One of the hot buzzwords in business right now is “fulfillment,” and it seems to have about twenty different uses and almost as many connotations. And like any hot button word, it gets misused a lot, too.
What Fulfillment Means
The term in its most accurate sense refers to the series of processes by which a product or goods reaches the customer. In its broadest sense, this series of processes stretches from the manufacturer to the customer’s chosen delivery location. In its narrowest sense, it refers only to the path through your warehouse and distribution system and ending with the customer’s delivery location. Fulfillment is also often confused with the term “logistics management.” The two terms are very similar, and are often used interchangeably. Logistics management can refer to the fulfillment process, but is also used to describe the company or personnel in charge of the storage and delivery processes.
Order Fulfillment and Warehousing
In most logistics management scenarios, product inventory is shipped directly to a given business’ own storage and maintenance facilities. There, the company’s staff makes sure the product inventory is in good condition and secure until needed for delivery to customers. Once a product is selected for shipment, it is wrapped and secured inside durable packaging and then shipped using a designated delivery service.
The means with which these products are shipped are known as the logistics infrastructure; they are also sometimes referred to as the fulfillment system. For growing businesses, both real world and online-based, the meeting of customer order demands can quickly become severely problematic, resulting in lost revenues and dissatisfied customers.
Faced with such dangers, many businesses choose to outsource their logistics management and fulfillment needs to a third party, independent company. These fulfillment companies assume control of the business’ delivery and warehousing needs, boosting efficiency and customer satisfaction while reducing the client business’ operating costs.