Start by seeking out an ISO 9001-accredited facility that fulfils for lots of different customers. Insist on a visit to the fulfilment house and go through the supply, stock, order, pick and pack and distribution processes with them. Talk to some of their other customers too. Some fulfilment houses will offer to manage returns for you and even handle your customer service needs – a boon if you’re a small or new enterprise.
An experienced fulfilment house will be giving you the answers before you can ask the awkward questions. How do they want you to supply stock? Can they accommodate supplies in containers, for instance? Make sure your stock is clearly labelled – while most fulfilment houses will sort out the stock for you, they will charge you for their time. So save yourself money and hassle by ensuring goods are supplied sensibly.
Are the premises secure and the staff trustworthy? You’ll want some reassurances, so don’t be afraid to ask.
What happens when your stock levels run low? Do they have systems in place to alert you? This could be the difference between retaining and losing customers.
What about secure packing? Your products may be breakable – the last thing you want is them turning up to the customer in bits.
If you’re involved in clothing, DVDs, charities or exhibitions, then you might want a kitting and collating service to make up goods or packs.
Ultimately, the most costly part of fulfilling customer orders is the distribution. Ensure the distribution provider is offering the lowest possible postage options across the UK as well as worldwide.
Before making your decision on a fulfilment house, make sure you agree prices and check terms and conditions. It’s also worth checking if SLAs are in place, will you get reports regularly, will there be an Account Manager to look after you?
Here at Asendia we offer a complete service fulfilling products, marketing literature and publications. As part of Europe's second largest postal group, we are able to distribute orders across the UK and worldwide with a range of mailing and courier options available.
Our 63,000 sq ft fulfillment house in Bedford can process and dispatch as many as 30,000 products daily at peak times on behalf of businesses all over the UK. We
are ISO9001 and ISO14000-accredited
operate from secure premises
assign dedicated staff to work closely with you during the set up of your fulfillment process
store and stock goods securely
accept goods from suppliers and third parties on your behalf on pallets and in boxes and shipping containers
process orders efficiently using our IT systems to create reports on fulfillment, consumables and stock levels
pick and pack sensitively
employ staff who are rigorously checked
kit and collate
distribute across the world with access to a network of delivery routes as well as to cross-border tax and importing knowledge
provide an Account Manager to specifically look after your business account once it is set up
handle and manage returned goods or mail
provide call centre facilities
process thousands of postal items daily.
If you want more information see http://www.asendia.co.uk/en/services/order-fulfilment-centre/order-fulfilment-overview/ or call us on 01234 84 84 15.
About the author
Catherine Jackson is an NCTJ-qualified journalist and has been a publishing professional for over 30 years, working in newspapers, magazines, and marketing in the education, retail and travel sectors. She has also worked as a freelance copywriter, editor and proofreader before joining Asendia UK as Content Marketing Executive & Copywriter. Google+