Fulfillment Company: Everything You Need to Know
A fulfillment company is an organisation that processes the receipt, packing, delivery and return of customer orders for businesses. Fulfillment companies enable businesses to outsource their order fulfillment, including goods in, warehousing, pick and pack, shipping and returns. A modern and technologically advanced fulfillment company will manage and streamline fulfillment processes via order fulfillment software. Outsourcing order fulfillment processes and management to an expert fulfillment company allows businesses to focus on growth, instead of in-house warehousing, shipping, returns and inventory management.
Step-by-step process of how fulfillment companies work
A fulfillment company acts as a bridge between businesses and their customers, handling the process from order receipt to delivery. Here’s a breakdown of the typical step-by-step process:
- Receiving Inventory: Businesses send their products to the fulfillment center. Upon arrival, the fulfillment company checks the inventory to ensure the quantity matches what was sent.
- Warehousing: Once received, products are stored safely in the warehouse. Our advanced fulfillment centers uutilize warehouse management systems to optimize storage and ensure efficient retrieval of products.
- Order Processing: When a customer places an order, the system automatically alerts the fulfillment center.
- Picking: Employees, aided by automated systems, pick the ordered products from the storage shelves.
- Packing: After picking, the product is securely packaged for shipping. This often involves selecting the right sized box, and protective materials, and ensuring the package is sealed properly.
- Shipping: The packaged product is then shipped to the customer through one of our carriers.
- Returns Management: If a customer decides to return a product, the fulfillment company handles the return process, checking the product back into inventory, or disposing of it, as required.
- Reporting: Our customers receive regular reports on inventory levels, order volumes, returns, and other critical metrics to help them manage their operations effectively.
Fulfillment Company Services Explained
Fulfillment companies offer a diverse range of services to ensure efficient and reliable order processing and delivery for businesses. Here are the main services they typically provide:
Inventory Management – Monitoring and managing stock levels to ensure there’s enough inventory to meet customer demand and alerting businesses when it’s time to restock.
Order Processing – The handling of customer orders from start to finish, ensuring accuracy and promptness.
Shipping Services – Utilizing partnerships with carriers to offer a range of shipping options to businesses, from overnight to standard delivery.
Kitting and Assembly – Some products need to be assembled, bundled, or customized before they’re shipped. Fulfillment companies often provide this service.
Returns Handling – Providing a streamlined process for handling customer returns, including quality checks, restocking, or disposal.
Customer Support – Many fulfillment companies also provide customer service support, addressing queries related to orders, shipping, or returns.
Global Fulfillment – For businesses selling internationally, these companies handle customs documentation, international shipping coordination, and other related tasks.
Integrated Technology – Fulfillment companies often provide businesses with integrated software solutions to manage inventory, view real-time reporting, and process orders seamlessly.
Subscription Box Services – For businesses that operate on a subscription model, fulfillment companies can manage the regular assembly and shipping of subscription boxes.
Value-added Services – This can include special packaging, promotional inserts, labeling, and more.
Why use a fulfillment company?
Businesses often choose to outsource their customer orders to a fulfillment company for three purposes:
1. Improve inventory management
Fulfillment companies can manage orders and inventory accurately and effectively, and advanced order fulfillment software gives businesses valuable insights through high-quality data. Benefits include easy inventory accessibility via cloud-based technology, accurate real-time stock visibility, batch tracking and optimisation, custom reporting and more.
2. Improve customer experience
A fulfillment company can offer improved shipping options, branded packaging options and built-in order tracking and returns management, to deliver perfect customer experiences. Benefits include rapid and cost effective dispatch, real-time updates to customers, simple returns for customers and more.
3. Enable rapid growth
By providing order fulfillment services that can quickly scale to demand, ship to new markets and satisfy customers, a fulfillment company gives businesses the time and confidence to focus on growth. Benefits include meeting seasonal, promotional or new product order demand, international shipping, reducing time spent in-house on fulfillment processes and more.
How to choose a fulfillment company?
Outsourcing fulfillment to a fulfillment company is an important business decision, and it’s critical to choose the right partner. From ensuring seamless integration with your existing eCommerce platform to delivering flawless brand and customer experiences, businesses should choose a fulfillment company based upon how they can provide the most effective solution for their individual needs. Want to know more about choosing a fulfillment company? Contact us today for a free, no-obligation chat about how our order fulfillment services can help your business.
At James and James Fulfillment, we recognize the profound impact of brand identity on discerning consumers. In line with this understanding, we proudly offer an array of custom packaging services.
Thanks to our cutting-edge Controlport technology, we’re proud to offer real-time order-tracking capabilities. Once a package leaves our warehouse, we continuously track it until it reaches its final destination. Our integration with leading carriers ensures our clients always have the latest information at their fingertips.
At James and James, we offer comprehensive returns management as an integral part of our services. Our dedicated areas are specifically set up to receive and inspect any returned products from customers.
If a returned item is in a sellable condition, our team ensures it’s restocked swiftly. For items that are found to be damaged or unsellable, we either arrange for their disposal or move forward with their liquidation. It’s our standard practice to keep you continually informed about the status of returned items throughout the returns process.
Fulfillment companies should take a meticulous approach to packaging and shipping. Here’s a look at how we manage this critical aspect of eCommerce:
- Inventory Management: Our state-of-the-art tracking system guarantees timely order fulfillment by keeping a close eye on product stock and movements.
- Packaging Choices: While we offer robust standard packaging solutions, we also welcome merchants who wish to incorporate custom packaging to enhance their brand image.
- Labelling and Documentation: Our team efficiently generates precise shipping labels and handles all necessary documentation, whether the products are headed domestically or across borders.
- Carrier Integration: Our integration with leading carriers is designed to prioritize both speed and affordability, making sure your products are delivered in the most efficient manner possible.
Fulfillment companies generally vary in their costs and offerings. Here’s a breakdown of how we structure our charges at James and James Fulfillment:
- The volume of Orders: As your business grows and processes more orders, you might find the per-order fee becoming even more competitive.
- Storage Costs: Our fees for storage are based on your specific requirements. Whether it’s a flat fee arrangement or charges based on the square footage or the number of pallets, we’ve got a plan that will suit your inventory size.
- Pick and Pack Fees: For every item that’s prepared for shipping, there’s a nominal fee associated, ensuring the utmost care and precision.
- Shipping Costs: Shipping charges vary depending on several parameters such as destination, package dimensions, weight, and your chosen delivery speed. With our network and partnerships, we strive to offer the best rates in the industry.
- Additional Services: We provide options like custom packaging and advanced order tracking. These value-added services may come with additional fees but are designed to elevate your brand and customer experience.
When considering James and James Fulfillment, we recommend reaching out to our dedicated team for a custom quote, ensuring you get a package that works best for you.
Fulfillment companies take care of the back-end operations for eCommerce businesses. This includes tasks such as order handling, shipping, and customer service. Essentially, they take care of everything needed to get products from the warehouse to customers.
This can be a huge support to eCommerce businesses who are trying to grow their sales but don’t have the manpower or resources to handle all of these operations on their own.
Typically, fulfillment companies provide order fulfillment and distribution services for online retailers. This involves receiving and processing orders, packing and shipping the products, and providing customer service.
Many fulfillment companies also offer a range of value-added services such as kitting and assembly, returns management, and drop-shipping. They typically work with a wide range of clients including small businesses, mid-market retailers, and large enterprises
The fulfillment market is growing rapidly as online retail sales continue to increase due to the pandemic and other macroenvironmental factors making order fulfillment companies more needed than ever.
There are a few key differences between warehousing and fulfillment that are worth noting. First, warehousing is typically more focused on storage, while fulfillment is focused on shipping. This means that warehousing tends to be more about keeping products safe and sound until they’re needed, while fulfillment companies are all about getting products packed and out the door as accurately as possible.
Second, because of this focus on shipping, fulfillment companies tend to be better equipped with the resources and infrastructure needed to get orders out quickly and efficiently. This includes things like packaging supplies and automated shipping equipment.
Lastly, although both types of facilities can offer some level of inventory management, this is generally more of a priority for fulfillment companies than warehouses as they are more hands on during the fulfillment process.
When a customer places an order on an eCommerce website, the order needs to be fulfilled – that is, the items in the order need to be collected from where they are stored and sent to the customer. This is called eCommerce fulfillment.
There are a few ways to fulfil orders. The most common way is to use a third-party fulfillment company such as James and James. We manage the products for your eCommerce business and send them out when orders come in.
eCommerce fulfillment can be a complex process, and there are a number of factors to consider when choosing a fulfillment partner. Some of the things you’ll want to take into account include order volume, delivery speed, and product type. To learn more about what James and James can offer you, check out our fulfillment process.
A distribution centre is a warehouse where products are stored after being manufactured or imported. The purpose of a distribution centre is to get the right product to the right place at the right time. A fulfillment centre, on the other hand, is a warehouse that stores and fulfils orders for customers. The purpose of a fulfillment centre is to store and handle goods as well as coordinate their final dispatch to customers.
The main difference between the two types of centres is that a distribution centre will not usually deal with final customer orders, whereas a fulfillment centre is designed specifically for this purpose. Distribution centres are usually larger in size than fulfillment centres and are used to store goods that have been bought in bulk by retailers. Fulfillment centres, on the other hand, are smaller in size and deal with individual client and customer orders.
A 3PL fulfillment company is a business that provides order fulfillment services for other businesses. This can include picking and packing orders, shipping products, and handling customer service inquiries.
3PL fulfillment companies can be helpful for businesses that are experiencing an increase in orders and don’t have the staff or resources to handle this extra aspect of the business. They can also be helpful for businesses that want to outsource some or all of their order fulfillment tasks so that they have more time to focus on core business responsibilities including, development and marketing for growth.
When choosing a 3PL fulfillment company, it’s important to consider the company’s experience and track record, as well as their ability to scale with your business. It’s also important to make sure that the company has the necessary insurance and licensing in place.
There are a number of ways that a fulfillment company can help your business. Perhaps the most obvious way is by taking on the task of physically storing and shipping your products. This can free up valuable time and resources within your company.
In addition, a good fulfillment company will have systems and processes in place to ensure that your products are shipped quickly and efficiently. This can help to improve your customer satisfaction levels, as well as reducing your overall outgoings.
Another area where a fulfillment company can add value is by helping you to manage your inventory effectively. They can provide regular reports and analysis to help you understand which products are selling well and accurately forecast demand.