The Core Elements of Fulfillment Services
When it comes to high-quality fulfillment services you can’t go wrong if you hire a company that offers all of the components that it takes to keep your business running smoothly and rake in the cash like it is supposed to do. However, if you hire a company that does not offer all of the bells and whistles of the modern-day fulfillment needs, you may be selling yourself short – even if they charge less.
Some of the most successful businesses in the world hire a third party to take care of their fulfillment needs. Outsourcing services can:
- Save money
- Save resources
- Boost business
- Save time
When you hire another company that specializes in the needs that you have it gives you more freedom to do what you know how to do and let professionals do what you need to have done.
What are Fulfillment Services?
Fulfillment services are what a company needs when they have online or phone orders that need to be mailed out or delivered to customers. For example, if you are a store that offers online sales and delivery, you might hire a fulfillment service to fill the order, package it up, then deliver it to the customer within a certain amount of time.
Many online businesses such as Amazon or Urban Outfitters that have millions of orders a day can be overwhelmed with the number of orders that they get. Amazon has its own fulfillment teams and stations because they are equipped to do so and can afford it. Other companies that may get inundated with orders can be so small that they operate out of a home or tiny office area.
Fulfillment service providers can provide businesses:
- An entire fulfillment team
- Customer service
- Warehouse and shelf storage
- Tools and other equipment
- 24-hour service
The way that it works is that the company that hires the fulfillment provider works directly with the management of the provider, but allows that management to manage their own employees.
A high-quality fulfillment service provider will act as an extension of the business as their team becomes the team of the company they are serving.
What is the use in going into business if you don’t plan to be an epic success? Think big or go home, right? When an online business starts to gain steam in the eCommerce world, they may need to upgrade the way that they facilitate their merchandise.
A full-service fulfillment agency can provide an entire warehouse that is equipped with all of the tools and mechanisms that allow a business to move much merchandise at a very fast pace. For example, when a company sells things like boating equipment, car parts, or both…they can have all of the space they need when it comes to storage and movement of the merchandise.
Shipping and receiving can be done from the same place and with the help of an entire warehouse team. No matter how big, or how much your merchandise is, there is a solution for it, and in most cases, a big warehouse will do the trick.
Even if the company has no need for a full warehouse, they can always be designated a space or an amount of space of a warehouse that houses merchandise for other companies as well.
The key element of a fulfillment service provider is the ability to fulfill orders as they come in, or as they are stipulated in the agreement. Whatever way the company needs its orders fulfilled, a service provider will handle it correctly, as long as it is all understood before the service starts.
The way that this works is that the company that hires the service provider will have its own setup of how orders are made. They can be over the phone, online, through the mail, or whatever the setup is. The most common way today, however, is online sales.
We will use an online store as an example. When a customer browses the internet and falls upon the website that offers what they are looking for they are prone to make a purchase. When they do make that purchase, they will go through a series of motions that lead them from the product that they want, to the options of the product, to the checkout and the mailing options, then, finally to the payment step.
Once the order is placed and the payment has been made the company that handles the fulfillment services will have an employee awaiting orders that gets a notification that the order has been made.
The notification will include pertinent information regarding the order such as what the item or items were, the price, the delivery option, and so on.
Depending on the way that the business wants to handle deliveries and any timeframes will be discussed at the beginning of the service contract, but in this case, we will assume that the order is high-priority and has to be shipped out immediately.
Once the worker sees that the item is important and that it needs to be delivered right away they will take the steps necessary to locate the item on the shelf, pack it up, label it then either call a delivery company such as FedEx or get a courier to deliver it as soon as possible.
The fulfillment agent will:
- Receive the order
- Locate the item or items to be shipped
- Package the items
- Send off through courier
Along the way of the transaction, the agent will also be available for any questions or concerns that the customer may have regarding the order.
Some orders such as medications and healthcare equipment will be priority orders, while others may not need such a rush. In any event, the fulfillment service agency will be equipped to handle any order in the way that is supposed to be fulfilled.
If the company is one of those establishments that has one thing that millions of people want…all at once it can be a little tricky to keep up with the orders and the restocking of the product.
Smart merchandise management will consist of a person looking out for items that are beginning to run low and ordering them as soon as possible. The last thing a company wants to do is run out of stuff that is selling wildly.
There has to be a good balance between restocking for fast sales and restocking for other reasons. Yes, you always want to make sure that you have popular items available, but you don’t want to overdo orders and end up with way more merchandise than you will sell.
Managing the merchandise can be done with a combination of smart software and skilled workers that take the time to watch the numbers of the items and replenish the ones that need to be when they need it.
The core elements of high-quality fulfillment services can shift and change to fit whatever the company needs them to be. The greatest element of a fulfillment service provider is to be flexible in a way that invites all businesses to get the most out of their services and never skip a beat when it comes to fulfilling orders and making the customers happy.