Fulfillment centres provide a great option for businesses to expand their fulfillment capabilities. For businesses that have an online store, outsourcing fulfillment is a great way for them to streamline their operations and provide better service overall. E-commerce fulfillment has made it easier for customers to get the products they want at the best price, but, as a business owner, you need to be able to deliver on those promises. With the right logistics provider, you can gain access to limitless scalability and a worldwide customer base. Here are some of the ways that a fulfillment centre can boost your business.
What Is a Fulfillment Centre?
A fulfillment centre is essentially a warehouse or physical space that processes and fulfills orders made by customers. When a customer places an order from an e-commerce retailer, the company will gather the purchased items from inventory, package and label them, and give them to a shipping carrier to be delivered to the customer. Depending on how many orders your business gets, you could be spending a huge amount of your time preparing shipments for your customers. The more orders you get, the greater the risk of error as you try to meet the demand. Therefore, if you’re trying to manage your inventory yourself, you should consider partnering with a third-party logistics provider. Giving this responsibility to them prevents you from making costly mistakes and lowers the number of items that end up on backorder.
Fulfillment Centre vs. Warehouse
When you partner with a third-party logistics provider, each customer’s order information goes directly to them. The fulfillment centre already has your inventory in their warehouse, so they will take the purchase orders, package them, and hand them over to be shipped and delivered to the customer. This entire warehousing process can be taken off your shoulders, and in most cases, it can be completed quicker and more efficiently. Fulfillment centres are designed to do this task in a fast, efficient, and cost-effective manner. They have the capacity to process various orders, and can scale to peak and low seasons.
Although the term fulfillment centre is often used interchangeably with warehouse centre, the two are very different. A warehouse is simply a storage solution that is used to hold a business inventory for a certain amount of time. This is the best option for retailers who need to stock large quantities of their products or who have diverse inventory. On the other hand, a fulfillment centre provides multiple services, including those that a warehouse does. In addition to storing a business’ inventory, a fulfillment centre will do the process of fulfilling customer orders. They will pick the product, package them, label them for shipment, and ensure that they are sent to the customer. The fulfillment process is more in depth and takes a bigger burden off your shoulders. It also helps your business meet and fulfill customer orders.
Benefits of Fulfillment Centres
- With the help of a fulfillment centre, you won’t have to seek out physical space for your inventory or flood your home with items.
- They will handle your inventory, so you won’t have to pack boxes and run to the post office to fulfill customer orders.
- They will negotiate with shipping carriers to give you the best rates and costs.
- They speed up the order fulfillment process and they provide you with same-day or next-day shipping to your customers.
- Your inventory will be properly organized and stored and you will have a real-time view of what you have in stock.
- They will handle returns and exchanges to save you time and energy.
- They can save you money by building your storage and shipping solutions from one place.
- By taking on your inventory management and warehousing and fulfillment, you can focus on other important tasks such as growing your business through marketing, product development, and customer service.
Things to Consider when Choosing a Fulfillment Centre
When choosing the fulfillment centre you want to partner with, here are some areas to consider and some tips to help you make the right selection for you:
- Take some time to look at your current inventory and shipping process—find out what problems exist.
- Do some research about your options for a 3PL provider in your region.
- Compare the services provided by each option.
- Reduce your list to your top three preferences and then dig deeper.
- Consider how compatible they are to your existing management software.
- Plan ahead for scalability and choose a provider that can accommodate your changing business needs.
- Choose a provider with multiple locations, so you can keep costs low and optimize your efficiency.
- Find a provider with multiple industry references and customer satisfaction.
- Negotiate the pricing with your chosen 3PL partner based on what service packages work best for your needs.
Let Lean Supply Solutions Handle Your Fulfillment Processes
There are many benefits of hiring a 3PL provider, including those mentioned above. While they take care of your fulfillment and warehousing responsibilities, you can take care of your core goals such as communicating with your customers, boosting your sales and marketing strategy, and ensuring that you are doing everything you can to reach your goals. If you are looking for the right company to partner with, Lean Supply Solutions is the answer. We rise to the challenge of meeting our clients’ needs through our services which include product fulfillment, warehousing and distribution, e-commerce fulfillment, warehouse pick and pack, order fulfillment, and more. To learn more about outsourcing your fulfillment and warehousing in Toronto to our team, or to ask any questions, contact us today.