Probably no one’s idea of a good time involves warehousing, shipping, and distributing products – especially for someone else’s business. Though it’s true the field of logistics and fulfillment management can be very rewarding, in that the details and processes can lead to a deep sense of satisfaction, the actual mailing and shipping of packages isn’t especially entertaining? Which of us actually enjoys going to the post office?
Yet, despite, and nevertheless, the field of logistics – not quite a science, not quite an art – remains invaluable for the ecommerce business and for the online entrepreneur. Third party logistics providers, alternately called fulfillment companies and fulfillment services, provide an indispensible service to dozens of online businesses, streamlining operations and making their mail order fulfillment run many times smoother than the businesses could manage themselves.
The Logistics Process: A Walk Through
Fulfillment service companies accept inventory directly from the manufacturer or the wholesaler, eliminating the need for rerouting towards your own storage or warehouse fulfillment facilities. Once having accepted the inventory shipment, the goods and products are then stored in the fulfillment company’s climate control warehousing, and carefully monitored against theft, fire, and even adverse humidity and heat and cold. Many fulfillment companies include cold storage resources among their warehouse grounds, allowing fragile and perishable inventory to receive the same level of storage care.
Before and During The Sale
Once a given product is ordered, the fulfillment company’s staff prepares it for shipment, including preparing safe and durable packaging and labeling. Many fulfillment companies offer drop shipping, which includes the client company’s logo and business address on the packaging, effectively making the fulfillment company invisible within the business transaction.
After The Shipment
The fulfillment company can even offer tracking information to the customer, allowing them to monitor the package’s path through the delivery provider’s systems. Some fulfillment companies offer customer service staffing, so that the client company can refer all customer complaints and questions to the customer service staff, who are familiarized in advance with the client company’s policies.
Finding the Right Fulfillment Company For Your Business
As with any major business decision, the selection of your fulfillment company requires research, diligence, and serious consideration. It’s also wise to ask for referrals, for verifiable customer testimonials, and for a thorough explanation of the fulfillment service agreement before committing to a fulfillment company relationship. You owe it to your business to give it every opportunity possible.