How COVID-19 has affected order fulfillment

COVID-19 has had a much bigger impact on the business world than any other virus in recent memory. This has led businesses to mostly take an abundance of caution in their approach to going about their day-to-day operations.

Many businesses, if not all, have already taken social distancing measures within their physical locations to minimize or eliminate physical contact entirely in order to mitigate the spread of the virus. These are well thought-out preventative measures, but they don’t cover everything like order fulfillment. 

order fulfillmentA vast number of businesses must ship their products both domestically and internationally—some even garner the majority of their sales through this means. This means that the products must be touched in multiple locations and sometimes moved across the country, which can be potentially dangerous in the current pandemic.

Whether your business utilizes a fulfillment company or handles the distribution of products on your own, the process has been undeniably altered due to the virus. 

New guidelines being put in place

One of the main implications that has come to many business’s order fulfillment processes is the implementation of new guidelines and procedures that must be followed throughout the whole process. COVID-19 has caused both shippers and manufacturers to exercise an abundance of caution in their handling of products and packaging to ensure the least amount of potentially harmful contact possible.

Most, if not all, operations are being forced to wear masks or gloves, products must be touched as little as physically possible, sanitized often where applicable, and all done in the most effective and efficient manner possible. 

These extra steps can of course come with frustration to those having to deal with it all and will inevitably slow down the process, leading to slower shipping times and more delays. 

COVID-19 has actually increased online orders

When the coronavirus first made its way around the globe from, the initial reaction was panic from much of the general public as well as an abundance of caution from governments and regulatory agencies. 

As a result, many businesses, schools, gyms—anywhere people gathered, period—shut down temporarily. Not everything was closed, of course, but the necessities that remained opened instituted strict guidelines to keep from potentially spreading the illness around. 

Because of the closing of many physical shopping centers, online orders grew exponentially. Amazon and other eCommerce giants are the prime examples of this, but companies across the board saw an increase of remote transactions being done due to the lack of on-site operations or the limitations on them. 

How growth in businesses online orders affects order fulfillment

With this large influx of new orders coming in above usual volume levels, the process of order fulfillment has inevitably slowed down. This has resulted in longer waiting times for customers, trouble getting products from overseas manufactures, and even business’s accounting and refunding departments being backed up for weeks on end. 

This is especially true for smaller businesses who didn’t handle as much online volume beforehand. Without a large enough infrastructure or staff in place to handle it—or really any in place—things can quickly get behind if you’re forced to go all online, and your orders seem to skyrocket. Whether businesses fulfill orders on their own or hand it off, the sudden increase in levels of online orders have affected everyone. 

Companies are finally now starting to catch up as the world begins to resume a sense of normalcy in many countries, and as businesses have had the time to account for the increased volume by making the necessary hires to handle them or setting up new, more efficient processes for order fulfillment. 

When all is in the clear, the end result will likely end up as a positive one due to having had to make adjustments to the online business world that were begging to be made. Maybe it even inspired you to capitalize off of it and start a drop shipping company, who knows. 

The net outcome of it all

No one knows for sure when or if the business world can return to what it was before COVID-19. For some parts of the world, they never noticed a difference, whereas others are still practicing quarantining to this day. 

The overwhelming majority of the planet was impacted in some way or another, and the adjustments businesses had to make in compliance with this will continue to resonate moving forward. Businesses who didn’t see the importance or opportunity of online marketing and order fulfillment before undoubtedly do now, and they’re better prepared to serve their customers in the future because of it.