What are fulfilment services?
A fulfilment service is essentially a third-party logistics (https://www.completepackaging.co.uk/articles/what-is-a-3pl) company that does your warehousing, prepares your goods for shipping and ensures delivery of your items. They have fulfilment centres that are efficient in handling this aspect of your business. Fulfilment services are particularly useful for ecommerce businesses that are expanding and growing and don’t have the capabilities to focus on the shipping of their goods.
What is a fulfilment centre?
A fulfilment centre is where the magic happens! It’s where your customer’s orders become a reality. They are the brains behind the operation but they are also the warehouses and storage facilities for your goods. Essentially, the fulfilment centre is where the order is sorted and prepared for shipping - this process is sometimes called pick and pack.
How does the order fulfilment process work?
The order fulfilment process is all the steps that a company takes to ensure that your goods are delivered from A to B. It includes processing your order, picking and packing the order and the delivery/returns process. There are five key steps in the order fulfilment process: receiving, warehousing, pick and pack, shipping and returns. There are many complex and complicated details to the process that enable it to run smoothly and get those deliveries out as quickly as possible.
What are the benefits of using a fulfilment service?
There are many benefits of using fulfilment services. Firstly they can save you time and money, both very precious things in any business! Freeing up time for you to spend on other aspects of the business can really help you grow plus without the burden of leasing warehousing space and having to hire more staff much of your resources are available for other investments so using a fulfilment service also helps your business grow.
When is the right time to outsource?
There is not one size fits all approach to this question, but generally if you’re at a stage when it’s becoming difficult to fulfil orders yourself or you’re wanting to grow but don’t have the capacity to do so you want to consider it. There are many different approaches to fulfilment so you can spend time finding a fit for you and your business.
There are other things you need to consider. For example, do your sales fluctuate throughout the year? If so, it might be a good idea to consider outsourcing your packaging and warehousing in order to facilitate this growth. Many fulfilment services offer seasonal storage options and facilities.
You should also consider the infrastructure available to you as a business, cost wise you may have to invest in rather a lot to continue the way you are. Read our article on the pros and cons of hiring a 3PL if you’re still not sure if it’s right for you or not.
Want to find out more about what fulfilment services can do for you? Get in touch with us here at Complete Packaging.