Dotcom Distribution provides kitting, production, and light assembly work for multichannel retail and eCommerce brands. About fifty-thousand sq ft of the 400 thousand total square feet in our facility is devoted to production. Today, let’s follow a product through how the kitting and assembly process works here at Dotcom Distribution.
The first thing that happens in the eCommerce kitting and assembly process is the creation and quoting of a scope of work. Details of the product and the job come from the brand. It’s often their marketing department that’s promoting some sort of initiative for a product launch, or a production combination that drives a kitting request, so we’re essentially starting from the finished product and working backwards. Most of the time, the brand will discuss a possible job with their dedicated program manager during a weekly check-in call or a monthly planning meeting.
After the scope of work has been discussed, a sample of the kit, or a mock up of the finished good is shared with us. We’ll often get to look at the sample packaging materials (side note: some brands can be very protective of these items because in many cases, the samples are the only versions of the packing materials that exist until an order is placed for the actual packaging). When we get some sort of packaging, we can bring in an industrial engineer for a time study.
The Industrial Engineer looks at at all of items in the kit and follows all of the the steps necessary to complete the request and determines how long each step will take. The Engineer takes into account the size of the job, its complexity, and determines all of the steps necessary to complete one finished item. That way they can figure out the time needed to produce the total quantity of the finished goods, whether it’s 500, or 500,000, or any other number.
Another important function of the Industrial Engineer also takes into account how to keep the line moving at pinch points – those steps in the process that take the longest. So everything from sticking a glue dot in a specific place in the package, tying a bow around items, folding tissue paper in a certain way, gets taken into account.
This phase of the process is all about the planning. Planning and assigning MORE time and more people to the part of the line that has the most time consuming task. This is done in order to keep the overall assembly line moving.
At this point, the job can be quoted.
A work order, or a mini-instruction manual describing and governing the work, is created. It’s the bible that the production area supervisor uses to complete the job. The work order informs the team how conveyor belts have to be laid out, whether to bring down power, or if a box taping machine has to be configured. Basically everything that needs to happen to maintain a safe working environment AND a productive working environment. Then product has to be received. So there are lot of parts that have to be staged for a kitting or a production job to begin.
By now, you’re probably wondering what types of products get kitted, or what types of kitting jobs we’re used to seeing. The job might be kitting goods for eventual sale through a retailer, or through a sales channel like QVC/HSN. Or the finished goods might be checked back into inventory for eventual sale on a pick-pack, eCommerce order. We’ve done all kinds of jobs. We’ve re-labeled and retagged clothing items. We’ve created unique kits that are sold only on QVC/HSN. We’ve done the kitting of cosmetics samples for a new product launch. We’ve done genetic testing kits where each testing kit has its own serial number – it really all depends on the needs of the brand. However wild the client’s imagination is, we’re here to support them and their kitting needs.
Interested in custom kitting or packaging for your brand’s products? Dotcom Distribution can help you with a custom kitting and assembly process tailored to the success of your eCommerce business.