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Selecting a Fulfillment Center For Growing Businesses

May 9, 2013

Warehouse.

For new businesses starting out it makes sense to keep costs down in the first year of business.  In that first year you are feeling out the business trends, learning about your customers, and manufacturing small amounts of product to meet basic needs.  As the year passes and you have an idea of forecasting next year’s needs, you can also start to plan for warehousing.  If you anticipate an increase in sales then you need to be able to fulfill your customer orders.  Your physical location will probably be too small to hold all of the items, so you will have to select the best fulfillment center to suit your needs.

There are a lot of benefits to using fulfillment centers.  They will store your product until it is ordered.  Once an order comes in, they will handle the shipping, whether to a business location or directly to your customer.  Product fulfillment services also handle any perishable items, ensuring top quality of your items when shipped.  Using a fulfillment center will allow you to manufacture a larger volume of product, offering you a significant cost savings in production.  This will also allow you to service a larger number of customers without having to worry about backorders and lags in fulfilling orders.        

Your biggest decision will be in selecting a product fulfillment service.  There are a large number of options available, and the best way to determine the best of the product fulfillment companies is to tour each one your best options and meet with their representatives.  You should ask questions regarding the cost of the service, volume they can handle, picking and packing methods, and shipping methods.  Once the questions are answered to your satisfaction then you can make your best decision. 

It would be wise to visit your top choice several times.  Warehouse and fulfillment services are critical for customer service, so if your selected warehouse drops the ball and is slow in fulfilling orders, or even worse, damages your product while they are warehousing it, the poor service will reflect on your business, not the fulfillment center, so you want to make sure that your decision is right the first time.  It will be significantly more costly for you to try to recapture lost business. 

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