Time-Saving Automation for Ecommerce Brands

Time-Saving Automation for Ecommerce Brands

You can never replace the human element of any operation. Whether you run a small or medium sized ecommerce brand or a giant international company, the right people mean the difference between failure and success. That being said, for more monotonous and time-consuming routine tasks, automation can take the blooming flower of your ecommerce brand and turn it into a full bouquet. 

ShipMonk combines the experience of our 3PL experts with the efficiency of time-saving automation so ecommerce brands of all sizes can scale and grow with our omnichannel fulfillment services. From bin to bot to truck, we’ve invested in only the best technology to achieve that growth for you. So whether you’re a current client or prospective one searching for a 3PL partner, we’re outlining the importance of the top time-saving automation in the ecommerce industry and how it helps you flourish.

Top Time-Saving Fulfillment Center Solutions

At a glance, for your ecommerce business to thrive you need a fulfillment center and fulfillment services outfitted with time-saving automation that make picking, packing, shipping, sorting, and managing more efficient. All the while, these tech boosts and services still must maintain real-time accuracy. The key areas you need to consider, as a result, are:

  • 3PL Software
  • Slotting
  • Cubiscans
  • Picking Automation
  • Picking Routes
  • Packing Automation
  • MonkProtect

3PL Software

Order fulfillment for any product and any ecommerce brand can be a minefield of complexity. As you navigate the competitive market, the number one thing that can keep your business alive and allow it to thrive is sophisticated software. And we’re not talking about being overly complicated. We mean advanced 3PL software that handles inventory, order, warehouse, and shipping management in one user-friendly platform designed with business owners in mind.

ShipMonk’s 3PL software, for example, is time-saving automation at its finest. Utilizing our easy one-stop-shop layout, your ecommerce brand can automate everything from reorders of products to customer notifications and beyond. With a combination of transparency, real-time data, historical data, supply chain and shipping updates, and 75+ integrations to marketplaces, shopping carts, and more, this software is your solution to an increasingly streamlined operation. Just taking an overarching view of the benefits this time-saving technology provides, your ecommerce brand will be able to:

  • Assess orders at any status
  • Hone in on at-risk orders so you can take action immediately
  • Manage inventory levels across all fulfillment centers
  • Monitor orders with cross-channel visibility
  • Track selling trends
  • Generate data-driven order, inventory, and shipping reports
  • View line items
  • Easily understand costs and billing
  • Process returns with just a few clicks

So don’t waste another minute or allow another order fulfillment error to occur; working with ShipMonk and our 3PL software means taking the guesswork out of your order, inventory, warehouse, and shipping management. It is with this platform at the core of our fulfillment center network that we’re able to fulfill over 75,000 orders daily with 4X faster pick times than the industry average and staggering 99.9% accuracy.  

Automated Slotting

With automated slotting, an ecommerce brand only has to pay for the space they need in a fulfillment center without constantly worrying about meeting their changing needs. How? Through system integrations, our technology can pull data from all your ecommerce sales channels and brick-and-mortar storefronts, then use that data to automatically assign each SKU an optimal slotting location within a fulfillment center. Since the system utilizes several different types of data points in the process (size, order volume, etc.), the slotting assignments allow you to save on fulfillment costs by reducing errors in picking and packing orders, optimizing storage space, and getting orders out to customers faster. .

Cubiscan® Dimensioning Systems

When new inventory is delivered from your manufacturer to your fulfillment center(s), it needs to be checked to make sure the correct items and quantities are inside. Each of ShipMonk’s 12 state-of-the-art fulfillment center locations is equipped with Cubiscan® infrared technology that weighs, dimensionally measures, and photographs one of each SKU (upon the receiving of the first SKU). These measurements are error-proof and thus ensure quality control, allow fulfillment centers to optimize inventory storage locations, lower packaging waste, and optimize shipping costs.

Picking Automation

Technology that automates elements of the picking process (while keeping ShipMonk’s industry-leading quality control standards) is key to saving time in the order fulfillment process. The two forms of time-saving automation that are most valuable to the picking process are pick-to-light systems and high-speed sortation robots.

  • Pick-to-Light Systems make it simple for pickers to locate the correct SKU needed to fill an order. Here’s how it works. When one of our 3PL experts taps a product on the digital pick list, an actual light on our slotting shelves illuminates to clearly call attention to where the SKU is stored. Once the picker pulls the item, its barcode is scanned to ensure double-check accuracy prior to packing. The combination of these tasks significantly reduces error while allowing for fast product retrieval. 
  • High-speed Sortation Robots drastically reduce the time spent fulfilling orders that contain various combinations of the same items. Pickers in our fulfillment centers simply load the common colors, sizes, etc. of goods into a sortation system, which then divvies them up accurately into separate bins, one for each order. Harnessing the power of high-speed sortation robots, as a result, eliminates time spent by not requiring pickers to make trips to the same bin hundreds of times per day.

Though it can be scary to entrust any element of your order fulfillment to automation, we assure you that, while not all 3PLs are built the same, ShipMonk’s optimized fulfillment centers ensure totes and boxes undergo seven different quality control checks to ensure the correct items are in the correct bins and headed in the right directions throughout their journey on the shipping floor.

Picking Routes

Speaking of journey, every time an order comes in for your ecommerce brand, our 3PL software knows exactly where the desired SKUs are located and in that moment ascertains the fastest picking and packing route. There are actually several options, especially when you’re harnessing the power of advanced fulfillment centers like the 12 that ShipMonk owns and operates. Depending on the specific SKUs in an order, our system will either assign the order to a plastic tote or a certain size box, both with a barcode that is used to track the contents on their path through the fulfillment center. 

If your products take the tote journey, an automated tote de-stacker pulls a new tote off a stack and places it on a conveyor belt. The tote travels along a streamlined conveyor belt through the fulfillment center, passing through scanning systems, optimized dividers, quality control checkpoints, weight checkpoints, chutes, and ramps on its way to a pack station.

Should your orders be of the bulk variety (like if they are part of B2B and retail fulfillment orders) case erectors build and seal large boxes, which saves a ton of time for 3PL team members.

Additionally, one of our top time-saving automation picking route secrets are Locus Robots. These AMRs (Automated Mobile Robots) are digitally assigned to carry totes to and from pick locations. The speedy, spatially aware robots bridge great distances rapidly and can carry up to four totes at a time. 

Locus-enhanced picking routes work like this. WIthin our fulfillment centers we have 3PL team members (“pickers”) assigned to their own zones. A Locus robot carries four empty totes (representing four orders) to the first assigned pick location. The picker then adds that SKU to the first tote, then sends an AMR on to the next zone to fill the remaining totes. When all totes are filled, the last picker on the journey sends the Locus to a packing station. Every robot and every bin is tracked throughout every part of the journey too, so your orders are always taken care of. Overall, this automated picking route  saves immense time, getting needed items where they need to go quickly. As an added bonus, using AMRs also partially reduces labor costs, which therefore reduces overall order fulfillment costs for our valued merchants.

Packing Automation

Different orders have different packing needs. A small DTC order, for example, will have unique requirements as compared to a bulk retail or wholesale order. Past size, ecommerce brand orders may have special needs with regards to custom packaging, dunnage, sustainable materials, inserts, and more. 

Based on these types of variances, ShipMonk assigns orders to specific stations for packing. All packing stations, however, have quality control screens that list what an order should contain, how it should be packed, and what it should be packed in. Once the 3PL team member has completed an order, before it is sealed and sent out, it is photographed to verify/document its contents. Naturally, this is a very hands-on (literally) human element of the order fulfillment process. Even so, ShipMonk is master of time-saving automation, particularly in the strategic ways that we apply it, and it can be applied here to optimize some steps as well. Specifically, we use:

  • Case Sealers that seal the top of each box after packing
  • Print and Apply machines that automatically print and apply shipping labels to boxes
  • Sorters that scan and sort all small-parcel orders after they’re packed. Regardless of specific type of packaging used for these smaller items, they ride a designated conveyor belt through an overhead scanner. The conveyor belt then sorts them down chutes into bulk-size corrugated containers (“gaylords”) according to the carrier, shipping method, and destination. These large containers are then taken by forklift to our loading docks where they wait for pickup.

MonkProtect™

Time-consuming automation for ecommerce brands on the rise takes the form of software as much as it does physical machines. We’ve already outlined the crucial component to any ecommerce business—3PL software. In terms of ease and efficiency, another type of advanced software that can enhance your business is unique to ShipMonk and pertains to claims handling and resolution. ShipMonk’s proprietary post-purchase suite MonkProtect keeps lost, stolen, or damaged packages from breaking your customers’ trust and negatively impacting your company. 

MonkProtect technology is fully integrated with ShipMonk’s 3PL platform and allows customers to self-report issues, works 10x faster than manual claims processing, and can automatically approve cases unless they are special circumstances. It also offers added revenue streams for merchants, allows for branded tracking, and more. The automation factor, specifically though, saves growing ecommerce brands innumerable hours and human resources in the area of resolving claims, and as a result speeds up the rates with which your customers are satisfied with the service they receive. 

In sum, if your ecommerce brand is looking to drive customer confidence while saving immense time on a regular basis, the MonkProtect post-purchase suite is a must for your online store offerings. Just talk to a ShipMonk 3PL expert about this add-on to your omnichannel fulfillment services to get started.

Time-Saved You’re Welcome!

Time-saving automation for ecommerce brands leads to more achievable, more maintainable growth. It’s that simple. So simplify your life, while saving time and money, by partnering with a 3PL that offers the omnichannel fulfillment services you need to succeed and the technological solutions you need to succeed efficiently. ShipMonk is one of the fastest-growing technology companies in North America, and we want to share our stellar optimization with you. Contact our team today!

Ready to take your ecommerce business to new heights?

Outsourcing your order fulfillment has never been so easy. ShipMonk integrates with your sales channels so you can "Stress Less, Grow More." Unlock scalable growth today!