Fulfillment Service Chicago – BFC Print – Print, Fulfillment & Communications – Call 630-879-9240
Fulfillment Service Chicago
Fulfillment is a handling method involving the receipt of goods, processing, and delivery through customer orders. Every step from order placement to delivery is part of the fulfillment process. It might incorporate the return and refund process as well. Order fulfillment involves warehousing, picking, and packing the product to shipping it, and notifying the customer with an automated email that the order is on the way.
A fulfillment service is a third-party operation that handles all of the fulfillment needs of a company. Inventory is warehoused at fulfillment centers.
Warehousing, Shipping, and Fulfillment Service Chicago
After placing an order, the item has to get into the hands of the customer.
There are three ways this can happen:
Dropshipping is a retail fulfillment method. With dropshipping, a store does not keep the products it sells in stock. Instead, items are purchased from a third-party supplier, a wholesaler or manufacturer, who then ships it directly to the customer. Consequently, the seller never handles the product directly.
In-House Order Fulfillment Service Chicago
In-house order fulfillment means that a company, specifically an eCommerce business, handles the entire order fulfillment process within the company. In this case, third-party solutions providers are used. Picking and packing orders, storing and managing inventory, and shipping the products are handled by the in-house staff.
For in-house order Fulfillment Service Chicago to be successful, it may be necessary to acquire warehouse space, hire and train staff, purchase equipment, and software, and pay for insurance.
For small or new businesses working with a tight budget, fulfilling in-house can be a good choice.
Third-party logistics, or 3PL, fulfillment warehouses, and fulfillment centers are somewhat interchangeable terms. Going with third-party logistics means that you’re outsourcing your order fulfillment. 3PL companies provide similar or the same services as order fulfillment companies such as:
Warehousing – You rent storage for your products in a warehouse instead of owning them. The 3PL company is responsible for accepting stock, inspecting the inventory, labeling, and managing the inventory system. The inventory must be stored in a logical, orderly manner and closely tracked so that orders can ship them without any delays. That warehouse typically stores products for multiple companies.
Inventory management – The company takes care of stock and product tracking. Your products are received and placed into inventory by warehouse employees who will inspect the merchandise, handle labeling, and manage the inventory system.
Picking and packing – The 3PL staff fills orders by picking and packing them. Pick and pack, as the name implies, is a two-part strategy:
Pick – Pick involves working from a prepared list of items selected from the warehouse inventory. Detailed attention is necessary to ensure the correct quantities of each chosen item because the order might include multiples of the same product.
Pack – After the pick part of the process is complete; the order moves on to the pack stage. Care during packing ensures that the items go into the correct box before shipment.
Kitting – Kitting involves grouping and packaging separate but related items together as one unit by combining assembly lines with pick and pack. Through kitting, related individual articles combine into ready-to-ship packages, known as kits. Shipping and receiving
Freight shipping – FTL and LTL – A 3PL has agreements with multiple carriers to deliver orders to your customers.
Reverse logistics (returns) – Reverse logistics relates to return policy. Returned items are inspected and either thrown away or resold.
These companies provide all the services required to outsource your fulfillment.
Which type of Fulfillment Service is right for me?
Start-up businesses or those with unusual packaging requirements often handle fulfillment in-house. Businesses that are scaling up quickly and have the financial means to do so typically lean toward third-party warehousing and fulfillment. Many logistics companies store inventory, pack, and ship orders.
Benefits of using third-party logistics
The key benefit to using third-party logistics (3PL) is that you don’t have to handle the details yourself. There are other benefits as well:
Long-term leases can be avoided
Renting warehouse space signifies a long-term commitment. It restricts quick scaling and locks a business into a storage space for a more extended period.
Reduce staff requirements
Fulfilling your orders requires hiring staff as you scale. Logistics companies have trained shipping personnel and can scale to your needs with ease.
Utilizing a 3PL for outsourced fulfillment services means benefiting from their efficiencies and leveraging their purchasing arrangements on packaging and shipping costs.
How Fulfillment Service Chicago by BFC Can Help Your Business
Here are some key benefits to the fulfillment model we practice at BFC:
Reduces cost of goods sold: Businesses can take advantage of wholesale pricing when products are purchased upfront or in larger quantities. Lower upfront costs translate to higher profit margins.
Logistics operations control: You can select a fulfillment company more tailored to the needs of your customers.
Wider range of product sourcing: Products can be sourced more easily from multiple manufacturers.
Order fulfillment time improves: Selecting a logistics service with more strategic warehouse locations means that orders are delivered more quickly.
Returns processed more efficiently: The same 3PL that ships items can provide customer service and handle returns.
When to Switch to Outsourced Fulfillment Service Chicago
It’s challenging to know when to make the switch from in-house to outsourced fulfillment. Many companies that have started by fulfilling their own orders add a third-party solution as they scale. Some signs indicate when to start considering outsourcing.
If sales fluctuate throughout the year, it is not cost-effective to run and staff your warehouse. Unexpected sales increases can be challenging to deal with in-house and could jeopardize your delivery commitments. A logistics company handles these types of fluctuations regularly and will be able to meet your needs.
Consuming Too Much Time
Fulfillment can be highly time-consuming, especially when a company is growing. As a business owner, you need to focus your attention on that growth. When fulfillment requires more of your time than growing your business, outsourcing should be strongly considered.
Depending on the direction of your growth, your company’s expansion may overtake your current infrastructure before you can effect changes.
3PL’s are well equipped to handle the expansion of your customer base. This is accomplished by utilizing multiple locations and adjusting fulfillment.
Choosing a fulfillment services provider
How do you know which one is the best choice for your company?
Each fulfillment company has a specified focus. Find one that closely relates to the business you are running. This is especially necessary for eCommerce stores because their needs are unique and specific.
Some fulfillment services offer advanced technology. Smart replenishment indicates which SKUs need restocking based on a variety of information.
Data and analytics
Using fulfillment services as another data point can help you stay tuned to your business by providing customer data and end-to-end delivery tracking.
Consider More than the Cost
Quality should be a more significant consideration than price. Price matters, but finding the right company that is the best fit is equally as important.
Consider multiple options and compare rates, but remember that price should only be one of many factors in your decision. Get started today!