When it comes to order fulfillment, online sellers are always looking for new ways to improve speed and cut costs, and in this post, we’re going to talk about one option that can help many sellers save money: Kitting.
What is Kitting?
Kitting is fulfillment lingo for the assembly of individual items into ready-to-ship packages, or kits. In the manufacturing process, kitting is often used interchangeably with the term assembly, and it can either mean to group raw materials together in order to create a finished product, or the assembly of two or more finished products into a larger group.
To Kit or Not to Kit?
How do you know when you should kit products? Kitting should be used when you are commonly fulfilling orders with multiple items that are identical.
Here’s an example. Let’s say you sell workout videos online. You have a series of 3 dance aerobic videos that can be purchased individually, or as a group. When purchased as a group, you offer a “buy the first two get the third one free” deal to your buyers.
This is an ideal project for kitting because you have 3 individual items that will be grouped together frequently. In this case, if you outsource fulfillment, you would work with your fulfillment provider to assemble a kit that includes all three videos. This kit would have a unique SKU number to differentiate it from the individual videos, and it would be stocked and tracked as a single unit.
There are a variety of items that can be kitted, and here are a few common ones:
- Media kits
- Product samples
- Promotional items/literature
- Instructional packets
- New product launches
- Game sets
It doesn’t always make sense to kit items, but when it does, there are a variety of benefits, and the cost savings can come from many areas.
The Benefits of Kitting
Here are some of the benefits of kitting, and how those benefits translate into cost savings for merchants:
When kitting is done in bulk, as opposed to each time an order comes in, it becomes more of a linear operation, meaning that items can be kitted more quickly. If you handle your own order fulfillment, this will save you time. If you outsource fulfillment, this will save you money because your pick/pack costs will be less, as each kit will be counted as one SKU, as opposed to paying for pick/pack of each individual item.
Fewer Shipping Mistakes
When items are shipped in kit form, it reduces the chance for error with order fulfillment. It also allows you or your fulfillment house to pre-print shipping labels, eliminating the need for weighing and labeling of individual items.
Kitting can also lead to postal savings with more efficient and cost-effective packaging. For example, rather than packing individual items into a standard-sized box, developing a custom box for popular kits can reduce the size and/or weight of your packages.
Options for Kitting
As an online seller, you may have more than one option when it comes to kitting. Ocassionally it is possible for sellers to work directly with their manufacturers to kit products. This may involve light assembly of parts or components into defined units, or it may involve placing two or more finished products into a grouped single item for inventory, prior to those items being shipped to you or your fulfillment company.
Depending on the products you sell and the number of manufacturers you use, assembling kits at the manufacturing stage is not always an option, and kitting often has to be done after you or your fulfillment house have received the individual items from suppliers.
It is a good idea to talk with your manufacturers and your fulfillment company about your order history and any new or promotional products you plan to offer. You may find that kitting is a great option for you!