You’ve probably come across the term “fulfillment service” or “mail order fulfillment” once before, especially if you’ve spent time researching better means of supplying order processing and logistics management for your small or online business’ inventory. Fulfillment services offer an exciting but also sometimes intimidating opportunity, one that’s not for the faint-hearted but can also pay off profound dividends down the line.
In short, and to paraphrase a television commercial, fulfillment services give you wings. Not wings in the sense of energy, or infusion of capital, but rather the opportunity to concentrate on developing your business’ growth rather than focusing on such “earth bound” activities as inventory control, warehouse management, and customer service resolution. Fulfillment services, third party logistics providers, and cold storage facilities take those burdens on themselves.
Gaining A Partner
The relationship between a third party logistics provider and its client business is often described as a partnership. Fulfillment companies partner with many small businesses at a time, the better to provide stability and flexibility in their operations.
Typically, the fulfillment company deducts a portion of each product unit sold as its fee for storing, processing, and shipping the product on behalf of the client company. This in turn gives the fulfillment company a vested interest in their clients’ success: they profit more as the client businesses grow, and suffer if they do not. Warehousing logistics being what they are, fully loaded warehouses are much more cost-effective than under-utilized warehouse spaces.
How Third Party Fulfillment Works
Fulfillment companies are able to manage the logistics and fulfillment needs of several companies by simultaneously employing highly specialized, highly developed methods of warehousing, cold storage, pick and pack, and mail order fulfillment techniques.
Fulfillment companies typically headquarter in a warehouse or similar processing facility with sufficient space to give their clients not just the space they need now, but also the space they’ll need in the future – the “room to grow” they anticipate as the client business develops. Along with the warehouse comes the warehouse staff, who’ve been trained on proper package handling and processing as well as on efficiency and waste reduction methods.
Taking The First Step
There are many fulfillment service companies that offer a variety of partnership structures, so researching for the right company offers the wisest course of action. Ultimately, small business owners should seek out a fulfillment company that can offer them as much flexibility as possible over the course of their partnership.