Considerations for Selecting the Right Fulfillment Partner

It may be time to find a new fulfillment partner. Whether, your operation has grown too large for you to handle, or you want to expand into new markets, or you want to explore new services that other fulfillment partners offer. With so many companies offering online shopping, it’s important to choose a partner that can get your product shipped fast and efficiently. Here are considerations for selecting the right fulfillment partner.

Fulfillment Partner Photo

Speed and Efficiency

After an online purchase is made, customers want to receive their product as soon as possible. The time it takes for a customer to have the product in-hand is determined by two criteria:

  1. The order processing time.
  2. The distance between where the processing takes place and the final destination.

Typically, once the online order is confirmed, it routes to the fulfillment center. Most of the time, this is done automatically through an integration between a cart system (such as Shopify or WooCommerce) and a warehouse management system (WMS). Once the order is received, a label is printed, the order is picked in the warehouse and moved onto a conveyor for packaging. As it moves down the conveyor, it goes to a staging area or directly onto the UPS or Fedex truck.

Depending on how far the distance, travel time from the fulfillment center to the customer’s front door is often the longest. But a professional fulfillment partner like Evans, speeds up the first half of the order processing time by streamlining its operations so that your customers receive the right order, on time.

Technology Features

A fulfillment partner should act as an extension of your business by utilizing technology to provide real-time visibility of the fulfillment process. Track inventory levels, labor hours, and order pick rates can provide valuable insight on where operational improvements can be made. Technologies such as warehouse management systems, RFID labeling, and internal data portals make it easy to gain business insights and trends. Evans has recently launched a new business intelligence tool, evans365, to give customers visibility of their account activity and to spot long-term trends.

Value-added Options

Some products may require more customization before it goes out the door. Whether, it requires assembly, inspection, or branded packaging, it is likely built into the order processing system. A 3PL like Evans, has the equipment and knowledge to customize your product and provide extra care before final delivery.

Flexibility/Scalability

Every business has different needs. Businesses that are subject to seasonal fluctuations benefit greatly from working with a fulfillment partner that can scale quickly. Outsourcing to a fulfillment partner gives you more space and labor to grow. This ability to provide extra resources during the busiest time of the year, and then scale back as business slows down, optimizes your business.

Returns Management/Reverse Logistics

Reverse logistics is returning a product from the end-user back to the supplier, manufacturer, or distributor. A fulfillment partner like Evans makes the returns process as easy and seamless as the initial delivery. This includes customer support to track the returns, inspection and processing the return into inventory.

Cost

When working with a fulfillment center you want to make sure the benefits outweigh the cost of the services. By having a main hub for your products to be stored, assembled, packaged, and shipped, you save money by operating under one roof.  3PLs allow you to take advantage of bulk shipping rates from their relationships with Fedex, USPS and UPS. These competitive small parcel rates are volume-based and usually cannot be obtained on your own.

Fulfillment is Easier with Evans

Evans Distribution Systems has been a third-party logistics provider in the Metro Detroit area since 1929. With a goal of making the logistics process as easy as possible, we are driven by helping customers grow their business. This mindset has created a culture of hard work and innovation. To learn more about working with Evans as your fulfillment partner, fill out our Request a Quote form or email us at sales@evansdist.com. Discover why it’s easier with Evans.

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