Order Fulfillment Process in 5 Steps

Updated on September 26, 2022
In this article
In this article

In this article, we will explain what order fulfillment process is and its key steps.

order fulfillment packages
Order Fulfillment Process in 5 Steps 3

What exactly is order fulfillment?

 Order fulfillment consists of a process of receiving goods, after which they are processed, and then it consists of delivering orders to customers. The process starts with a customer placing an order and ends once they receive the product. Moreover, if the buyer wants to return a product, order fulfillment also manages the return transaction.

Interior view of a gravity feed conveyor system in a large distribution warehouse with products stored  in cardboard boxes
Order Fulfillment Process in 5 Steps 4

Order fulfillment is a very complex process that is also very time-consuming. Depending on the size and capacity of a company, some conduct order fulfillment in-house, while others outsource third-party logistics companies.

When it comes to the in-house order fulfillment model, a company uses its own employees to manage fulfillment processes. Employees take care of all steps concerning the process, including storing and shipping the products at a company-controlled location.

In-house fulfillment is excellent for companies that want to have end-to-end control over the entire operation. Certain startups start by using in-house fulfillment as an option with a lower cost, particularly those with small order volumes, as they outgrow their initial space; many move to outsourced or hybrid fulfillment models.

On the other hand, outsourced order fulfillment is when the entire process is handled by a third-party logistics (3PL) or order fulfillment company. This option is suitable for companies with insufficient storage space or personnel. In this case, the 3PL’s employees handle the entire fulfillment process from end to end.

Other types of other fulfillment include dropshipping and hybrid fulfillment. Let’s continue with the five key steps of order fulfillment.

Five key steps of order fulfillment

  • Sources of incoming goods include incoming goods from manufacturers, wholesalers, or other companies.
  • Receiving – these goods need to be counted, inspected, and inventoried to ensure that the correct quantity was received and everything is for the next step.
  • Storage – after goods are stored in the fulfillment center, they are shipped to either short-term or long-term storage units. Goods are usually not held for future sales but rather to be able to be sent immediately for existing sales and demand.
  • Processing – includes picking and packing of the goods. A team prepares everything for the goods to be shipped, including adding the return label to the package, in case the customer wishes to return the product. After that, automated robots usually start packing the products in the most practical way possible and preparing them for shipping.
  • Shipping – shipping goods is usually carried out by postal services, airlines, or freight lines. The shipping cost will depend on the size of the goods themselves and the package it is packed in.

Now that we have covered all of the order fulfillment processes’ basics, it is time to consider the next steps.

Start your new product line with Wonnda

Are you interested in launching your own brand but don’t know how to get your production up and running?

Whether you’re an aspiring startup entrepreneur with an innovative product idea or an existing retailer looking to diversify your assortment with your own products, launching your own brand through a private label or contract manufacturing could be just the step you need to take your business to the next level.

Here at wonnda, we work with top European producers for private labeling and contract manufacturing. The first step in getting your product to market is probably the most crucial – finding the right production partner for your project. The great advantage of wonnda.com is that you can let us do the heavy lifting. Just tell us quickly about your project or product idea. We will then approach the most suitable producers for your project and connect you with them. Sounds interesting? Then fill out the form!

Create your next product line with Wonnda

Our platform lets you source, launch, and scale your product line with over 250 trusted European suppliers. So whether you’re looking to request products from our private label catalog of over 1,500 items or develop custom products from scratch, Wonnda has everything you need to get started. Best of all, it’s free to start today!

Set up your account in less than 3 minutes and begin your journey with Wonnda. Unlock endless possibilities for your business, bring new products to market and streamline your sourcing process from idea to launch on one single platform.

About the author
Alice Pegorin
Alice Pegorin is a talented writer and a world-citizen who was born and raised in Brazil. In 2019, she moved to Lisbon, Portugal to pursue a BSc in Marketing and Advertising at IADE-UE. Following her passion for business management, Alice moved to Berlin, Germany in 2022 for her Erasmus semester at UE-Germany, where she completed her studies. Alice is a curious and open-minded individual who adapts easily to any environment. She enjoys exploring new cultures and experiences, and is always eager to learn. Currently based in Berlin, Alice travels to Portugal from time to time to visit friends. Her passion for writing and business management makes her an invaluable member of our team at Wonnda, and we're thrilled to have her on board.
Join 5600+ brands sourcing with Wonnda
By signing up, you are accepting our terms & conditions and privacy policy.
More resources and trends
In-depth sourcing resources and consumer product trends curated by the Wonnda team.

Find suppliers for your consumer brand

Join 5600+ leading consumer brands using Wonnda as their go-to sourcing platform. Sign up for free.

The email will be used to create a free account. No credit card required. By signing up, you are accepting our terms & conditions & privacy policy.