As a business owner who needs to get products and goods to customers, you will be interested in the fulfilment process and how to get this completed as efficiently as possible. What exactly is fulfilment? Do you know the different steps in the fulfilment process and how to best handle them to get the best value for your money?
What is Fulfilment?
Fulfilment is the process by which an item is found, packaged and sent to the recipient after an order has been placed. Fulfilment includes the warehousing needs for storing the items, the location and packing of the items, and the shipping to the required address. The actual fulfilment process sounds reasonably simple. But it is surprisingly common for a company to fall down in fulfilment and end up offering a substandard service to customers.
In-House or Outsourced?
There are two ways to deal with fulfilment. One is in-house and the other is outsourcing. If your business is small then you are likely to start by handling your own fulfilment process. Fulfilment company minimum orders will generally be too high for your turnover. But when your business begins to grow, you will begin to see how hard it is to keep up with efficient fulfilment. You may decide that it is more profitable to focus on different areas of the business like product development or marketing. In this case it is probably time to think about outsourcing your fulfilment needs.
What Services Do Fulfilment Companies Offer?
Every fulfilment company is different but most will offer a combination of the following services. These include warehousing, which is where your inventory is stored off your premises and picked and packed from this location. You will generally be able to monitor stock online through an online inventory, which will be updated by the fulfilment company as orders are processed. Order processing is another key service offered by fulfilment companies. This is where the orders which a customer places are automatically sent to the fulfilment company and this company handles the selection and packaging of the order as requested. Normally, packing and shipping is part of the same process with the larger fulfilment companies. Some companies will offer a return and exchange service, too, whereby they handle any orders that are returned by the customer, and are fed back into the inventory or examined further for any damage.
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