After observing the signs your current fulfillment operations may be in trouble, you are ready to optimize your operations and Get Smart about fulfillment. Logistics is a critical component to your overall business operations. A decision to make any changes to your current processes should not be taken lightly. We’ve gathered 5 beneficial tips to help you find the best fulfillment company for your business' successful fulfillment operations:
1. Define short term and long term goals for your fulfillment operations.
After evaluating your current fulfillment operations, you have pinpointed certain areas where you’d like to see improvements in the short-term and the long-run. Discuss these items when choosing a fulfillment provider to determine what solutions they can provide to help you reach your goals. Short-term goals for your operations may include:
- Cutting down on shipping times and shipping costs
- Increasing order accuracy
- Decreasing customer support response times
Long-term goals for fulfillment may include:
- Lessening the strain on internal departments (accounting, customer service, operations)
- Expanding fulfillment operations into east coast and west coast facilities
2. Determine the level of expertise the fulfillment provider has within your industry.
All fulfillment providers are not the same and neither are their customers. The best fulfillment company for you will be the one that fits your needs. Find out what niche of the retail industry the fulfillment provider works most closely with. Fulfillment centers are equipped to handle certain goods better than others and will let you know where their strengths are. For example, Warehouse A works closely with clothing retailers, Warehouse B works closely with large, heavy goods, and Warehouse C works mostly with small electronics. This means that each of these facilities have greater know-how on special handling-- the warehouse is better equipped to store the products (ex. hanging storage for clothing, ample storage for large goods, secured storage for high-value electronics) and the employees know how to physically handle and package the products better than one which is not accustomed to working with such products.
3. Decide whether your vision and values aligns with the fulfillment provider.
Often overlooked, the mission of a company says a lot about how successful a partnership will be. Remember that when choosing a fulfillment provider, you are looking to create a long-term partnership in which both parties will benefit and grow. Partnering with an order fulfillment company who basis their business model around principles such as continuous advancement, professionalism, and maximizing customer satisfaction reassures your best interests will be looked out for.
4. Assess the level of flexibility and personalization available to you.
This is important, especially for growing businesses whose business model evolves over time. Determine the extent to which accommodations can be made as your business evolves and your order fulfillment needs change.Not all fulfillment providers are capable of accommodating changing needs on short notices, something which is crucial for growing businesses. Large-scale facilities with streamlined operations and abundant resources can better handle stressful situations that will help your growing business succeed.
5. Analyze the level of customer support, communication, and interaction provided from the start.
Take note of the level of support provided to you from the very first inquiry. The first interaction with a provider will give you a glimpse as to what it will be like working with them further down the road.During your inquiry or quote, answer the following questions:
- How quickly did you receive a response?
- How knowledgeable was the representative in answering your questions?
- Did the fulfillment provider take the time to get to know your business?
Keep in mind that open levels of communication is key to a successful transition and day to day operations. Having a dedicated client support team who is committed to getting to know the ins and outs of your particular business and proactive in addressing possible challenges will make all the difference in a truly successful partnership.
Ready to optimize your current fulfillment operations?
Rakuten Super Logistics makes it easy to get started with a free consultation from one of our expert eCommerce fulfillment advisors. With over 15 years of experience helping eCommerce retailers grow and scale their online business, RSL can provide a solution for your order fulfillment needs. Give us a call today and Get Smart about fulfillment.
Rakuten Super Logistics is a leading eCommerce order fulfillment company that provides the scalability, flexibility, and cost savings retailers demand.
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