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In order to stay competitive in today’s high speed marketplace, a business needs to have a strong online presence. This is going to mean building up a web portal to provide cyber shoppers with the ease of ordering any item from their merchandise line over the internet.
Adding fulfillment services can prove to be a costly affair for a company; especially one who might just be offering a limited amount of product. That’s why contracting out to an independent fulfillment center can be a great benefit to a business. As the fulfillment center handles all the pick and pack, the business is free to concentrate on marketing and expansion.
The bottom line is that a business trusts a fulfillment facility with their product. When a customer places an on-line order with Marie’s Candies or Joe’s Shoes they don’t consider that their order is being processed by an outside agency. They are counting on “Marie” or “Joe” to deliver the goods.
The first duty of the fulfillment center is to make sure they have plenty of inventory on hand to complete an order in the predetermined amount of time. This translates into setting up a constant flow of information between the pick and pack line down on the warehouse floor with the supervisors and back to the parent company. Depending on the requirements, these inventory numbers can be provided weekly, daily or even hourly. If an item is out of stock, it should be reflected at the website store and not after the order has been place.
The inventory kept at a fulfillment center also needs to be stored properly. This is especially important for perishable items. Part of an effective pick and pack line is making sure the staff can gain easy access to the inventory. This will require a constantly adaptive warehouse environment as more and more items could be added to a company’s roster. The pick and pack line needs to be equally adaptive to the changing geography of a warehouse. There shouldn’t have to be new training every time an item is added to the shelves.
Moving an order down the pick and pack lines also means being adaptive to the size and variation of items that can go into a single shipment. Some fulfillment centers boast of packing 1 to 5,000 items in a single shipment. That might be a stretch but it’s safe to say that customers ordering on-line typically purchase more then one item at a time. This means that the pick and pack workers have to be well versed in multi-tasking between order processing several orders at once, coordinating shipping labels and scanning inventory stock numbers.
When you factor in all the responsibility that a fulfillment center incurs, it’s not wonder businesses call upon them to help keep them competitive. If the stress of fulfillment is delegated to the professionals, then a business is free to create new product which in turn creates more business for fulfillment. That’s a win/win all around!