What is Fulfillment?

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What is Fulfillment?

The English term "fulfillment" means "execution" or "fulfillment". In both German and international language usage in the outsourcing industry, it is a synonym for a wide variety of services that a fulfillment service provider provides to end customers on behalf of the customer. In short: All activities that are necessary to bring the purchase to a positive conclusion without failing due to the restrictions of everyday business. In online trading or e-commerce, this is referred to as e-fulfillment or e-commerce fulfillment.

Fulfillment is relief for the company

No matter whether fulfilment for online shops or for companies that sell their goods via wholesale or foreign trade - with the commissioning of a specialised service provider and a tailor-made service portfolio, they primarily relieve themselves of a lot of work. This enables them to concentrate fully on the company's core competencies.
The providers' comprehensive range of tasks includes numerous activities, for example:

  • Warehousing
  • Acceptance of orders
  • Order picking
  • Article master data maintenance
  • Packaging of goods and products
  • Franking of consignments
  • Shipping to the end customer
  • Returns management

However, all of this is only a small excerpt. The fulfillment service provider can also devote itself to invoicing or invoicing, accounts receivable management and dunning, handle warranty claims, repairs and complaints or take care of customer support via hotline or call centre. Fulfillment providers often also take care of marketing activities such as sending catalogues and brochures.

Fulfillment is above all close to the customer

The outsourcing of everyday work can - especially in the area of e-commerce - lead so far that the coordination of operations is carried out almost completely from outside, i.e. by the fulfillment service provider. As can be seen from the range of tasks, these are no longer only B2B-oriented, but also B2C-oriented, i.e. directly at the end customer, the recipient of the goods. In addition to the work steps from the time of ordering in the online shop, they also take over additional services, such as contact with the shop's customer, in order to even accept telephone orders. Fulfillment service providers are truly multi-talented: logistics specialists, warehouse workers, shippers, packers, customer service employees and much more.

Conclusion: All tasks that a company would otherwise perform itself are handled by an external service provider - this is fulfillment, regardless of whether it sells its goods in the shop via the Internet or offline. It includes not only the physical handling, such as storage, picking, packaging and shipping, but also everything around logistics and delivery to the end customer. Fulfillment can be an all-round carefree package, but it can also mean flexibility: Clients can tailor their fulfillment services entirely to the needs of their company and only outsource partial tasks, thus receiving a package tailored precisely to their needs.

Mike Schubert und Raimund Bergler

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