What is Distribution Fulfilment?
A company who specialises in distribution fulfilment can be essential to have on your books, however finding the most appropriate one for you is no easy task as they will all have different assets and advantages. Who you go with depends on many factors, such as; their location, their capacity, their prices, their systems and their visible history. Distribution fulfilment should work to simplify the process of transactions, and take the cost away from the supply chain. The solutions included should be:
- Picking and Packing
- Product Preparation
- Secure Warehousing
- Ambient Storage
- Display Units
- Call Centre
- Product Management
- Reverse Logistics
- Online Inventory
If you have a distribution fulfilment company who can manage the complete process of logistics then this is essential in our current climate of the increasing need for online products. Although buying products now can be done by the click of a button, it’s important to realise that all transactions have their success based on the physical movement of those behind the scenes; i.e. your distribution fulfilment provider.
Who needs fulfilment and distribution and Who Benefits?
In a nutshell the answer to this is simple, those who require and benefit from distribution fulfilment are:
Your Company: If you can have the burden of all your fulfilment needs taken from you and put somewhere else this saves significantly on your own time and money resources. You can still be in control and have an instant insight to how your inventory is; be notified when stock is low, receive regular reports showing where the most profits are and which products are making losses, but the hands on physical activities are with your provider. This leaves you free to channel your energy and resources into other crucial aspects of business such as marketing, customer service and advertising.
The Provider: Fulfilment distribution centres already have all of the requirements in place to conduct your logistical needs, this means things like warehouse space, forklift trucks with trained operators, transport vehicles, network of distribution routes and everything right down to the pallets and packing materials to make a quick, safe procedure from order placement to order delivery. These are things that require initial upfront fees as well as regular maintenance and upgrades for things like innovative security systems and updating staff training. With these things all ready and waiting to use, they benefit from having clients such as you to be able to work with what they have and make their own money. They don’t have the products originally, but they have the means to store and distribute them – you don’t have these means, but you have the stock and so this works for all involved.
The Customer: Todays customer can afford to be choosy, they know that they can have the products of their choice, delivered within their preferred time frame and to a location named by them – you need to be able to adhere to this, and perform it well. The chances are that your company is not the only one to manufacturer or sell the products that you do, and so anything less than perfection and your customer will not make another purchase. This could also result in bad reviews and bad word of mouth – a killer for any modern company. This is where the distribution fulfilment company comes in; they specialise in making perfect transactions time and time and so you are left to be able to conduct a wonderful customer service, keeping all customers happy while those in the background are performing the practicalities of transporting the orders. The customer benefits from an excellent service when you hire in a third party Logistics Company to maintain speedy and safe deliveries.
Choosing the Right Distributions Fulfilment Provider:
Making this choice is very difficult and something that needs to be exactly right to exceed in your distribution department of business. However, the right one for you will depend entirely on you! For example; if you’re a provider of electrical items for both inland and overseas then your distribution fulfilment provider must tick all the boxes:
- Have adequate ambient storage to stock the electrical items correctly, protecting them from damages such as chemicals, humidity, water and heat.
- Have the correct packing materials so that they will be transported safely and securely; pallets, cardboard, peanut chips, polystyrene and so on.
- Have the right machinery to handle to products with care, and trained staff to run them – forklift trucks, conveyor belts, dumpers and the necessary amount of transport vehicles like trucks, dumpers or ships.
- Have a network of routes and links with overseas companies to be able to get your products into foreign lands safely, smoothly and without a hitch – they should have the means the do this either via land, air or sea and have adequate staff, materials and vehicles to prevent any delays.
- Their location can be a huge factor; companies in more rural areas tend to be cheaper, but they can sting you with the price it costs them to get from their rural location, to a major city and beyond.
- Contact length; electric products will change over time, as technology, accessibility and innovations come into play. If you have a lengthy contract with a provider who couldn’t change their amenities to cater for more high-tech technology as and when it arises, then this may not be the most suitable solution. Shorter-term contracts i.e. around six months tend to work the best and can usually be easily extended if needed to be.
- Can you see their visible history? Who have they worked for previously? Have they been part of any big name brands? What do previous clients say of them? Are their reviews and ratings accessible? Do they have client testimonials? – Find out as much as you can about their background, very often providers won’t tell you what mistakes they have been, if they tend to not be reliable or if staff have a history of damaging products – but, their previous clients will tell you this, and their answers could determine your choice of distribution fulfilment company based on actual experiences which would greatly affect your own business.