Business Solutions: Finding an Ecommerce Order Fulfillment Service

Posted: July 11, 2011 in Growing your Business
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Choosing the right order fulfillment firm for your business is a complex decision making process. Aside from looking into the quality and rates for dispatching, there are other parameters that you need to consider. This can include shipping options, warehouse locations, order volume and so much more. Although most order fulfillment services provide the same basic amenities, you need to look at their own methods of carrying out rates and tasks to find a company that is right for you. Here are some of the factors that you need to consider when choosing order fulfillment services.

  • Location. There are order fulfillment warehouses across the country. It is crucial that you choose a warehouse that is in close proximity to your clients rather than something close to your business.
  • Size. Warehouses range from small businesses that have few employees to corporations like UPS. Select a fulfillment service that can meet the daily order fulfillment needs of your business. If you have orders that spike, then choose a fulfillment center that can work with extra workload and still ship orders on time.
  • Shipping options. Many fulfillment centers offer clients with a wide variety of shipping options. Choose a fulfillment service company that offers your current shipping options and the choices that you want to offer in the near future.
  • Turnaround time. Every fulfillment warehouse implements its own policy on order processing. For instance, there are fulfillment centers that shop orders arriving before a 1pm cut off on the same business day. But if you happen to miss the 1pm deadline, then the order is shipped on the next business day.
  • Order entry. Some of the most common order entry methods include forwarding individual invoices to the warehouse, emailing an excel sheet for the day’s orders and entering each order on the fulfillment center’s online system. Choose a warehouse system that offers an entry method that best meets your company needs and budget.
  • Communication. Select a center that is available through phone or email 24/7. You don’t want to wait for a few hours for a return call or email from the fulfillment center.
  • Error rate. Mistakes do happen. There are times when customer receives wrong items or items shipped to billing addresses instead of the shipping addresses. Ask about their error rate and their process of giving solution to such problems.
  • Costs. Each fulfillment center operates under varying payment schedule. There are companies that use sliding scales and require contracts while there are others who charge per order with no contract. You can also be charged with a base fee to store your entire inventory at a warehouse and additional fee per item or pallet. Have a clear understanding of the costs and the center’s contracts.

Draft a checklist of the features that you want when searching for order fulfillment centers. Check out fulfillment service reviews online to know more about the companies that you are eyeing out. A thorough research on a company will spare you from hiring lame and bad services in the future.

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