfied

Couriers picks up from ShipBob daily and orders are sent out to the end consumer with the tracking information pushed to the store and then the customer, which gets updated in real-time. The order is delivered and your customer gets their products.

Ready for easier, faster, more cost-effective logistics?

At ShipBob, we built our own warehouse management system (WMS) that controls, tracks, and provides streamlined inventory management and fulfilment. We optimise logistics automation on each customer’s behalf, without them having to lift a finger or invest in a warehouse, racking, palletizing, and automation solutions.

Our proprietary merchant fulfilment platform connects to our WMS and even compiles distribution metrics and on-demand data analytics for a transparent look into our fulfilment performance.

Our algorithm selects the fulfilment centre closest to the customer, to minimise transit time and shipping costs. Owning our WMS means that we can make changes to our technology based on real-time customer feedback and provide you with the best service possible.

“ShipBob pulls me out of having to deal with the physical labour side of the business. It’s an automated flow that lets me spend less time on things that aren’t making money.”

Lee Nania, Founder of SubSubmarine

Learn more about logistics automation and fulfilment through ShipBob

Partnering with a 3PL can make managing ecommerce fulfilment easier. ShipBob is a tech-enabled 3PL that uses logistics automation to make the order fulfilment process more efficient with faster deliveries.

“Compared to other warehouses we’ve worked with, ShipBob processes orders so quickly to get them out the door faster. It’s fun to see orders shipping out instantaneously. I love how fast and efficient ShipBob is.”

Harley Abrams, Operations Manager of SuperSpeed Golf, LLC

With our reliable fulfilment services, built-in logistics automation, helpful customer support team, and unmatched technology, you can focus on growing your business and leave the fulfilment process to us.

Fill out the form below to request a quote from ShipBob. A fulfilment expert will follow up to discuss pricing and how ShipBob works.

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1. How does logistics automation work for small businesses?

Using the fulfilment services and technology of logistics companies like ShipBob, small businesses can outsource their order fulfilment and warehousing. You can utilise their automation systems without having to invest in any automation solutions yourself, something which can be quite costly to do at a small level. While ShipBob works with mature brands, they also have a Growth Plan for the smallest brands, providing small business shipping and fulfilment solutions.

2. Does logistic automation reduce overall fulfilment costs?

With logistics automation, you can save on labour costs and gain efficiencies from typical hidden costs incurred without automation systems. You can also utilise logistics automation to route orders to the most optimal distribution centre to be fulfiled, reducing the average shipping zone and fulfilment cost.