If your company fills orders, you may want to get a quote from a pick-and-pack fulfillment company. Pick-and-pack fulfillment companies do just that — they carry your product inventory so that they can pick and pack orders as they come in and ship them to your customers.
There are several ways that a fulfillment company can save you money, including:
- Not having to employ in-house staff to fulfill orders
- Not having to expand your office, shipping, and warehouse space
- Allowing you to grow your company’s product line without taking on the major expense of doing all of the work in-house
Before you hire a pick & pack fulfillment house, ask prospective companies the following three questions.
1. Can I Get A Quote On Your Warehouse And Distribution Services?
You’ll need to provide them with your volume and turnover of products to get a customized quote. Be prepared to provide the following information before they can give you a quote:
- Assembly instructions for your product(s)
- Average number of SKUs picked and packed per order
- How many of each SKU, on average, is picked and packed per order
- How are the orders to be packed (shipper carton, envelope)
- How many orders are expected per day/week/month
- Number of SKU’s total
2. What Shipping Services Do You Use, And What Types Of Shipments?
Most pick-and-pack fulfillment companies can work with any shipping carrier. You’ll want to know if the company uses its shipping accounts or yours. Since fulfillment companies deal with large volumes of orders, their shipping costs can be dramatically less than yours. You should ensure that the company offers private label shipping if that’s important to you and include that cost in the quote.
Taking Advantage Of A Fulfillment Company’s Expertise
You are in business to create and sell a specific product or product line. You hire talented professionals for every aspect of production, distribution, marketing, and sales because it is cost-effective and efficient.
However, many companies are unprepared to handle packaging, shipping, and product returns. Product returns require specific documentation, handling, and fast turnaround times. Regular shipping, whether pick and pack, POP display assembly, or repackaging, can be time and space-consuming, not to mention the overhead costs.
Bottom line, a fulfillment company exists solely to assist you with product assembly, packaging and shipping, and returns, which frees your company to focus all its energies, finances, and expertise on the products you are known for rather than on the housekeeping of packaging and shipping.
3. How Do You Manage Inventory?
Most large fulfillment houses have state-of-the-art inventory control software. The important things to ask are how often they provide inventory reports so you can replenish products and what the turnaround time is once they have received the product and can fill orders. Any handling time on the fulfillment company’s end could affect how your customer’s orders are filled.
Expedite Returns By Outsourcing Reverse Logistics
Whether your company has one or 100 returns per day, processing those returns is time-consuming and requires trained staff. Hiring a professional packaging and fulfillment company to manage your company’s reverse logistics has the following benefits:
- Comprehensive inventory management and reporting system handled offsite.
- Reverse logistics services tailored to your specific product and customer service/return policy.
- Re-inventorying, repair, repackaging, and redistribution to your standards.
- Saves you time and overhead costs of handling returns in-house.
Use the same fulfillment company for packing and shipping services for new, outgoing orders. You can eliminate the overhead and stress of an in-house shipping and receiving department. The cost-effectiveness and expertise offered by a reliable fulfillment company that offers reverse logistics can improve your bottom line and reduce the stress of order processing and returns.
Seeking Fulfillment Services
When your business has reached the point where managing fulfillment services is no longer cost-effective, it is important to look for a wide variety of services from a prospective contract packaging company. Some things to look for include:
- Online Order Fulfillment
- POP Display Assembly
- Pick & Pack
- Warehousing & Distribution
- Repair & Refurbishing
- Value-Added Assembly
- Shrink Wrapping
- Drop Shipping
- Transportation Services
It’s also important to know how large their warehouse is for keeping your product inventory on hand. Your savings may dwindle if you have to make weekly deliveries to their facilities to replenish inventory. Ask how much inventory they can keep on hand and compare that to your average sales to ensure the facility matches your business well.