A fulfillment service, also sometimes called product fulfillment or order fulfillment, refers to the process in which a company takes over some or all functions needed to ship, transfer or convey an item, product or even service to a customer.
On its clients’ behalf, a fulfillment company typically provides services that include warehousing/storing, packaging, shipping, tracking and customer service. For many businesses of all sizes, outsourcing fulfillment services to a third-party fulfillment company makes a lot of sense in terms of time, money and service.
Services Provided by a Fulfillment Company
A fulfillment company can provide a number of services to its client, including the following:
Storage and Warehousing
Part of the product fulfillment service could include a storage and warehouse component. The fulfillment company provides space to store items until an order is received. The storage facilities, for example, can handle products that require refrigeration, as well as temperature-sensitive ones that need to be stored in air-conditioned facilities.
Pick and Pack Services
Pick and pack is the process where the fulfillment service workers select items and prepare them for shipping. The company has employees on staff called “pickers” who receive an order manifest listing the items to be shipped. The pickers then move throughout the warehouse to the precise location where each item is stored and pull the required quantity from the shelves.
Once the picker takes the items back to the packing station, a packer makes sure that the order is complete and packs and addresses the package for shipping. This process will typically include preparing a packing slip as part of the order fulfillment process.
A packing slip is not always required to pick contents for an order once it has been received. There are other methods that can be used to identify products for shipping, such as BINGTY strings and Pick to Light, that allow pickers to find items quickly and efficiently.
The fulfillment company will likely not use its own courier services because of the size of the services required to deliver packages over a large area. Instead, companies will outsource shipping to a courier or a delivery company. Due to the volume of packages that it handles, a company providing product fulfillment services can often negotiate a volume discount from a large courier or delivery service and then pass the savings along to its clients.
For more on different services a fulfillment company offers, read Part 2 of this post.