Kitting and Assembly Explained

The kitting and assembly process is just one small piece of the much larger ecommerce fulfillment strategy. While it is true that it is a niche part of fulfillment, it plays an important role in ensuring your customer receives their order quickly and efficiently.

If your business requires kitting and assembly services, it is important to know how to best optimize the process to get the most out of your time and money. At 3PL Center, we prioritize efficient kitting in order to best serve our customers. To help you understand our methods and reasoning, this guide will cover definitions, tips, examples, and solutions for the process.

Table of Contents

What is kitting and assembly?
Kitting and assembly examples
Why is kitting important?
Common kitting and assembly misconceptions
Difficulties of in-house kitting and assembly
Benefits of outsourcing
The kitting and assembly process
How do 3PL Center optimize kitting and assembly?
Kitting costs and prices
Why choose 3PL Center for kitting and assembly services?
Kitting and assembly FAQs

What is kitting and assembly?

While kitting and assembly are usually used in conjunction, they are two slightly different procedures that make up the joint process.

Kitting is the process of combining two or more products together and packaging them to create a new SKU ready for shipment. Typically, this will be done before the order comes in, so that the new grouped package is immediately available.

Assembly is the physical process of putting these items together. Typically, this takes place on an assembly line, containing experienced workers and machinery.

This process is also commonly referred to as ‘bundling’. 

Unlike picking and packing, not every product needs to go through the kitting and assembly process. It only applies to specific orders that require a combination of products packaged together.

Kitting and assembly examples

Here are some common examples of packages that require kitting and assembly:

  • Subscription boxes – Subscription boxes are an incredibly popular way for businesses to sell larger quantities of product, often bundling them together at a cheaper rate to entice buyers. This is the most common form of product to undergo kitting and assembly.
  • Electronics – Mobile phones and other electronic gadgets often come with other necessary products in their packaging, including chargers, headphones, and SIM cards.
  • Variety packs – The food and drink industry benefits from selling products bundled together with different flavors, requiring a systematic and tailored approach.
  • Cosmetics – Makeup, face cream, and other toiletries are often packaged together to give the customer a feel for multiple products across the brand.

Even if products arrive at the warehouse in a package, they may still need to be taken apart in order to fulfill new kits or bundles that your business sells.

Why is kitting important?

Kitting and assembly is an important part of inventory management as it removes any complexity when merging products together under a unified SKU. Not having a proper kitting strategy in place can lead to a logistical nightmare, as you will be taking products from different SKUs and constantly combining them together when orders come through. 

Never overlook the importance of optimizing a service that you will need to do hundreds, if not thousands, of times. An efficient kitting and assembly strategy takes this into account, finding small ways to save time throughout the process.

An important detail to remember…

One important detail for kitting is for when you are selling across various platforms like Amazon, Shopify, or Overstock. For example, you may have one SKU (i.e. shampoo you are selling as a single unit) that is also a part of a kit or another SKU (i.e. a bundle of shampoo and conditioner).

To logistically manage this, you must have the proper ERP or OMS system to properly track your physical inventory and not oversell on any platforms. This can cause orders to be cancelled, delayed or ruin your metrics on the selling platform.

Two common kitting and assembly misconceptions

Working with a variety of businesses and industries with our kitting and assembly services has given us much insight into common misconceptions and misunderstandings. Here are two of the biggest contenders we see on a regular basis:

Misconception 1: Kitting is a one-size-fits-all solution

Kitting and assembly requires a specialist approach for every single product as no kit or bundle is ever the same. Just because two kits are similar in what they contain does not mean we will kit the same way. This depends massively on packaging, and the size of the products within. 

When we begin working with a new business, we run a number of test runs to tailor our strategy to the needs of the kit or bundle.

Misconception 2: Kitting and assembly is a simple task

While it may sound simple to do, kitting and assembly is a complex task to master. As we may make thousands of tailored kits for a business, finding ways to optimize the manufacturing time of each kit will save massive amounts of time and money in the long run. On top of this, the task requires excellent attention to detail and instructions, as failing to meet the necessary criteria will have an impact on storage, shipping, and customer expectations.

The difficulties of in-house kitting and assembly

On the outside, in-house kitting fulfillment may appear simple. As all your product is together and in one place, you can choose where and when to make kits and bundles.

While this may work for smaller businesses, those that are growing will soon see the issues in fulfilling these services on their own. Some of the biggest difficulties for in-house kitting and assembly include:

Managing inventory

The biggest challenge for any business fulfilling their own kitting and assembly is having to hold all the inventory. You will need to buy enough inventory to manage your predicted orders and physically have space to hold it. Many do not consider the extra implications this has, such as rental costs for hiring space, or paying for repairs for spaces you own purely to hold product.

Time is money

Kitting is an incredibly time-consuming process that is best left to the experts who do it day-in, day-out. Trying to fulfill your own kitting needs may work when you are smaller, but as your business grows and priorities shift, it will take up a big chunk of your time. The time you spend fulfilling your own orders or paying workers to do so is better spent towards someone who knows how to optimize the process.

Distractions and neglect

Having to manage kitting and assembly, alongside other areas of fulfillment like picking and packing, requires constant attention. This may lead you to neglect other important areas of the business, like development and marketing, just because fulfillment needs so much care.

Lack of experience

Many businesses simply do not have the knowledge or experience to set up efficient assembly lines. While you may know your product and industry well, fulfillment is a full-time job that requires a watchful eye. Without assembly line experience, you will likely encounter many of the same bottlenecks that many others in your industry run into.

Benefits of outsourcing kitting and assembly services

Instead of tackling it on their own, many businesses choose to outsource their kitting and assembly needs to a third party. Enlisting the help of a fulfillment partner, such as 3PL Center, can be incredibly beneficial for the following reasons:

  • Saving time and energy – smaller businesses are typically strapped for time as they focus on other areas of their company. By outsourcing to a fulfillment company that specializes in kitting and assembly, you effectively increase your own productivity as you no longer have to worry about fulfilling it yourself.
  • Improved efficiency – fulfillment partners like 3PL Center have plenty of experience working with companies with their kitting and assembly service. As their workers know how to efficiently build kits, meaning they can get many more packages put together than your standard in-house kitting team.
  • Fewer errors – as items are specifically packaged into kits before orders come through, this reduces the likelihood of incorrect items being shipped. Kitting teams will systematically vet each bundle before approving it for shipping, resulting in less error.
  • Increased inventory control – by bundling items together into a single kit under a new SKU, fulfillment partners streamline your inventory to ensure a steady flow of product leaves the warehouse. If you find that one product is not performing too well, you can bundle this with other products under a new SKU to increase sales.

The kitting and assembly process

The way in which kitting and assembly works depends entirely on a number of factors, including your:

  • business and industry;
  • product; and, 
  • level of desired customization.

Every kitting and assembly solution requires a unique approach, meaning we tailor our process depending on your needs. Here is how the average kitting process works for our clients:

1. Initial consultation

We will first speak with you about how best to service you and your products. This includes discussing what products require kitting and assembly, the volume of kits you expect to sell, and your future plans on scalability.

This is a good time to tell us any extra requirements for packaging, specifically dimensions, weights, and customization. We need to know as early as possible the exact packaging you require, as this will affect the assembly line and how we employ optimization tactics.

2. Send your products to our warehouse

Any products that require kitting and assembly should be sent to one of our warehouses so that they can undergo onboarding. Once our team received your product into storage, they will then await the next step.

3. Assembling the kits

Once you have confirmed that the kits are on sale, we then start to pre-emptively bundle items together through our production line. Depending on the level of complexity, this line can range from three workers to using fully automated machines to speed up the process.

We consider any opportunity to save time with the production line. Any seconds saved will add up in the long run, especially when we are regularly kitting thousands of products together for many businesses.

4. Readying the kits for shipping

Now that the kit is complete, it is either readied for shipment or placed back into storage. Bundles that are placed in storage are then ready for future orders, thus saving time when customers complete a purchase.

How do 3PL Center optimize kitting and assembly?

In order to save time and costs for our clients, we implement several efficient strategies to our kitting and assembly. Here are some of our biggest optimizations that we use throughout the process:

Thorough preparation

Before even starting an assembly line for a client, we conduct preliminary tests to ensure the line works in practice. This may take a few drills to get right, but it is an important step nonetheless.

Even if a client and their product are similar to a different business we work with, our preparation is the same. Every kit requires a unique approach, so we ensure that we optimize this before the physical assembly begins.

Belts and rollers

Going through thousands of kits is a lengthy process, especially if workers physically had to move them after each stage. We combat this through the use of high-performance belt conveyor systems, meaning our kitting team can effortlessly transition kits between stages, thus saving energy and increasing the number of kits made per hour.

Automated box sealers

Every kit’s packaging needs sealing to keep the product within safe and secure. We employ the use of automatic box sealers that accurately place tape on every box, thus lessening the need for one more worker to do the job. This avoids potential human error and inaccuracy, while also saving money on man hours.

Expert kitting staff

Our kitting and assembly services are supported by staff that have worked with various kits and bundles. Whatever your request, we are well-versed in building out an optimized solution. Having such an experienced team allows us to build kits at a higher volume per hour, increasing output and lowering costs for you.

Kitting costs and prices

When considering the costs of kitting and assembly, it is important to consider the following factors:

  • Packaging – the higher the level of customization in materials, the higher the costs
  • Labels – all orders require shipping labels so that carriers know what they contain and where they are going to
  • Labor – our kitting team records their workload on our integrated system, allowing you to track who has been working on your orders and for how long
  • Fulfillment – paying for the expertise and knowledge of our experienced fulfillment team

If you would like to get a quote please reach out to us via email at Please give us a detailed video of the current process or pictures and full step process and we will reach out and discuss with you further.

Why choose 3PL Center for kitting and assembly services?

For a streamlined kitting and assembly service that can fulfill your ecommerce business needs, 3PL Center is the perfect solution.

We have worked with hundreds of different companies, all with varying degrees of products and sizes, allowing us to provide your business with a truly optimized service. Partnering with us not only grants you access to this, but to our entire ecommerce fulfillment package.

At the heart of 3PL Center is a drive to fulfill the needs of the customer: both for you and the buyer of your products. By providing a seamless experience, we guarantee that we will exceed your expectations and deliver an unforgettable service for all.

We pride ourselves on our excellent fulfillment service, guaranteeing an impressive 99% shipping accuracy. If something does go wrong, our expert customer service team is on hand to help, meaning you are never left in the dark or out of the loop.

We can also help with sourcing custom box sizes, custom logos on boxes or mailers, packaging material, heat sealing product, labeling and ticketing for Retailers and blister packaging. 

Why wait? Contact us today and enlist 3PL Center as your expert kitting and assembly partner.


Kitting and assembly: frequently asked questions

What is the difference between kitting and fulfillment?

Kitting is the process of finding multiple items to be packaged together in a single kit. Fulfillment is the overarching operation of receiving, packaging, and shipping orders, meaning it manages and optimizes the whole process. 3PL Center is an example of a fulfillment provider, versed in managing all stages of fulfillment.

What is an assembly kit?

An assembly kit is a set of products or items that must be put together before going to the customer. Sometimes they can be heat sealed or simply boxed together.  Ecommerce businesses do this in an attempt to sell more products, and provide a better deal to the client while also selling more units. An example would be a mobile phone bundled together with a charger and headphones, or a shampoo bottle and conditioner bottle 

What are the advantages of kitting in manufacturing?

The biggest advantage of kitting is saving space. By condensing products into smaller packages to serve orders, it frees up space in the warehouse. It also makes the shipping process much easier as the kits or bundles are already prepared and ready for shipment.

What happens in a kitting area?

The kitting area, also known as the assembly line, is where the physical grouping of products together takes place. This typically involves a number of workers and conveyor belts in order to maximize efficiency and number of kits made per hour.