What Should You Be Considering Outsourcing Your Fulfillment?
Updated: September 13th, 2021
When it comes to choosing the right fulfillment partner, there’s a lot to consider in order to find the right partner. Fulfillment services can be exactly what your company needs to reach that next level, reach that next milestone. Equally, the wrong choice could set your business back years, you don’t want that.
How can you make sure you’re choosing the right fulfillment center?
In this article, we’re going to discuss exactly what you should be asking yourself before you choose to outsource fulfillment to another company.
(1) Experience Always Matters
Would you ever choose to outsource $20M worth of inventory to a company that don’t have any verifiable experience? Likely not, at least we hope you wouldn’t. If you’re at the point where you need to outsource fulfillment anyway, sounds like you’re making the right choices in your business.
Experience always matters. Your 3PL fulfillment company better have experience and a reputation of excellence in fulfillment. The process of fulfillment is vital to any growing business and you need a 3PL partner you can trust.
Here at Thill, we have 50 years of fulfillment experience. Over the course of 5 decades, we’ve worked with a number of different companies, within different niches and categories. We have a A+ rating with BBB. Of course, these are conditions we want our potential clients to see. We want to share the years of experience we have. If you’re reviewing fulfillment services that don’t share their experience in fulfillment, you better be cautious moving forward.
(2) Location, Location, Location
The locations of your potential 3PL fulfillment company will play a key role in how quick your customers receive their orders. A key to great customer satisfaction is quick shipping. The closer your fulfillment center is to customers, the quicker they’re going to receive their orders. Due to this, you have to be mindful of where those fulfillment locations are.
At Thill, we’ve known this for decades. After all, it’s not rocket science, right? We have fulfillment warehouses strategically placed all over the United States so orders get to your customers fast.
If your customers are in California and you choose a fulfillment center that only has one fulfillment center located in Maine, it’s going to take a long time for your customers to get your products. If not, you’re going to have to spend a lot more on shipping. Either way, the equation doesn’t work.
(3) Processes And Systems
If you’ve spent anytime doing your own fulfillment, you already know how important systems and processes are to your fulfillment. For most of us, this comes with experience. You want a seamless fulfillment process so you can quickly get orders out. The right process and systems equal accuracy too, which is obviously super important in our line of work.
After 50 years of practice, we’ve been able to dial in our fulfillment, warehousing, storage and shipping.
Order management is key and thanks to our own order management software, we have a 99.9 percent accuracy rate in our fulfillment.
(4) Industry Experience
While overall experience is important, industry experience could be a bigger factor. Now, since 1959, we’ve worked within many niches and categories. Our main expertise is ecommerce fulfillment. Even so, we’ve worked with a number of different industries, retail fulfillment being one of them.
When you’re searching for a fulfillment center, keep their industry expertise in mind.
Ask them, what types of industries do you fulfill orders in? Industry expertise is important as a subscription box business would have a different fulfillment process compared to that of an online clothing store.
(5) Software Integrations
Another thing you want to ask your potential 3PL fulfillment center partner is how their integrations, software and reporting works. When it comes to inventory management, you want to make sure their order management software integrates with yours.
We want real-time inventory updates, that’s what our customers at Thill get. If you’re not getting real-time inventory data, you can’t make appropriate decisions.
Our OMS has several integrations that will work with your ecommerce software for fulfillment, ordering and inventory.
- Amazon Fulfillment
- Ebay Fulfillment
- Shopify Fulfillment
- Magento Fulfillment
- WooCommerce Fulfillment
- KickStarter Fulfillment
Before you choose to get any fulfillment services, make sure you ask them about their integrations.
At Thill, we also have data and analytical services so you can get the most out of your data to grow your business.
Lastly, it doesn’t matter how much volume you’re shipping, make sure your fulfillment center can handle returns.
This type of service is often called returns management, but ultimately the fulfillment company handles your returns. Now, there’s a lot of different ways to reduce product returns, but you can’t stop them all. Every business has returns, so you need to make sure you have a process in place for returns just in case your fulfillment center doesn’t offer that service.
Here at Thill, we do offer management for returns. Just saying 🙂
Speaking of fulfillment, our experts are always around to answer any questions you may have. If you’re ready to outsource your fulfillment or have a question, reach out to us at 1-920-967-9201 or you can use our contact form.