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The most common F&B fulfilment challenges and how to overcome them like a pro
Order fulfilment

The most common F&B fulfilment challenges and how to overcome them like a pro

Yukta Anand
November 15, 2022
mins read

The whole world is going online, rapidly pacing the penetration of ecommerce in each and every industry. So is true for F&B (Food and Beverage) industry.

Instead of visiting traditional brick-and-mortar stores, customers are keen to order F&B products online and the food and beverage brands are shipping products that weren’t normally shipped to customer’s doorstep in the past.

However, not all fulfilment providers are equipped to cater to the specialised needs of a F&B brand-including FDA certification, temperature or humidity control, and monitoring of expiration dates. Such challenges can hinder the growth of ecommerce brands selling F&B products. If you are an ecommerce seller facing issues fulfiling your F&B orders, we can help you.

In this blog, you will learn what F&B fulfilment is, the challenges of F&B fulfilment and how ecommerce sellers can overcome these challenges, i.e. by partnering with the right 3PL(Third-party logistics).

What is F&B fulfilment?

F&B fulfilment refers to the process of fulfiling online orders of food and beverage products. F&B fulfilment includes the following steps:

Step 1: Receiving and storing inventory at ecommerce warehouses

The first operation in F&B fulfilment is to receive and store inventory at an ecommerce warehouse or fulfilment centres till an order is received. Often F&B products have special storage requirements like cold storage, which should be kept in mind while choosing an ecommerce warehouse.

Step 2: Managing inventory

Inventory can be effectively tracked and managed either manually or using an Inventory Management System (IMS) to automate operations and reduce human errors.

Step 3: Processing of orders

Once an order is received, the product is picked from its location in the ecommerce warehouse and is properly packed using appropriate material to prevent in-transit damage.

Step 4: Kitting

Kitting refers to bundling two or more products into a product kit. Kitting is useful in increasing your AOV (Average Order Volume). F&B products can be bundled together, and subscription boxes can be made to boost ecommerce sales.

Step 5: Shipping of orders

Packed orders are marked ready-to-ship and are picked by the courier partners.

What are the challenges faced during F&B fulfilment?

F&B fulfilment comes with a unique set of challenges that ecommerce sellers must overcome to drive ecommerce sales. These include:

1. Adhering to the guidelines set by regulatory bodies

When selling F&B products, ecommerce brands have to store inventory at FDA (Food and Drug Administration, India) approved warehouses to ensure the safety and hygiene of products. At the same time, certain F&B products, like frozen foods, and dairy products, need to be stored at a specific temperature range. Thus, sellers need to ensure that their ecommerce warehouses have temperature-control facilities.

2. Handling expiration hassles and quality control accurately

F&B products are perishable, meaning they have expiry dates. You must manage your inventory and ensure strict quality control to avoid delivering expired products to customers. However, as you deal with a wide range of products and their expiration dates, keeping track of them during fulfilment can be challenging. Moreover, in the event of a product recall, you need seamless batch tracking to track products throughout your supply chain.

3. Ensuring on-time order delivery, every time

It is important for ecommerce sellers to ship orders and deliver F&B orders at lightning-fast speed to ensure these products reach the customers and be consumed before the expiration date. Moreover, 2-day shipping, same-day shipping and express shipping have become the norm for online shoppers who expect all ecommerce brands to provide them and F&B industry is no different.

4. Optimising packaging for product quality and security

F&B products require special packaging due to their delicate nature. Therefore, ecommerce sellers have to ensure proper packaging and the right amount of dunnage to prevent breakage, spoilage and other forms of in-transit damage. However, it is most likely that you lack skilled labour that could lead to not packing F&B orders as per SOP (Standard Operating Procedure).

How can ecommerce sellers overcome the challenges of F&B fulfilment?

Ecommerce sellers can overcome the challenges of F&B fulfilment and ensure smooth, fast and cost-effective order fulfilment by partnering with the right 3PL (Third-party logistics). By asking a few definitive questions, you can find the appropriate, tech-enabled fulfilment service provider to help you handle the extra layer of intricacy in F&B fulfilment. Let’s understand the various benefits of partnering with a 3PL provider for F&B fulfilment:

1. Superior quality control

Regulatory bodies of industries like F&B have strict quality control guidelines for storage, distribution and fulfilment, which must be followed by ecommerce sellers. With Eshopbox’s superior quality control and batch tracking, you can stay on top of compliance by tracking and recording end-to-end supply and distribution. Eshopbox also has temperature-control facilities equipped with state-of-the-art features and technology to store and ship F&B orders appropriately.

Moreover, Eshopbox enables you to trace which products are recalled to determine where they were produced, are currently stored, or if they are shipped to customers. This will help you immediately remove faulty batches from your fulfilment centres and supply chain.

2. Fulfilment at batch level

F&B products can expire, and thus inventory must be managed at the batch level so that products are shipped before they expire, and none of the inventory is wasted. Ecommerce sellers can use the following methods to properly manage inventory at the batch level:

  • FIFO (First In, First Out)
  • LIFO (Last In, First Out)
  • FEFO (First expired, First out)

For example, Eshopbox wields batch tracking to fulfil orders and prevent inventory from becoming obsolete. Eshopbox’s robust IMS (Inventory Management System) gives ecommerce sellers a birds-eye view of their inventory and orders on the actionable dashboard to track products throughout the supply chain.

Eshopbox's actionable dashboard enables superior inventory management
Eshopbox's actionable dashboard enables superior inventory management

3. Fast shipping

Due to the perishable nature of F&B products, timely shipping is essential for ecommerce sellers. Lightning-fast shipping can be ensured by having an automated and streamlined pick-and-pack process and by splitting inventory across multiple ecommerce warehouses.

Eshopbox’s strong fulfilment network helps you to distribute your inventory in multiple fulfilment centres across the country to deliver orders faster while saving shipping costs. Eshopbox also follows SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) driven pick and pack process that easily ensures same-day, two-day, and express shipping. Moreover, using technology like conveyer belts speeds up the process and reduces human errors.

Eshopbox's distributed network of fulfilment centres
Eshopbox's distributed network of fulfilment centres

4. Proper packaging

F&B orders must be packed with the right amount of dunnage to prevent in-transit damage. At the same time, custom packaging can take order fulfilment to the next level and help delight customers, which has numerous benefits like increased customer loyalty.

For instance- Eshopbox packs orders in the best manner using the right-sized packages, adding in-fill like bubble wrap and using fragile shipping labels, if required. Moreover, Eshopbox empowers you to create custom packaging lists and delight customers with a unique unboxing experience.

Summing up

F&B fulfilment comes with an extra layer of challenge, which ecommerce sellers have to overcome to ensure streamlined fulfilment and profitability in the long run. A tech-enabled fulfilment partner like Eshopbox is the solution for smooth, timely and cost-effective F&B fulfilment.

Connect with our fulfilment expert today.

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