B2C order fulfillment often involves more than basic pick and pack operations. There are a variety of additional considerations for presenting your brand to your customers in the best possible light and for optimizing processes to reduce costs. One of the more important considerations is the implementation of fulfillment kitting services.
What are fulfillment kitting services?
In a B2C warehousing operation, kitting is the process by which individual items with individual SKUs are grouped together into a single unit, typically a package or a kit, which is given a new SKU. This new package is then shipped to the customer.
Common examples include the following.
Subscription boxes: Subscription box services often use kitting to assemble a variety of products into a single package that is shipped to customers on a regular basis. For example, a beauty subscription box may include makeup, skincare, and hair care products, while a food subscription box may include recipe cards and pre-portioned ingredients.
Gift baskets: Gift basket companies often use kitting to create custom gift baskets that are tailored to a specific occasion or recipient. For example, a company may assemble a gift basket for a baby shower that includes baby clothes, toys, and accessories.
Gaming and hobby kits: Companies that sell gaming or hobby products, such as miniature models or board games, often use kitting to package all of the components into a single kit. For example, a miniature model kit may include all of the necessary parts, tools, and instructions for assembling the model.
Order fulfillment kitting typically involves the following steps.
- Gathering all the items needed for the kit
- Grouping the items together into a single unit
- Packaging the kit, typically using a box or bag
- Labeling the package with the appropriate shipping information
Advantages of fulfillment kitting services include:
Cost reduction: Pre-assembly of kits promotes labor efficiency along with improved order accuracy due to mass assembly of the same package.
Management of volume surges: By preparing kits in advance of final orders, you save time when those final orders hit. As an example, one Amware client has over 5,000 orders of kitted products that hit at the end of each month. We pre-assemble 90% of the base kit so, when the order hits, we can immediately complete the finished kits and get them out the door.
Conversely, kitting is labor intensive. And in an environment where companies struggle to hire and retain warehouse workers, kitting is often a key driver in the decision to outsource fulfillment services to a 3PL provider.
How to boost B2C kitting efficiency
The following tips can help boost the efficiency of your warehouse kitting operations.
- Simply the process for associates. Instead of having associates handle multiple parts of the kitting process, give each person only one or two tasks. This will help ensure order accuracy – as each associate is only responsible for following a small set of guidelines – and will also prevent worker fatigue that comes with having workers handle too many parts of the process.
- Focus on ergonomics. You want to ensure that associates don’t have to reach very far during the kitting process. This means that they don’t have to turn or bend over to either pick the item or to place the item in the packaging as it's being kitted.
- Simplify replenishment and takeaway. You want associates to grab what they need in an easy-to-reach location, place it in the packaging, and then have the packaging taken away from them so they can work on the next one. You can use things such as automated conveyors to move the goods efficiently and avoid piling of components.
Turn to Amware Fulfillment for 3PL fulfillment kitting services
Amware Fulfillment’s customers include top subscription box brands and other brands with regular kitting operations that number tens of thousands of units each month. Our sophisticated systems allow us to batch similar orders to boost efficiency and accuracy, and we have strong relationships with packaging companies to introduce new strategies to lower packaging costs. We always go to great lengths to present a strong, uniform brand image to your customers, while driving labor and process efficiency to reduce your costs. To learn how we can supercharge your kitting and fulfillment operations, contact Amware today.