Image by Danny.C.Jackson via Flickr
No matter what products a business sells, or whether the business sells items online or in a brick and mortar shop all small businesses experience largely similar growing pains as they make the transition from a small business to a medium or large sized business.
Business owners accustomed to managing relatively small logistics demand, for example, packing and shipping products within their home, or a small retail display space, will discover that larger fulfillment needs require not just a higher level of resources but also a greater amount of expertise.
Faced with the challenge of increased storage and shipping needs many business owners choose to outsource the entirety of their order fulfillment to a fulfillment services provider. By consigning their warehousing, shipment processing, shipment preparation responsibilities to experts specifically trained in those areas, the small business owners manage to simultaneously trim operating costs while increasing their profit margin and opening the door to rapid business expansion.
Fulfillment service providers work on a percentage of each product they administrate on behalf of their client business. Typically, this percentage is a set amount agreed upon in the initial, legally binding outsourcing agreement between itself and the client business. In many cases, the percentage may fluctuate according to a number of considerations, including the amount of inventory and orders fulfilled and the relative time a client business has employed their services.
For the percentage, however, the client business gets a lot of services. Their inventory is stored in a climate controlled and electronically secure facility, where staff workers use state of the art inventory management techniques to ensure every piece of inventory is kept in pristine condition. When it’s time to fulfill an order, trained staff workers quickly and efficiently prepare the package for shipping, treating it delicately but wrapping it securely for shipment. As an added amenity, the package is labeled with the client business’ address and company logo, so that the customer is aware upon arrival that their package has arrived.
Some fulfillment service companies also include additional services that may be available for an additional cost. These include direct mail marketing management and customer service staffing solutions. The direct mail marketing management helps the client business prepare and execute mass mailings of catalogues, brochures, and other printed information directly to their customer base. The customer service staffing can field customer questions and resolve issues on behalf of the client business.