What Is Kitting?
If you’ve spent any time researching 3PL (third party logistics) for your business, then you’ve probably come across the term ‘kitting.’ In today’s post, our order fulfillment experts at Harp360 are going over everything you need to know about kitting as part of a distribution service — including how it can save you tons of time and money in the long run.
Read on to learn more, and if you’re interested in warehouse management and kitting services in Atlanta, then contact us today!
What Is Kitting?
Simply put, “kitting” describes the process of pre-assembling separate-but-related items into ready-to-ship kits that can then go directly to the customer — or in some cases, to the final manufacturer.
Common types of products that benefit from kitting include:
- Goods that are sold both by-the-piece and as part of a set, such as luggage sets or makeup kits
- Subscription box products that combine several different items into one box
- Products that are custom-assembled per-order, such as laptops with different options for memory and graphics cards
By combining these kinds of items into one unit to ship, you can save big on time, money, and packaging supplies.
The Benefits of Kitting
Lower Packaging and Shipping Costs
Since kitting combines multiple products (or components of products) into one unit, you’ll use less packaging overall and require less shipping space (and thus fewer shipping trips) to deliver them. This is simple math — it translates to big savings on packaging and shipping costs in the long run.
More Flexibility With Existing Inventory
For e-commerce sellers, kitting can be an extremely useful merchandising tool since it gives you greater flexibility in marketing your existing stock. For example, you can easily bundle items that are normally sold by-the-piece to create new product sets to include in your online store. This will allow you to create more diverse merchandising options including special deals and discounted sets, cross-promotions, and more.
As an example, if you sell dishware online, you can sell individual plates on their own and also create special bundles that offer attractive discounts for purchasing a set of eight. This is a win-win for you and your customers! They’ll see a great deal and be more likely to buy the larger set, and you’ll get more high-value sales and be able to move your inventory that much faster.
Not to mention, by adding product bundles to your store, you’ll have more unique products to market and more opportunities to add content that can be optimized to catch the attention of search engines like Google. The more visible you are in search engine results, the more potential customers you can reach, and the more sales you’ll get!
The best part? You don’t need to add inventory or storage costs to extend your product collection through kitting. You can work with what you’ve already got.
Manage Volume Surges With Ease
Having pre-assembled kits ready to ship makes it far easier to accommodate sudden spikes in demand or manage monthly volume surges. For example, many subscription boxes ship at the same time every month. By pre-assembling 90% of the base kit with kitting services through a 3PL warehouse, when the orders hit all at once, you’ll be ready to ship!
Higher Customer Satisfaction
There are few phrases more universally beloved than “no assembly required.” Kitting allows you to pre-assemble separate components of a product so that the customer doesn’t have to! They’ll appreciate the convenience and be able to avoid frustrating assembly snafus, resulting in higher customer satisfaction and more repeat orders for you.
The Alternative: Pick-and-Pack
Another type of warehousing and distribution method is picking and packing, which is just what it sounds like. Instead of preparing pre-assembled kits or pallets of goods, as orders come in, workers pull (pick) individual items from the warehouse and pack them into individual boxes to ship. Although this method can be efficient, it only runs smoothly with a very high level of coordination, organization, and attention to detail.
Generally speaking, most sellers and manufacturers will benefit by taking advantage of the kitting method of distribution.
Kitting In-House vs With a 3PL
You’re probably thinking by now that there’s no reason not to get into kitting products. However, you may not have the time or manpower to assemble kitted products yourself, especially if you run a small- or medium-sized business. Here’s what we mean:
Imagine that you are a manufacturer and need to assemble 300 units a day to ship, but you only have six associates to perform this task. That means that each worker must be responsible for finding, compiling, preparing, and packaging 50 units in addition to their other daily tasks and responsibilities. For most companies, in-house kitting is prohibitively expensive in terms of time and manpower.
Fortunately, by partnering with a 3PL company like Harp360, kitting services are available to you at an affordable rate!
The Kitting Process, Start to Finish
So, what does kitting look like in action? Let’s follow an assembled package from order to delivery, assuming that you have partnered with a 3PL.
- Storage: Before orders are processed, the different products or parts must be stored. You can work with a warehouse logistics company like Harp360 to store your inventory.
- Kitting: 3PL workers assemble related items into ready-to-ship kits. These can be designed to go straight to the consumer (ex: luggage sets, makeup kits, or subscription boxes), or to a final manufacturer who puts separate components together into a usable product (ex: laptops with custom modifications).
- Delivery: The kits are then sent to the customer or manufacturer. The latter is known as “just in time (JIT) delivery;” since the manufacturer receives parts per-order, as they are ordered, and there are two additional steps:
- Production: The final manufacturer puts the product together using the pre-assembled supply kits
- Packaging & Distribution: the final product reaches its final destination!
Get Kitting Services With Harp360 in Atlanta
If you’re ready to take advantage of kitting services for your Atlanta business, then give us a call at Harp360! We are an inventory management and fulfillment center that prides itself on “thinking inside the box,” and we’ll make sure that your orders get to where they need to go. Say goodbye to 3PLs that are unreliable or difficult to work with — we strive to provide a personal touch and take the headache away.
Help your small business grow by partnering with a logistics company you can trust for order fulfillment services. Contact Harp360 today to see what we can do for you!