As your business grows you’re going to find yourself more and more preoccupied with the logistics of order fulfillment. But are you aware of everything that term entails?
Towards A Definition of “Fulfillment”
“Order fulfillment” is a broad term that encompasses a variety of responsibilities any business owner – but especially ecommerce business owners and web entrepreneurs – must resolve quickly and efficiently. Successful order fulfillment that provides a maximum amount of productivity while at the same time producing a satisfied customer base is one of the most challenging – but also the most beneficial – aspects of any business.
Order fulfillment includes warehousing, packing and shipping, and customer service relations after delivery. Order fulfillment also includes distribution services, wholesaling services, and corporate fulfillment services in its wider list of definitions and aspects. In general, everything involved between getting a given product from the manufacturer to the customer, including mailing fulfillment and promotional mailing marketing, falls within the domain of order fulfillment services.
Understanding What Fulfillment Entails
Fulfillment requires a devoted flow of time and resources, forming a commitment that can hinder or even cripple ecommerce and other small businesses that once thrived. To put it simply, such efforts can become victims of their own success if their fulfillment demands too rapidly outgrow their logistics and order fulfillment capabilities.
The solution for thousands of ecommerce and small business companies involves outsourcing their logistics and product fulfillment needs to third party fulfillment providers, who assume total control of warehousing, cold storage, shipping and tracking, and customer service resolution duties on behalf of their client companies.
Outsourcing To Fulfillment Services Prevents Problems
With a third-party fulfillment service, small business can devote themselves to growing their ecommerce or other small business without devoting unlimited time and resources to solving fulfillment and logistics demands, areas of specialization with which the business owner might not be familiar.
The fulfillment service receives inventory directly from the manufacturer or wholesaler, assuming control of its proper storage and housing needs. When orders are placed, the fulfillment provider prepares the product for shipping, including packaging and postage requirements. Once its shipped, the fulfillment service provider also provides conflict or dissatisfaction resolution personnel who can answer customer questions about the purchased product after delivery.
Fulfillment service providers usually contract with ecommerce businesses to provide these services in exchange for a preset percentage of each product sold. The arrangement is in that sense more of a partnership than an outsourcing or sub-contracting.