How to find the right fulfillment service provider

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Finding fulfillment service providers: Six points by which you can identify the right one

As an online retailer you have every reason to be happy because more and more people are doing their shopping on the World Wide Web. With the order volume also the turnovers grow - and thus also the entire expenditure. Because when customer orders in the shop gradually go through the roof, your warehouse seems to become smaller and smaller and you spend an above-average amount of time accepting, packing and shipping goods as well as managing returns, your logistical and personnel limits are exhausted. Your most important resources are exhausted to the maximum: your time, your staff and your head! This is the moment when fulfillment service providers come into play for you as a shop operator - but which one is the right one and how can you recognize him? How to find the right one Fulfillment service provider is explained by the following six points.

1. more power

If you have a lot of effort yourself and therefore commission a fulfilment service provider, it should be worth it for you in every respect: Better storage capacities, faster processes in warehousing and goods handling, optimised processes, a high degree of automation and perfect processing of your customer orders. Fulfillment therefore means not only relief for you as an online retailer, but also a big step forward - a fundamental improvement for your business. It is obvious that if goods are to be assembled and packaged, if an order is received or a return is to be processed, your fulfillment partner should be able to handle all things faster and more efficiently than you can. If you don't feel a significant improvement, there are two options: Either you really don't need a fulfillment service provider or you've hired the wrong one.

2. more turnover

As mentioned in the previous point, it is not simply a matter of outsourcing certain processes from your company or saving costs. Fulfillment is about driving you and your business forward, and that means more customer satisfaction and more money in the till. Your choice should be for a fulfillment service provider who, on the one hand, does not degenerate into a soulless order taker and task executor and, on the other hand, your company does not merely become one customer number among many. The consequences of this would be felt by your customers. Better, your customers will feel the significant improvement in the entire company organization, i.e. order processing, shipping speed, returns processing and other areas of your online business - they will thank you with higher sales and with lower returns rate.

3. more free space

This is one of the things that really counts: Thanks to the support of your fulfillment service provider, you now have the head free to concentrate entirely on your core business and your function as an entrepreneur - in other words: planning and implementing marketing campaigns, developing new ideas and strategies, improving your product range, increasing the quality of your product range, acquiring new customers or being there for new and existing customers. Everything concerning the logistical handling of the goods is now reliably handled - completely or in parts - by the fulfillment service provider - even if order numbers fluctuate and order peaks occur. In particular, the activities that fall into the routine category should be left to your outsourcing partner. And even if there are further tasks that need to be completed, it is still worth asking the supplier. Everything that relieves you in any way gives you the freedom you need for your success.

4. more transparency

How do the individual processes in the house of your fulfillment provider actually look like? The aspects range from details on packaging and IT to storage conditions. So be sure to check the points that are important to you during the first meeting, for example:

  • Which merchandise management and e-commerce interfaces are offered?
  • Does the fulfillment provider also offer special storage space for goods to be stored?
  • Does it have certain certifications (e.g. EU organic certification for fulfillment for organic products)
  • Which parcel services and which of their additional services are available?
  • How is picking carried out?
  • Which packaging materials are used?
  • What about returns in terms of costs, allocation, postage, storage, etc.?
  • Does your fulfillment service take care of customs formalities for shipping to non-EU countries?

Ask questions! So there are no misunderstandings and you can make sure that your new supplier covers everything you imagine. Because in the end this also affects the Fulfillment-costs.

5. more than just logistics

Excellent Fulfillment providers can do more than just picking, packing, shipping and other logistical activities. Their services go far beyond warehousing, logistics and the like. Do you as a shop operator, production company or wholesaler still assemble your goods yourself or assemble them into sets? Are there still things that need to be done before a product can even be shipped - for example, processing individual parts into subgroups or complex assemblies? Is quality control, cleaning, deburring or Wrapping your goods or parts thereof necessary? Your fulfillment partner should ideally be able to take over such tasks for you. This versatility has several advantages for you:

  • The complete handling of your goods comes from a single source
  • You don't have to hire additional companies and save unnecessary travel and time.
  • One contact person and short communication channels
  • The processing of your goods can be seamlessly integrated into the logistics processes of the fulfillment service provider.
  • Delays are reduced to a minimum

So instead of your goods or product having to take the detour from processing plant A to packaging plant B, they leave the hands of the fulfillment provider directly to the customer.

6. more heads, more eyes, more hands = more success

A good fulfillment provider thinks about, thinks about your day-to-day work, discovers improvement potentials and gets involved. You benefit from his experience, his know-how, his equipment and his team strength. This should also be the fulfillment provider's demand on itself. As already mentioned, his cooperation and participation will not only bring you more turnover for your business. The optimised processes raise the standards in your company and ensure that it runs smoothly from A to Z. Certainly large suppliers such as Amazon and many others do an excellent job in warehousing and logistics, but the extra mile of service mentioned is not part of the service package. Why it is advantageous for you to work together with your fulfillment service provider to adjust the processes in your company is obvious: Your customers are satisfied because they can rely on receiving their order on time and do not have to worry about returns. In short, your success is also the success of the fulfillment provider. If you have any questions and need support, he will ** do all he can to help.

Mike Schubert und Raimund Bergler

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