Product fulfillment services, in general terms, are the steps involved in receiving orders, processing, and fulfilling the order to the end user. This can apply to small business dealing with small single orders, all the way up to large businesses handling hundreds of thousands of orders a day.
It has become cost efficient for some businesses to use third party companies which specialize in product fulfillment. If a business does not have their own warehousing, order picking team, and processes, the startup costs can be significant. Using a company specializing in fulfilling orders will save costs, and labor hours.
Businesses specializing in product fulfillment are always working to streamline their services. Not only will effective fulfillment processes speed up the order turnaround, and in turn the customer satisfaction, but cut costs to the business which can be passed on to the customer.
There are four fundamental steps to efficient product fulfillment services, these are:
The warehouse or storage facility will be receiving the physical products from suppliers and manufacturers. For every shipment which arrives the following will need to be carried out:
– Counting every item and reconciling to the shipping information
– Inspecting the boxes for any damage
– Adding the items to the warehouse software system
– Printing bar-codes for the products if necessary
Once the entire inventory has been logged into the management system, counted, labeled, and passed inspection, it can be added to its allocated location in the warehouse.
The speed and accuracy of fulfilling orders depend upon the process of handling the inventory. If every item is properly checked, labeled and stored, it will be there to be picked quickly.
Orders will be received from a website, a phone call, or direct contact from a customer. The POS software will link to the inventory management system and generate an order number. This will locate the position of the inventory, enabling the picker to pick the goods quickly for dispatch.
There will usually be a packing station for orders to be dropped off at. Here the orders will be double checked and entered into the management system so the inventory levels can be updated. Then the orders can be boxed, sealed and prepared for shipping.
Due to restrictions on shipping weights and destinations in some cases, shipping personnel is responsible for finding the least-expensive way to ship the goods. This will involve maintaining a good working relationship with different shipping companies and choosing the best option. When the goods are dispatched, the management software will update and post a status for the customer to track their goods.
When everything goes right, your company can run more efficiently, and it keeps your clients satisfied. A lot could go wrong, so outsourcing your product fulfillment services to a company like Elite OPS can help to keep your company focused on its products and services.
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