Outsourcing fulfillment needs is common practice in today’s business world, especially for smaller companies. Partnering with a reputable fulfillment facility is an effective strategy to save time and money, and allows you to focus fully building your business. To that end, it is important to understand how fulfillment centers operate as well as their potential role in your company’s day-to-day operations.
Today’s world of e-commerce is intensely competitive and that means companies must be fully aware of every available advantage. Simply defined, fulfillment services are the link between your company’s product and the customer. A reliable fulfillment facility moves your product to a customer’s doorstep; however, snags in the process can result in unhappy customers and lost business. Whether a problem arises with well intentioned but poorly executed in-house practices or failed outsourcers; it is critical to closely review a service before establishing a partnership.
What to consider when choosing a fulfillment service
Stark reality is that choosing an incompatible order fulfillment service can destroy your business profits in a hot minute. Lost packages, time delays, shipping issues or damaged goods take their toll a company’s potential. Here’s how the process is supposed to work:
If you purchase an item from a website, the physical product is located somewhere. Not uncommonly, young companies tend to store inventory in their own facilities (like the garage, basement, or spare bedroom). But with growth comes the need for more space and a state-of-the-art distribution center with an expert crew is the ideal solution.
A facility staffed with a team of experts that can easily and quickly turn around an order which in turn helps your company operate at a high level. The front-line staff and key managers work together to respond to customers’ inquiries as well as your own so everyone is the same page.
Incoming order processing
A professional and skilled order fulfillment operation will operate with the latest technology to aid in receiving new orders and tracking orders throughout the entire process. To that end, it is important to partner with a facility able to receive orders through a variety of channels such as phone, email, web, and more.
The art of inventory management
At first glance, managing inventory might not seem like a complicated ordeal but one small hiccup in the works can cause a customer service catastrophe. If you can’t efficiently locate a product for shipment, you can count lost business. A pro fulfillment center should also be able to effectively manage inventory and you want to partner with a team that will grow with your company.
A quality fulfillment facility always has a strategic floor plan that stocks inventory in the most efficient locations. The facility is also accessible to shipment methods (truck, train) and has access to various outbound shipping options.
A lot goes in to considering a fulfillment company for e-commerce order fulfillment. Look at each step of the fulfillment process before making a decision; even one weak link can derail the entire procedure.