As a business gets bigger, the owner, workers and enthusiastic helpers typically spend much time doing the following:
> Taking care of inventory
> Receiving shipments
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> Repacking products to forward to customers
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Time consumed by onsite inventory is time grabbed from marketing and sales activities. It also puts the spotlight on an unmistakable business issue: having to outsource particular business tasks, including fulfillment.
Business owners who work far from home perhaps don’t have stacks of products in their homes. Still, they have plenty of other reasons to call for off-site inventory:
> They need to be freed from handling inaccurate and unorganized inventory.
> They want to make the fulfillment process more efficient by bettering logistics and electronic ordering functions.
> They want to concentrate more on sales instead of warehouse and fulfillment.
> They’re interested in a direct marketing, but have insufficient space for the task be done.
> They want to save overhead costs, including employee costs.
So is a fulfillment house in exact terms?
You have alternatives to fix your inventory management issues. No, they don’t include moving everything to a self-storage facility or finding unused space to rent. Utilizing fulfillment services is the smarter answer.
“Fulfillment service,” “fulfillment provider” and “fulfillment company” are usually used interchangeably.
As soon as a company receives an order, the fulfillment house is accountable for taking that product to the customer.
Fulfillment usually includes customer credit card processing, updates on website inventory, product returns and reorders and even call center services.
Let’s say someone orders 10 items from your online store. You call or email the fulfillment company to inform them and you’re done with your part of the process. The fulfillment company gets the items from the warehouse, packs them and informs the shipper and customer.
If a business is already working with partners – for instance, a hosting company – the fulfillment company’s tasks may be different. A small business owner may handle the internal work himself or work with a hosting company that takes credit card information.
The fulfillment company will then would do product picks-and-packs, gives customer support and take care of the returned items.
With an order fulfillment service, a business will be able to choose between handling small orders and not at all. A business that wants to handle small orders needs to hire a package delivery service and retain some inventory on hand.
Finding the Right Fulfillment
There are many other steps you can take to ensure that you are choosing a quality fulfillment company – asking for references, guestimating the amount of shipping volume, inquiring about error rate, considering response time and so on and so forth.
In other words, you need to do some honest-to-goodness research. Considering the great number of fulfillment service providers today, not to mention the great number of cowboys in the business, choosing randomly would be downright foolish.