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Back to Basics: What are Fulfillment Services? (Part 1 of 2)

This is Part One in a two-part series. You can read Part Two here.

Fulfillment services from an eCommerce fulfillment company can help your business get orders to your end-customer.

All of the steps involved in receiving, processing and delivering orders will be handled by another source so you can concentrate on the business of growing your business.

The Basics of Order Fulfillment Services

In this back-to-basics series, we’ll cover how fulfillment services work, who uses order fulfillment and which factors to use to determine when to switch to fulfillment services.

Who needs fulfillment services for their businesses?

They can meet a variety of needs – from large orders from B2B companies to smaller batch orders that go directly to consumers from online shops. In fact, the advent of online shopping and Internet marketing has created a ripple effect in the fulfillment services industry resulting in eCommerce additions to fulfillment houses.

With eCommerce order fulfillment, the process follows the same sequence no matter whether the order is for B2B or B2C companies. It all starts with receiving inventory form manufacturers or suppliers. Fulfillment services will include a number of different steps in their receiving process in order to ensure that the end customers get the products they need. 

Typically, these processes will include:

  • Counting the items to make sure that the supplier or manufacturer supplied the right amount.
  • Inspect the inventory to be sure it is undamaged.
  • Applying SKU or bar labels as needed, and upload those numbers into the warehouse management software.

What is Kitting?

Kitting is another popular option during the receiving step in the fulfillment process.

Kitting pairs popular items that are typically sold together at the inventory/storage point in the process vs. as items are ordered. This can result in less handling time and costs for you, which results in lower prices for your customers as well.

After inventory has been received, gone through the entire quality control process and is part of your warehouse management system, it’s ready to be ordered by your customers. In the meantime, fulfillment services will shelve and store your inventory. Inventory storage can improve the accuracy and speed of your order fulfillment – so placing it under a third party’s care helps your costs and your customers as well.

Your Fulfillment Service Processes Customer Orders

Finally, a fulfillment service will process orders as they are received. When orders from your website, call center or sales people come in, the fulfillment service will use their processes to pick, pack and ship those orders out.

Without a fulfillment service by your company’s side, all of the burden of getting those products ready for ordering would be on your and your internal team’s shoulders. At the most basic level, fulfillment services help you get products to your customers more efficiently and reliably.

In part two of this series, we’ll review why fulfillment services might be a good choice for a business.

 

September 17, 2015
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