Whether in retail or food and beverage, handling a business’s order fulfillment, inventory, and delivery transport needs is not a simple task, even when a business is internationally world class. It gets complicated handling these functions, but what is more is that such business lack the space and capacity to manage and execute order fulfillment.
The natural solution is to invest in extended storage, otherwise known as a warehousing services. In addition to storing inventory, some warehousing companies also offer fulfillment services which make the entire process much easier. Let’s take a deeper look at the idea behind warehousing and fulfillment services for the modern day retailer.
Functions of a Warehousing and Fulfillment Service Provider
A company that offers both warehousing and fulfillment services perform the following two functions:
Warehousing is exactly what it sounds like: storing your inventories at a designated space in the warehouse. The company you select will receive the delivery of your cargo on your behalf and store them safely. These warehouses often have hundreds of thousands of square feet of storage space. Also, they take responsibilities of the received cargoes.
Next is the fulfillment function. Keep in mind that not all warehousing companies offer this service as well. Regardless, when a company offers fulfillment services, it acts as an agent on your behalf. In other words, suppose that you have received an order for a certain amount of a certain product from a buyer. All you would need to do then is to notify your fulfillment service provider of the order and they will take care of the whole thing for you. So obviously when the same company performs both functions, the whole process becomes much easier.
We often fail to realize that we are in business for the long haul, not just for the present and near future, and that often affects our not-so-long-term decisions. Timeliness in order fulfillment is one of the greatest assets a business can have when investing in logistics and supply chain solutions.
The Value of Outsourced Warehousing And Fulfillment for Supply Chain Management
Now that we understand the concept of warehousing and fulfillment better, let us take a look at the roles these approaches play in supply chain management.
- You can eliminate the need for keeping the upkeep of storage in check. In addition, you can separate actual business from storing, logistics and distribution functions.
- Many distribution related expense can be reduced drastically, if not completely. Thus, the business starts to save money.
- All the aspects of the business become more lubricated. Since all your storage related jobs are handled by experts who specialize in these functions alone, related processes become more efficient.
- In addition, as mentioned earlier, warehousing and fulfillment makes your services more time efficient by reducing your response period to current and future orders.
- You also do not need to handle seasonal orders, which can get complicated if not handled by a trained professional.
Choosing a Solid Warehousing And Fulfillment Service Provider
Obviously these functions are helpful for certain business models, but there are a few things that you must consider before accepting a provider.
- Size of the warehouse. In this case the bigger, USUALLY, the better.
- Experience. The types of customers they have served.
- Clarity of costs. There should not be any hidden expenses.
- Storage limits, both minimum and maximum, if there is any.
- Coverage. They must bear responsibilities for any damage during the storage period and distribution process.
- Ease of access to your storage space. Modern companies will always let you check your inventory conditions online.
- Finally, their location. If you’re company is based in Illinois, finding a centrally located distribution center, such as a logistics warehouse in Peoria, IL will be a key consideration.
Remember, you do not simply need a warehousing and fulfillment company, you need a solid one. We hope these ideas, concepts, and tips will help you find the right logistics, warehousing and fulfillment service provider to help acellerate your business’ operations.