Published December 19, 2011
Fulfillment is a process that simplifies the complexity of receiving, processing, servicing, and shipping orders for a company. The fulfillment process can be used for a variety of businesses including wholesale, retail, e-commerce, mail order, TV infomercial, or any other type of business where customers place orders for products.
Fulfillment usually takes place in a warehousing system that provides a streamlined way for inventory to be tracked before being shipped. The warehouse can be company owned or outsourced to a business that specializes in fulfillment.
How It Works
The fulfillment process begins when a company takes an order for a product from a customer. At that point fulfillment occurs through one of two ways; in-house processing or outsourced labor. When a business is small it is easy to complete fulfillment within the organization itself, but the fulfillment process takes more time as a business grows. As a company grows larger, outsourcing the process to a separate company may be the best course of action. The outsourcing can be done at various stages of service depending on the needs and capabilities of the company. For example, one company might start outsourcing during order processing while another will only outsource for returns and exchanges.
A fulfillment system is important to a business because it ensures that customers' orders are processed and delivered in a timely manner. A benefit of outsourcing parts or all of the fulfillment process is that another company can handle the non-core aspects of a business. For instance, a company that outsources warehouse work does not have to tie up capital in building and labor costs.
Other fulfillment duties that can be outsourced are customer support, technical support, and shipping. The advantage of outsourcing these services is that it saves a company time and money, which can be especially helpful when a company is small.
Any business that wants to implement a fulfillment system should contact reputable vendors and seek proposals from them. When soliciting quotes for a fulfillment system make sure they include services for implementing and integrating them into your existing system. Overall, costs will vary depending on the amount of service you need and the volume of business you anticipate. Additionally, you can expect different prices for shipping depending on the weight and size of your products. Finally, costs will rise depending on the level of automation and integration required of the new fulfillment system
Fulfillment systems are a primary part of businesses that takes orders for products and deliver them to customers quickly and efficiently. Since fulfillment is core to business, it is recommended that a fulfillment process be implemented as early as possible. However, if this is not possible, you can always outsource your fulfillment needs while your company grows.
Last Updated: December 19, 2011