If you aren’t using product or material kitting in your business, it’s time to consider it. Kitting is the process of combining parts or products that would typically be handled separately into a single bundle. Kits are usually pre-assembled and ready to ship. Material kitting is an excellent way to improve your supply chain operations. And product kitting can increase sales and streamline eCommerce fulfillment.
Here’s everything you need to know to set up a kitting process for your eCommerce business.
Types of kitting
There are two different types of kits, each serving a separate link in the supply chain. Also, you have options about how to assemble your kits.
Material kitting is a manufacturing process. These kits assemble raw materials and components. These kits usually consist of parts that are needed for a specific point in the manufacturing process. For example, a chair manufacturing kit might contain the seat post and the necessary hardware to attach it to the seat.
Material kitting saves time, improves efficiency during assembly, and creates an extra layer of quality control that can reduce errors.
Product kitting can be part of manufacturing or order fulfillment. Kits are most often groups of items that are sold together under a single SKU. However, product kits are sometimes used only to aid in packing and shipping without creating a new SKU.
Examples of product kitting:
- Subscription box containing razor blades and shaving accessories
- Meal preparation product that includes the ingredients to make a recipe
- Multi-pack rather than a single product
- Art kit with paints, brushes, watercolor paper, and instruction booklet
- Product shipped with accessories, such as a bicycle shipped with a helmet and bell
- Sets of items that commonly sell together, grouped for easy picking and packing
You can pre-kit items at the end of the manufacturing process and ship them to your 3PL as sets. Or you can have kits pre-packed at the warehouse if your fulfillment company offers kitting services.
The advantage of pre-kitting is that the kitted items are ready to ship. Pre-kitting solves packing challenges by creating a process to pack items and implementing it ahead of time safely. The picker picks a single kit rather than multiple items, and the packer doesn’t have to come up with a packaging strategy on the fly.
Just-in-time (JIT) kitting is often part of agile eCommerce management. JIT kits will be assembled at the warehouse, as needed, at the point of use. The benefit of JIT kitting is more flexibility to meet demand while keeping inventory lean. You have the flexibility to sell and ship individual items under their original SKUs or combine them into kits. Some 3PLs can also provide un-kitting services to break down kits to fill orders for particular items.
At Red Stag Fulfillment, we help our clients develop kitting strategies. We offer pre-kitting and just-in-time kitting services. We have found that kitting is an excellent strategy for improving logistics. In addition, kitting helps our clients save money through package consolidation.
Advantages of material kitting
Manufacturers use material kitting to improve the production process. Here are just a few of the benefits of this practice.
Reduce errors in manufacturing and assembly
Assembly lines are built to move quickly. Reducing the number of decisions that line workers need to make improves accuracy. Material kitting is completed by a different worker, focusing on assembling each kit with the right components. When the kit gets to the line, the person doing the assembly simply opens the kit and has all the parts needed to do the task.
Increase speed of the assembly process
Material kitting reduces the chance of a line worker picking up the wrong part, and it also increases efficiency. The assembly worker makes a single movement to pick up multiple pieces, so it takes less labor to assemble each item. The kit has all the necessary components, so the line doesn’t stop when someone runs out of an essential material or part.
Streamline your supply chain
Material kitting streamlines the manufacturing element of your supply chain. Kitted parts require less warehouse space than individual items, so you save on warehousing. Material kitting basically breaks down assembly into two parts: gathering the components and assembling the parts. Each part of the assembly process is completed under ideal conditions. You gain speed and efficiency with material kitting.
Benefits of the product kitting process
Product kits are a popular and successful way to enhance your marketing and eCommerce shipping. Here are just a few of the many advantages of product kitting.
Create additional SKUs to sell
In eCommerce, more SKUs are better than fewer. Every kit that you add to your online shop increases your visibility. Every new SKU is one more opportunity for your products to come up in searches.
Plus, customers love kits. Consumers like to buy products they regularly use in quantity, especially if they get a discount. Getting the accessories you need to go with a purchase in one click is an online shopping win. Additionally, customers who are buying gifts appreciate having items that complement each other grouped; that makes gift-buying easier.
Save time during order fulfillment
At Red Stag Fulfillment, we have seen firsthand how kitting improves order processing. Kitting makes picking faster and more efficient. And it allows us to think through packaging options with our clients to make sure grouped items can be safely shipped together.
Improve packing and shipping processes
Because kitting facilitates package consolidation, it can often save you money on shipping. When you consolidate smaller items into an oversized package that’s shipping under the dimensional weight, you may be able to add those items for no additional shipping cost. Reducing shipping costs can help you offer free shipping, which is proven to increase sales.
How will you use kitting to improve your eCommerce business?
Now the only question is whether product or material kitting can benefit your eCommerce business. Here are some questions to ask yourself to determine if kitting is right for you:
- Do your customers often purchase the same items together? If so, kitting those items can improve their shopping experience, boost your sales, and streamline your fulfillment. And your customer will thank you.
- Would consumers like to buy your product in multiples? You can save on packaging costs for individual items by creating product bundles. Plus, it’s easier and cheaper to pick and pack a boxed set of five than to pull five individual items and ship them.
- Do you ship items separately that could be shipped together? At Red Stag Fulfillment, we have seen clients ship multiple items from the same order in separate packages. ECommerce companies often ship products separately when they are concerned about breakage or because the size or shape of the items makes them difficult to pack together. Kitting can solve these problems. With creative packaging solutions and thinking outside the box on package consolidation, you can often save money on shipping and packaging through kitting.
At Red Stag Fulfillment, we love to solve tough problems. Go ahead and hit us up with your kitting questions.
More resources for improving your eCommerce fulfillment processes:
- Kitting for Fun and Profit
- Package Consolidation: What It Is and How It Saves You Money
- Supply Chain Management: Your Complete Guide