In business, the term Fulfillment refers to the process a firm undergoes to satisfy a request for something it has offered such as an order for a product, sample, promotional giveaway, literature, etc. Most of the time, fulfillment refers tIn business, the term Fulfillment refers to the process a firm undergoes to satisfy a request for something it has offered – such as an order for a product, sample, promotional giveaway, literature, etc.
Most of the time, fulfillment refers to orders and requests placed by customers or potential customers of the firm.The order fulfillment process varies by company but it generally includes the warehousing of items, a method of receiving orders for the items, the gathering of items to be shipped, the packaging and addressing of the items, the shipping or mailing of the items to the correct recipients, and confirmation that the orders have been filled.
The Popularity of Outsourcing
Many businesses start out performing their own order fulfillment. However, as the business grows, the fulfillment process often becomes a burden on time, space and manpower. It also becomes less cost-effective for the company to perform all the fulfillment tasks themselves. This is why the fulfillment process is commonly outsourced to a fulfillment service partner, often called a Fulfillment Warehouse or Fulfillment Center.
A fulfillment service partner can assist with an extensive, ongoing distribution program or a one-time project, such as a promotional campaign. A fulfillment partner provides the necessary space, warehouse services and the personnel needed to pull, prepare, package and ship a variety of items.
A fulfillment partner also provides a method for receiving orders and exchanging information, often via an online interface from clients or from their client’s customers. Other services provided by a fulfillment partner generally include inventory management, item tracking and reporting, order confirmation, etc.
Fulfillment Services Fill Many Needs
In addition to processing and filling customer orders, outsourced fulfillment services are also used for…
Direct Mail Campaigns – Because a fulfillment center generates sizable package volume, it generally has excellent shipping and postage rates. Many also have printing capabilities. This makes them a perfect solution for your direct mail needs such as postcard offers, sales letters, brochures, catalogs and newsletters.
Promotions and Samples – For many companies, promotions and sample distribution are one-time events, or are run infrequently. Since it is impractical for a company to add additional space and manpower to process temporary or sporadic events, outsourcing the entire process is generally the ideal solution.
Sales Materials – If a company has a sales force or service reps scattered around the country, a fulfillment service can simplify the distribution of support materials to them. Using online ordering or another streamlined system, the field reps can request literature, order forms, contracts, displays, product samples, repair parts, tools, etc. as they need them.
Operational Supplies – For companies with multiple offices or franchise locations, a fulfillment center can help distribute important documentation or supplies as directed by the home office or as requested by each individual location. Training materials, operation manuals, price lists, employee benefit information, stationery and office supplies are some of the items that can be efficiently dispersed this way.