As a result of all the unpredictable market shifts and the fluctuating demand and supply, many businesses, especially retail businesses and original equipment manufacturers (OEM) have sought new ways to optimize their operations, increase production efficiency, lower costs, and eliminate material waste. Outsourcing order fulfillment services through a 3PL is one of the most popular and efficient solutions. Companies can focus more on their business operations and sales growth by employing a 3PL provider to prepare and ship products to customers. Most retailers and OEMs outsource kitting and/or assembly. They are two distinct services that, in most cases, work together in the order fulfillment process.
Overview of the Assembly Process and How Kitting Fits in
While the notions of assembly and kitting appear to be similar in that they both refer to the process of putting together components, they are not the same. The process of merging two or more discrete components to create a single end-use object that may subsequently be shipped is known as an assembly. Typically, this would involve a group of individuals on the assembly line who each perform a single task. The product is then passed down the line to the next worker, and so on until it reaches the end of the process. Meanwhile, kitting process is grouping and packaging two or more similar items into a single ready-to-ship kit with a single SKU to be sold as a single item.
In order fulfillment, many businesses, particularly OEMs, combine kitting and assembly. When there are ready-to-ship sets for when a consumer places an order, kitting is utilized to speed up the fulfillment process. Assembly lines, on the other hand, allow businesses to mass-produce products more rapidly and efficiently. As a result, the need for kitting, assembly, or both services is essentially determined by how a product is created or supplied.
Outsource Kitting vs. Assembly
In manufacturing, kitting and assembly can be overwhelming, requiring a significant amount of time and effort in both operation and management. Thus, outsourcing assembly and/or kitting services to a third-party supplier such as a 3PL frees up time for companies and employees to focus on their main business operations. To find the best fulfillment solution for your growing business, you will need to figure out if your products require kitting and/or assembly services. Let's look through the differences and similarities in kitting and assembly in greater depth.
During the production process, kitting and assembly combine many SKUs to create a new single SKU. Outsourced assembly and kitting solutions also provide organizations with advantages such as shorter lead times, cheaper overhead costs, and fewer fulfillment and shipping errors. Storage, delivery, production, packaging, and distribution are all procedures that are similar in kitting and assembly.
Unlike pre-assembled products, the parts and pieces found in a kit are often assembled by the end consumer. A kit is simply a collection of parts, whereas assembly is a production process. An assembly line also necessitates the use of manufacturing resources such as labor, equipment, and time. Because the parts have already been through the production process, kitting does not involve any manufacturing.
Assembly and kitting require specialized resources and experience for team training, manual labor, and product handling. Furthermore, controlling returns is a complex and involved procedure to design, and inventory storage can be costly. As a result, the cost of kitting and assembly services is significantly less than the cost of lost business as a result of poor order fulfillment, inefficient and ineffective operations, and ultimately dissatisfied customers. Because most 3PLs have the resources, experience, and volume capabilities to make growing and scaling your order fulfillment easier than managing it yourself, outsourcing your order fulfillment to a 3PL will allow you to focus on your core competencies, which include excellent products, profit growth, cost reduction, and production efficiency.
At NewStream Enterprises, LLC, we have the flexibility to provide you with the most efficient assembly lines and kitting service for your products, fulfilling your company’s needs and allowing for future expansion. Our assembly line production employs a competent assembly-line workforce, as well as error-proofing technologies and infrastructure, to efficiently piece together elements for a final product. After leaving the manufacturing line, products go through the kitting and packaging process, which involves custom labeling, barcoding, crating, relabeling, sorting, staging, and inspection of products for distribution.
Our assembly and kitting services have been fine-tuned for efficiency, and they will help you achieve your business goals. As a thought leader, we also provide you useful resources for your outsourcing kitting and assembly services, such as “The 10 Steps to a Successful Kitting and Packaging Request for Proposal Process.” Get a free quote from NewStream for assembly and kitting services today!