Fulfillment companies are a necessity in today’s e-Commerce environment.
With the popularity of companies like Amazon.com and Overstock.com, consumers have learned that the ease and cost-saving aspects of shopping online often create a better shopping experience than shopping in a brick and mortar store. The right fulfillment company will provide your business with fulfillment options that are easy to manage and monitor. A professional fulfillment company will provide the technology that allows you to coordinate your inventory levels in real-time, so that your sales team can do their job best. This real-time information will also help you manage your inventory and see how your business is performing on a day-to-day basis. The most important benefit of professional fulfillment companies, however, is their assistance in making sure your orders are filled and shipped accurately. This assistance will help you avoid costly returns and chargebacks, and keep your end customers happy for a long time to come. This is why you should work with a company that provides excellent customer service and knowledgeable assistance that is easily accessible. If there is an inaccurate order or if an order was shipped to the wrong location, you’ll need to correct the problem as soon as possible to ensure that your customers are being well taken care of.
Finding the right company to handle your fulfillment services isn’t as difficult as it seems.
In fact, there are several things you can look for when checking out various companies to ensure that you are making the right choice. When you finally choose a fulfillment services partner for your business after your evaluation process, you’ll want to make sure they offer the following four benefits:
- A secure space. Theft of products stored in warehouse is a serious concern that could set your business back financially. Because of this, you want to make sure that the fulfillment services you partner with offers security for your valuable commodities while they are waiting to be fulfilled and sent to your end customer.
- Professional and knowledgeable staff. As much as you want your commodities protected against thieves, you also want them protected against negligent employees who will damage your products through their carelessness. A quality fulfillment company should be able to provide you with information concerning how they maintain these professional standards among their staff members.
- A wide range of fulfillment services. Your fulfillment services company should offer several benefits, such as product fulfillment, sample fulfillment, shopping cart syncing for e-Commerce, and storage and delivery.
- A range of ways to receive orders. The more available avenues there are to receive orders of your product or literature, the broader the range of customers who will be able to access your services. A fulfillment center that offers online fulfillment or takes orders over the web, through e-mail, by fax and by telephone maximizes the ways customers can find and order your product.
Anyone who has attempted to handle their own storage, packing and distribution services understands what these tasks entail.
The time and energy that go into logistics takes you away from what you should be focusing on most: growing your business. Why not turn the rest over to a logistics company who can keep your supply chain running smoothly and your customers happy. With warehousing services, order fulfillment services, and freight transportation services, a warehousing and distribution partner can make your job a lot easier and help your business grow a lot faster. Through the integration of services like transportation management, order fulfillment and packing, and warehouse storage with local and long-distance delivery, your business can avoid a lot of the problems that are typically associated with a more complicated supply chain involving multiple suppliers, carriers and service providers. Put simply, logistics companies help your business develop a coordinated process flow with the latest technology and a knowhow of the distribution process. The right logistics company will be ideally suited to help you manage your transport and supply chain needs, and can help you with both domestic and overseas deliveries to your end customer. In addition, it can provide accountability and up-to-the-minute tracking information to ensure on-time delivery and a hassle-free process for both you and your customers.
Are you looking for a Houston warehouse to complete your supply chain?
Are the options available confusing? Here are several questions to ask when looking for the right warehousing and distribution partner for your company. Does this particular service provider offer all of the services I need? Finding a one-stop servicer who can take care of all of your logistics needs—from storage to order fulfillment—will save you time and money. What kind of technology does the service provider use and how will that technology help ensure a streamlined process? In today’s hectic marketplace, technology is essential to ensure a smooth fulfillment process for your customers. Without it, the high likelihood of human error can cause dissatisfied customers, excessive chargebacks and a loss of your business’ profits and reputation. Does the service provider offer the warehouse space, dock capacity and warehouse personnel needed? Even with the latest technology, it takes the right location, useable space and knowledgeable personnel to ensure that the warehousing and distribution services offered are adequate. How accessible will management be if there is a problem? If you can’t speak with someone who has the answers when a problem or error arises, you’ll waste a lot of time explaining your situation to the wrong channels to get to the right one. Make sure the service provider you choose offers an easily accessible team who can resolve your issue immediately
If you have been thinking about hiring a Houston warehouse and distribution partner, you have probably already researched the benefits to such an arrangement.
Let’s recap them here: 1.) Reduce your labor costs for pick and pack fulfillment. Hiring personnel for pick and pack fulfillment can suck a lot of money out of your operating budget, especially for high-volume times of the year, such as Christmas or Black Friday. However, a Houston warehouse and distribution partner can take care of this for you, and even handle your e-Commerce orders. 2.) Optimize your business with state-of-the-art fulfillment systems and bar code technology. With the latest technology, a Houston warehouse and distribution partner can help you reduce your chargeback fines and maintain vendor compliance, while ensuring that the right products are shipped to the right place every time. Bar code technology significantly reduces packing error, making your end customers more satisfied while saving you money in the process. 3.) Reduce your administrative burden. By reducing the amount of time and energy you spend worrying over the details of order fulfillment, storage, packing and distribution, a warehousing and distribution partner can be one of your most valuable assets in running a business. Imagine all the things you could be doing if someone took over that aspect.
When companies have commodities that need to be stored for future sales and delivery, there is much more to the process than finding a warehouse and distribution company that has a large building and putting the products there.
Considerations such as security, temperature control, damage control, theft deterrents and a host of other issues have to be the focus. Beyond this, getting the products to the warehouse and then to the end customer can easily turn into a logistical nightmare if a business tries to handle all of this on its own. It simply is not feasible in today’s global and fast-paced marketplace. A servicer that offers all of this, and more, is the answer. For products that require refrigeration, a professional warehousing and distribution partner will have the adequate technology to handle it. For products that could easily become damaged from extreme temperatures (whether hot or cold) or from mishandling, the right warehousing and distribution partner is absolutely crucial. If shipping is a key component of your business, considering a third-party logistics (3PL) provider will save you a lot of time and hassle. The right third-party logistics partner will offer shipping, warehousing, packing and distribution services that can reduce your own company’s workload and logistic problems substantially.
Is your fulfillment center more than just talk when it comes to the technology they have to utilize in the fulfillment process?
If not, your own business might suffer for it. Even the best employees can make mistakes in the supply chain fulfillment process. This is why technology is so important in the industry, and why checks and balances facilitated by technology can mean the difference between on-time, error-free fulfillment and angry customers. While human contact and interaction is important in establishing a solid business relationship with your business’ fulfillment center, technology is the added edge to ensure reliability and preparation to guard against human error. Picking and shipping errors using bar code scanning and other warehouse software assures that materials and products are accounted for and that warehouse staff members are accountable. These same technologies and software packages also allow you to check the status of order fulfillment and keep your own records up-to-date and accurate. Finding out what technology your fulfillment center has, and how successful they have been in implementing it, should be one of the first steps you take in choosing and keeping the best fulfillment center for your supply chain management needs. The success of your business is at stake!
When you are choosing a company for your fulfillment services needs, one of the most important considerations is the potential company’s processes and procedures.
Before you think “wait, that’s their business,” think again—because it will affect your own business, as well. In fact, the most critical factor contributing to the success or failure of warehousing companies and fulfillment services is the ability to create and maintain purposeful, standardized processes and procedures for each action. These procedures will mean the difference between on-time processing and unhappy customers who want to know where their product is. Without standards governing these procedures and processes, and management who will hold warehouse staff accountable for achieving those standards, your own business’ reputation will suffer significantly. This is why you should make your fulfillment services business YOUR business. In choosing a fulfillment services vendor, one way to narrow down the list is to see if that vendor will provide you with their performance standards and metrics on achieving that performance. Ask about their percentages of on-time and error-free fulfillment vs. problems associated with those standards. Find out how they hold their staff accountable for achieving (or failing to achieve) those standards, and if there are compensatory actions available to you, as the customer, if such standards are not followed.
America’s logistics companies, particularly logistics companies in the Houston area, have a longstanding reputation of providing excellent service in one of the country’s most important transportation centers and one of the busiest distribution hubs.
With distribution channels spanning land, air, and sea, Houston is home to an impressive array of logistical and distribution businesses that are poised to meet the high demands of modern logistics needs. Houston’s location, being almost perfectly and centrally located between the country’s East and West coasts, make it the ideal distribution location for many businesses serving customers throughout the United States and the world. In addition, the city puts great emphasis on preserving and increasing jobs within this sector, adding to Houston’s overall economy.
In fact, according to a report released by the Greater Houston Partnership, trade, transportation and utilities companies account for one of Houston’s most promising job sectors, with 95,800 new jobs added over the past year. According to the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, the average annual income in the Houstonarea is $65,572. In consideration of this average, trade, transportation and utility companies provide $6.3 billion in income for local residents, as well as a significant increase in the area’s retail potential.
When unexpected disaster occurs, it can cause significant delay and problems in warehousing and distribution channels.
Depending on the business, different supply chains put different disaster plans into action. Therefore, it is important to know what each member of your supply chain will do in an emergency or disaster situation, and how these actions will affect your warehousing and distribution business. Here are three steps you can take to prepare for disaster in warehousing and distribution:
- Plan by identifying all risks to your business and flow of operation before disaster occurs. This includes having a solid business continuity plan that carefully considers each part of the supply chain that comprises your warehousing and distribution business. In order to create such a plan, you will need to know your entire supply chain—from beginning to end customer—and all the moving parts that it requires.
- Secure all your company’s assets, including warehouses, distribution centers, fleets, terminals and administration offices. Any part of your day-to-day business operations that could be affected by disaster should be considered. What kind of back-up supplies, including back-up power, will you need?
- Collaborate with members of your supply chain to develop the best emergency preparedness strategy. This collaboration will be the most important process in making sure that your warehousing and distribution company is able to handle disaster situations.