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Managing Quality Control in E-commerce Fulfillment

Posted by Kristen Melendez on Thu, Aug 22, 2013 @ 09:00 AM

ecommerce fulfillment

Businesses are proud of a lot of things, but the quality of the things they produce might be their greatest source of that pride. Because a customer purchases a product they believe is high quality, those businesses want to make sure that customer get what they ask for. When a product is well made, customers realize that and recommend it, and often the company, to their friends, and so on. Even with a focus on quality, though, things can slip through the cracks and damage a brand. Depending on your warehousing partner, some items that come in already damaged or not packaged correctly can still be shipped out in orders. There are many reasons why quality control at the warehousing level is important.

Limiting Returns

Returns are pricey, and a large number of items are returned because they’re defective, or at least packaged incorrectly. They cost money to process, to inspect, and to reship (if the customer even wants a new item). Then you have to refund the original money, and then perhaps repair or simply scrap the original item. In order to limit the number of returns, a simple quality check before an item is stocked can make a huge difference. If there are a large number of defects in a specific run, the entire load can be returned to the manufacturer without ever reaching the end customer and potentially damaging your company’s reputation.

Order Accuracy

A batch of defective products can hurt e-commerce fulfillment, especially if there are orders for that item waiting to go out. Even if items come in defective and are stocked, a quick check for quality before they’re pulled can ensure that an order is picked and sorted correctly, avoiding a potential return. An accurate order ensures the absolute best experience for the customer, and that’s always the best outcome. 

Bigger Problems

On some occasions, a warehouse may end up with returns based on the specific way an item is put together. That may mean an off stitch in a piece of clothing, or maybe a protective film was put on a screen before the outer case was put on, making it impossible to remove without dismantling the item. Some customers may simply deal with it. Others—most likely the majority—will just return the item. This creates a lot of extra work, which means time lost. If a warehouse notices the issue early on in a quality control check, they’re able to alert the manufacturer so that they can adjust the way they piece together their items. 

Topics: Returns, Fulfillment, E-commerce