A lot of companies outsource warehousing services for various reasons but mostly because it saves them time and money. The main objective of a warehouse is to provide a location where growing demands for products can be addressed. There are different types of warehouses such as public, private and contract warehouses.
It is imperative for the business to make sure that the warehouse services offered are going to match all their needs. At one point, a business establishment might need to outsource the services of a fulfillment center. A business that specializes in retail and wholesale operations will benefit greatly from this kind of center.
This is because the fulfillment centers focus primarily on storage of products, handling, and distribution of the final product. You should make sure that the company you select is reliable and can be trusted. This will ensure that you are in a position to meet your client’s expectation to deliver goods in good condition, safely and on time. Important services that you should look out for in a fulfillment center are:
- Storage facilities should be available for different kinds of items whether they are perishable or fragile. Perishable goods are considered to be volatile and depending on the specific item, it goes bad if it is not stored properly. The fulfillment center must have vital handling equipment like conveyor belts, docking doors, scanners, and forklifts. You should note that if your products require special handling and storage requirements you might have to pay a specified fee.
- Order processing all orders from clients are passed to the fulfillment centers which then ensure that it is delivered to the right client. With the increased use of internet, a lot of companies adopt online processing system whereby clients can place orders online. This system allows the customer to check the status of their orders by using a tracking number. However, different companies have different policies when it comes to order processing and you should make sure you understand these policies. This will ensure that your clients are also informed about policies so that they can receive their orders in a timely manner. The turnaround time is important so that the client can know when to expect their delivery and what to expect if it is delayed.
- Shipping and handling saving money is a major concern for any kind of business and through a fulfillment center, you can decrease your shipping and handling costs. Labor is one of the highest expenses that most companies are faced with especially when products need to be packed and shipped. Even when there are no products to be shipped and business is slow, you will still need to pay your workers. Paying employees so that they can be available when you need them is a huge expense.
Obviously, there are some companies that assign other responsibilities to the employees so that they can have some work to do. This will lead to a significant drop in efficiency and productivity since not all workers will be able to multitask. A fulfillment center will remove the need for shipping employees which not only cut shipping costs but save the business money. Since this is the one thing the center specializes in, they are very efficient leaving you to concentrate on other things.
- Product returns there are times when the client is not satisfied with the product that they receive or receive the wrong product. There is a demand for flexibility in such a scenario to allow the customer to return the product to the seller. The fulfillment center acts as the products return centers and then you can decide whether you will send a different product or issue a refund.
There is a lot of work involved in product returns because it has to be inspected manually. The results should be documented with details of recommendations and findings. This is because the returned product has to be shipped back to your company for appropriate disposition.
You should note that return products should be handled with the same urgency and care as the original order. Manufacturers actually track return rates of their products to improve efficiency in production and ensure that it is the best possible quality.