b2b

5 Main Challenges of B2B Order Fulfilment and What to Do

In business-to-business (B2B) commerce, order fulfillment is the receiving and processing customer purchase orders and delivering the products or services to the customer. 

Order fulfillment is a key part of the customer experience and can directly impact a company’s revenue and profitability. Yet, many businesses struggle to fulfill orders accurately and on time. In fact, a recent study by PwC found that 43% of companies surveyed said they were not very effective at order fulfillment.

Fortunately, there are several steps businesses can take to overcome these challenges and improve their order fulfillment performance. In this guide, we will explore the key challenges of B2B order fulfillment and provide practical tips for overcoming them.

The Main Challenges of B2B Order Fulfilment

There are many challenges that can impact the accuracy and timeliness of B2B order fulfillment, including:

1. Complex Product Catalogs 

The first challenge businesses face when fulfilling B2B orders is the complexity of their product catalogs. In many cases, businesses have many products with different variants, configurations, and customization options making it difficult for employees to correctly identify the products that need fulfilling and can lead to errors.

To overcome this challenge, businesses need to have a clear and concise product catalog that is easy for employees to understand. They should also consider implementing a product information management (PIM) system to help manage their product data.

2. Configurable Products 

Another challenge businesses face when fulfilling B2B orders is configuring products. In many cases, businesses need to configure products to meet the specific needs of their customers. This can be a time-consuming and error-prone process if businesses do not have the right tools and processes in place.

Businesses should consider investing in product configuration software. This software will help businesses quickly and accurately configure products to meet the specific needs of their customers.

3. Long Lead Times

B2B orders can also be impacted by long lead times. In many cases, businesses need to order products from suppliers that are located overseas. This can lead to delays in receiving the products, which can impact customer satisfaction.

Businesses need to plan ahead and order products from suppliers well in advance. They should also consider using a supply chain management (SCM) system to help them track and manage their supply chain.

4. Limited Resources

One of the biggest challenges businesses face when trying to improve their order fulfillment performance is limited resources including a lack of staff, equipment, or space. When businesses don’t have enough resources, it can be difficult to keep up with customer demand and fulfill orders in a timely manner.

5. Manual Processes

Another common challenge faced by businesses when it comes to B2B order fulfillment is manual processes including manual data entry, manual order processing, and manual shipping.

This can lead to errors, delays, and a lack of visibility into the fulfillment process. It can also make it difficult to scale the business, as manual processes are often not conducive to growth.

Tips for Overcoming the Challenges of B2B Order Fulfillment

There are a number of steps businesses can take to overcome the challenges of B2B order fulfillment including:

1. Automate Where Possible

One of the best ways to overcome the challenges of B2B order fulfillment is to automate where possible. This can consist of automating data entry, order processing, and shipping. Automating these processes can help reduce errors and delays, and give you visibility into the fulfillment process.

2. Use a Third-Party Logistics Provider

Another way to overcome the challenges of B2B order fulfillment is to use a third-party logistics (3PL) provider. A 3PL provider can help to manage your inventory, fulfill orders, and ship products. This can help reduce the burden on your staff and give you access to resources that you may not have otherwise.

3. Streamline Your Processes

Another way to overcome the challenges of B2B order fulfillment is to streamline your processes including simplifying your data entry process, streamlining your order processing, and automating your shipping. Streamlining your processes can help reduce errors and delays, and improve visibility into the fulfillment process.

Work With Your Logistics Corp for Your 3PL Needs

The challenges of B2B order fulfillment can be overcome by understanding the needs of your customers and implementing the right systems and processes. By doing so, you can create a seamless and efficient order fulfillment system that meets the demands of your customers.

Find your company’s most cost-effective 3PL Logistics solution with Your Logistics Corp! Reach out to discuss your shipping and logistics needs or request a quote online.

Andrew Kirk

I am an experienced logistics and supply chain executive with over 15 years in the global end-to-end logistics field, including retail, direct sales, and B2B. I leverage strong relationship skills, a team-oriented management style, and a focus on talent development to drive results and lead change for our internal team and clients alike.