All businesses experience some growing pains, but order fulfillment shouldn’t be one of them.
In this post, we’ll cover just a few things you should consider when searching for a fulfillment partner to help you (and your business) continue to thrive.
Before you reach out to a potential partner, first take stock of what your needs are, as they may determine what sort of facility you will need.
• Do you deal with personal data?
• Perishable goods?
• Items that need packing & assembly?
• Do you need a facility that can hold your inventory and manage it for you?
These are just a few questions you should have the answers to before beginning your search.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the type of technology and reporting software the fulfillment center uses. It’s in your best interest to know upfront what their capabilities are and to ensure they meet your current, and future, needs.
• Do they have a continuity management system (CMS)?
• An effective order management system (OMS)?
• Do they employ an organized inventory management system to ensure accuracy and keep track of inventory levels?
• Do they offer Service Level Agreements (SLAs)?
Understanding what their capabilities are and what technology they use to measure their effectiveness, eliminate errors, and improve accuracy is vital when choosing a partner. You want to make sure that your products/services are being appropriately handled, sent out promptly, and know when inventory levels are low (or when stock should swap out).
According to research conducted by Statista in 2016, 63% of digital shoppers listed expensive shipping as the reason they abandoned their cart. This figure fell to 54% in 2017 but remained the leading reason shoppers didn’t follow through on a purchase.
One of the significant advantages of working with a third-party fulfillment vendor is access to better shipping prices. Large fulfillment companies have been able to negotiate special rates with carriers due to the volume of orders they process.
Potential fulfillment centers should be able to provide you with a rough idea of what you would be saving on shipping costs by working with them.
Another great advantage of working with a fulfillment center is being able to have extra storage for your products. Ask the vendor what sort of storage options they have, whether that’s on pallets or refrigeration & freezer storage depending on what products you sell.
Lastly, ask yourself (and the distributor) what business growth would look like with them. Do they have another warehouse facility for overflow storage? Neighboring distribution centers? Depending on the nature of your business and the geographic location of your customer base, it is essential to bear these thoughts in mind when it comes to turning around product quickly.
Finding a distribution partner that you feel comfortable with is an essential aspect of growing your business and expanding your market reach.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions, request a list of current clients or customer testimonials, so you’re comfortable with the choice you’re making.
We offer a variety of fulfillment and distribution services among different vendors.
Request a Free Fulfillment Assessment and see if Streamworks can take your program to the next level.