Fulfillment center: a unique e-commerce solution
With changes in the world and technology in the last ten years, the way of working has changed drastically, especially with the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic, which is why the need for fulfillment centers has appeared. Businesses have increasingly turned to the digital world and online sales which has greatly increased the need for product delivery. In addition to the need for storage space, companies have increasingly begun to look for so-called fulfillment centers that will provide them with overall logistics.
What is a fulfillment center?
The center for the handling of orders, better known as the fulfillment center, is part of the supply chain. It serves as a hub for all logistics processes related to the delivery of products from the seller to the buyer. As its name suggests, it refers to the entire process of fulfilling an order. This includes picking up and processing the order as well as packing and shipping. Companies usually use the center to receive, process, and fulfill orders. Thus it serves as a reference point for many companies for easier management of logistics business processes. This efficient and economical approach to the preparation and processing of online orders allows e-shops to relieve themselves and focus on more important aspects of the business.
How does a fulfillment center work?
To make it easier for orders to be delivered safely and on time, several operations are performed at the fulfillment center. The e-commerce inventory is stored in the center where the entire range is prepared and packaged and ultimately sent to the customer. Although more commonly used for small and medium-sized businesses and retail, such centers can also handle a larger volume of orders for B2B businesses. This usually applies to a much larger quantity of products that are sent to a large retailer. It also refers to business customer orders (B2C), which are sent directly to the home of an individual consumer. After the customer contacts the staff of the fulfillment center, they deliver the products, and the staff takes care of storage and shipping. This enables the optimization of time, saving money, resources, and space capacities.
Advantages of using a fulfillment center
It is necessary to distinguish between the terms warehouse and fulfillment center. A warehouse refers to a place where stocks are exclusively stored. The fulfillment center includes a wide range of services and jobs. Although the fulfillment center has a storage component, i.e. product storage, its main goal is the quick delivery of stock.
The fulfillment center frees space
If we are not talking about a larger company, managing and maintaining physical space is not an ideal solution. It requires a lot of investment. To avoid the additional financial burden of finding and arranging space and hiring the workforce that will maintain it, many stores leave the challenges of stockpiling and warehousing logistics to professional staff. Fulfillment services facilitate the daily packing of boxes, which is especially important at a time of increased workload and orders. Whether they specialize in retail or wholesale, fulfillment center employees save time and reduce logistics around packing and shipping inventory. This leaves e-commerce owners more time to grow their businesses.
Focus on the bigger picture
Although warehousing is not a demanding activity, it is a time-consuming scope of work. Managers, directors, and other people in similar roles should focus their work energy on the bigger picture and business development. However, in smaller organizations, it often happens that they spend hours on operational tasks dealing with the user experience and the preparation and delivery of orders. The Fulfillment Center helps to avoid such a situation and returns the focus to strategic topics such as marketing, sales, and business development.
Inbound and outbound logistics can often be challenging due to a variety of unforeseen circumstances that may arise in the process. Employees of the fulfillment center are faced with such tasks on a daily basis. Order processing, inventory management, product returns, and similar operations they meet every day. In addition, they are professionals who regularly communicate with external suppliers, negotiate with carriers, couriers, and courier services and thus provide a more favorable service. Therefore, especially for smaller organizations, everyday tasks are often easier to leave to professional staff. Another advantage is certainly the ability to receive and send orders from around the world. Fulfillment centers are mostly internationally networked and competent in terms of understanding the rules and regulations of other countries.
Automated storage and fulfillment center
Unlike retail stores where this is not usually the case, in fulfillment centers, each step is done automatically and documented in real-time by automated systems. This allows e-shops real-time product status feedback. Notification automatically notifies the customer about the product status. Upon delivery, tracking data is returned to the e-store and shared with the customer. This approach is especially useful in cases of seasonal oscillations. Namely, in some parts of the year, there will be a need for an increased volume of orders. In the second part of the year, however, it may be reduced. The Fulfillment Center is there to ease such challenges and provide greater scalability.
Easier inventory management
Employees of the fulfillment center receive stocks, sort them and place the products on appropriate shelves or pallets. Unlike warehousing, the goal of the fulfillment center is inventory management and faster delivery of orders. Thanks to the increased volume of online shopping in the last few years, many businesses have expanded the scope of their e-shops. This has resulted in a larger volume of work, as well as difficulty in finding storage space. To address this problem and ensure uninterrupted product delivery, many have embraced the possibility of leasing real estate. Easier inventory management means simpler management of packaging, replacements, and returns. All of that is in a center that offers 24/7 support via email or phone.
Comprehensive fulfillment solution for better results
The Storage and Product Preparation Center provides a comprehensive warehousing and inventory management service and leaves room for retail managers to focus on more specific tasks. In addition, professional staff and automated product management will provide professional service and take your business to the next level. More about fulfillment services you can find out in our video. In case you are in need of this service or a customized e-commerce service, contact us for advice or support.