Businesses that grow, often find themselves in the position of making the transition between in-house warehousing, to delegating that portion of their business to a fulfillment company. They will partner with a fulfillment company that will handle staffing; warehousing and order fulfillment at their facility, dealing with the customer to make sure, the product arrives on time and in excellent condition.
What If Something Goes Wrong?
Products that are shipped directly to the customer are expected to arrive on time and in good condition. What happens if there is a problem? I recently purchased an outdoor living set from a retailer. After laying out all the pieces, we noticed that one of the chairs legs and arms did not align properly. It was obvious that they were of another set. We tried to figure out how to make it work, but it was just not possible. We called the store, to see if they had another one so we could just switch the chairs rather than take the whole set back. They were sold out. They told us to call the number on the paper work and tell them the problem. We did call, and were given an email address to send the information. Doing as we were told, we submitted the information, but they replied that we should talk to the store we purchased it from. So back to the store once again, which said contact the main company again. Long story short, we never got anyone to address the problem, or even acknowledge that a problem even existed. Will we ever buy that product again? Absolutely not because they failed to address our problem.
Who Is Responsible?
Ultimately, it all comes down the owner of the store. Bad service, whether it stems from the store or the fulfillment company working for the store, if a customer is unhappy, it is reflected back on the store with lost revenue and a potential for future revenue. Businesses can work closely with the fulfillment company to develop a system of handling complaints, and handling them in a timely manner. Customers understand that mistakes will occasionally happen, but dealing with the issues quickly and resolving the issues, will make the error into a positive experience. There should be a clear and defined process to handle problems. Both the business and the fulfillment company need to agree how each situation will be handled. A customer should not be responsible for working back and forth between the two.
Good Experiences Make Good Customers
When customers are treated well, they become repeat customers. Happy customers love to tell others about their happy endings. Miss the boat, and those same customers will blast you all over the media with negative reviews. And if you are a fulfillment company, when your customer talks to other businesses, they will remember the service you gave or didn’t give to their customer and will review you accordingly.
Avoiding errors in the first place is the best plan, but when they happen, deal with the problem as if your cash flow depended on it. It just might.
Guest blog written by Sam Souvall, President of Anchor 3PL, a full scale third party logistics company based in Utah.
By Will Schneider
There is a long list of items to consider when packaging and shipping your product to customers. And as a small business owner with too many projects on your plate, becoming a packaging and shipping expert may not be in the cards. So to help you out, we’ve compiled to simple and easy tips to use to help streamline the packaging and shipping of your orders. Implementing even one of these tips can, in some cases, make a significant impact.
That’s right….What can you re-use from your very own business or home? If someone ships items to you, can you re-use the boxes? Do the boxes have bubble wrap inside? You can also go to local businesses and ask them for their empty boxes. Also, you might choose USPS to do your shipping and they will often provide you with free shipping supplies. Finding these free options will help cut costs on packaging.
Print your Own Labels
If you have a good printer at home, you can now find many sites that will allow you to customize your own labels and print them. This will save you time and gas money if you have to drive somewhere to have them print them for you or to pick them up. Then talk to your local mail person to see if there’s anything that can be arranged for picking up larger amounts of orders.
Types of Boxes
Remember, the packaging is an extension of the brand that offers a sense of quality. So, while trying to save money on boxes for shipping, also take into account what people will think, what the customer will think and feel when they open the box. Does the box need to be insulated? Is your product fragile? Is your product a fashion statement itself? For instance, if you are shipping a piece of jewelry, you may want to double box it. Have the shipping box, but inside have the jewelry piece boxed in a separate box with your logo on it.
What type of Box should you use?
- Go with standard corrugated shipping boxes for any regular shipping need.
- Consider tucked top boxes for mailing for a cleaner shipping look for packages going to clients
- Create multiple shipping box sizes with multiple-depth shipping boxes
Make an Impact
A recent study of eBay shippers noted that most ship product in a box without even placing any packaging materials inside. While this saves money, it may also be leaving a lasting impression on customers – in a negative way. By showing a little extra care, you can impress your customers, which may lead to further purchases in the future.
Packaging and shipping aren’t the most interesting parts of your business, but they have a big impact on your company’s success. By giving a little more attention to the packaging process, you can save money and leave a lasting impression on customers, which will only help propel your company to further success and sales.
By Carrie Welborn
A fulfillment company works with its clients to provide aide in warehousing and shipping for their business. Some orders may be more intricate to handle than others. Pick-n-Pack is a process that fulfillment companies use to fill their clients orders. The process may include receiving shipments, disassembling them and then reassembling them to be shipped according to the individual requirements of the client.
Take a look at the process:
- Receiving product: This is where a client sends its product to a warehousing facility. The warehouse has the job of deciding where to place the products. It may involve large orders that take up ½ or more of the facility or as small as only a few shelves. Whoever runs the facility needs to have a system to track where the items are located in the warehouse and be able to know if they can handle expansion from that client as his business grows.
- Storage: A facility to house the client’s products secure and well protected. This may include breaking down boxes or pallets for storage and distribution for individual shipments. Having a good management system in place, which may include bar coding, for accuracy and inventory control.
- Picking: This is the process of pulling items from one or more locations to be included with the order that may go to multiple locations. Having a good management system in place, will allow the picker to pull multiple orders from shelves on a single pass. Bar coding, electronic tickets and other tools, help to streamline the process and make the picking more efficient.
- Packing: After picking the products, they are gathered together and placed in boxes or pallets according to the instructions per the clients needs.
- Distribution: The facility works with the delivery systems to make sure your product is delivered to your clients. You are still responsible for the shipping charges. It is important to select facilities, so that their location will allow you to ship to the maximum amount of customers for a minimal shipping cost.
- Confirmation: The Pick and Pack company you use should be able to provide you confirmation of deliver, inventory control, information about how their facility is managed, and how they will be able to deliver and handle in an accurate and timely manner.
A good Pick N Pack company should prevent expenditures for distribution, building needs, equipment, extra technology for implementing and additional staff needed to complete shipping needs without compromising quality and control.
By Will Schneider
Many small to mid sized companies use QuickBooks for their financial and accounting software. There’s a good reason why companies do this – QuickBooks is a very robust and inexpensive software program, making it one of the most widely used options. But as many business owners find out, finding an outsourced pick and pack provider that can integrate with QuickBooks is challenging. In fact, QuickBooks itself isn’t necessarily configured so that it can communicate easily with many of the standard shopping cart solutions. So here are a few tips for making the best software and outsourced service provider decisions for your small business.
- Research which shopping cart companies have “out of the box” integration with QuickBooks. For example, take a look at the major web stores like Volusion, Magento, and Shopify and make sure that they integrate with QuickBooks. When you find a shopping cart solution that links directly with QuickBooks, you save a lot of additional work, and therefore, a lot of additional costs by choosing a solution that already integrates.
- When researching pick and pack alternatives, ask each provider if they have pre-established integration with both the shopping cart that you choose as well as QuickBooks. Many pick and pack companies will tell you that they “can” integrate, but haven’t done so yet. Be very careful when presented this option, as making a connection with these different software programs is time consuming and costly. It’s a much better alternative to find a company that has already built a solution.
And if you need to get connected with companies that have QuickBooks integration capability, please fill out a form on our site and we’ll instantly connect you with companies that can meet your needs.
Pick and Pack Fulfillment
By Will Schneider
Pick and pack fulfillment is a very detail oriented business that requires sophisticated controls and systems in order to achieve the greatest success. Make no mistake about it, companies that rely solely on human interaction will have consistent challenges. Find out why technology is needed and how our site helps you connect with high quality companies.
Pick And Pack Fulfillment Doesn’t Work With Humans Alone
Years ago, before such great technology existed, pick and pack companies relied upon human being to print an order, travel throughout the warehouse, pick an order visually, and then package and ship it. We’d all like to think that this system would work, but the simple fact is that human being make mistakes. For example, an incorrect item can be picked. Or perhaps ground service could be selected for shipping instead of expedited service. But the worst part is that many smaller 3pl companies still rely upon humans instead of technology, which puts your business at risk if you use their service.
Pick and Pack Technology Explained
There are a couple of primary technological components that successful logistics firms use in order to accurately pick and pack customers’ goods for shipment. First, an inventory system is required. This system keeps track of inventory on hand, where it’s located, and order and shipping information. Second, a successful company will also use bar code or other picking technologies. These picking technologies help humans properly select the correct items for any order. With bar code scanners, items are scanned in order to verify the correct product. Other technologies are available to not only assist in the appropriate selection of product, but also the help the employee more quickly locate the items – decreasing pick time and cost of picking and shipping.
PickAndPackCompanies.net Screens Companies
We know that there are still a lot of companies out there that use manual means to pick orders…and this is potentially a recipe for disaster. That’s why we screen pick and pack firms to make sure that they use relevant and up to date technologies and systems to perform at a high level. When you request a quote from us, you’ll be connected with companies that use solid systems and technologies, so you can rest assured that they’ll do a good job for you.
How can Pick & Pack Vendors tailor for the Fashion and Apparel Industry?
By Will Schneider
Pick & Pack Vendors offer cost efficient shipping & warehousing methods for business – including pick and pack for apparel. Vendors that specialize in Fashion and Apparel, provide shipments and storage for flat packed clothing such as T-shirts as well as Garment-On-Hanger (G.O.H) services. So what should you consider when choosing a Vendor?
- Experience – have they done this before? If not, do they have sophisticated systems and clean facilities to be successful? Pick and Pack for Apparel is quite complex, so experience counts.
- Good Security – check out how your merchandise will be protected. Do you need to worry about how it is stored? Protected from damage?
- Computerized – Is the Vendor operating with up-to-date systems for tracking and distribution
- Personalized Service – Will they work with you to meet or exceed your needs. And how willing are they to do so?
- Customer testimonies - how satisfied is there past and existing customers. Any reoccurring problems or complaints? Ask pick and pack apparel companies for references and do your due diligence.
- Staff – Do they have well trained staff?
- Location – can they operate in the areas you need to deliver to
- Organization – How well are they organized, is their location neat, clean?
Our company prides itself in Pre-checking and pre-qualifying its Vendors. We do the work for you, but you are welcome to ask questions and should. In the case of fashion and apparel pick and pack companies, we can connect you with organizations that specialize in this very detail oriented niche.
Are Pick and Pack Fees the only factor when deciding whether or not to use a Pick &Pack Company?
By Carrie Welborn
There’s more to choosing a provider than just looking at pick and pack fees. Price should never be the only deciding factor when choosing any service for businesses. Everything comes down to offering the best product at the most competitive price. How about customer service? Will a Pick and Pack offer your product in a timely manner?
Other things to consider before making a decision:
- Compare Cost - Compare the cost of the service to in house cost
- Quality - Never compromise cost for quality. You want the company you choose to perform as if you were running the company
- What do others say? – Pre-screening should include looking into finances, checking references and rankings
- What do your own customers say? – Feedback you get from your customers will give you a good indication of how well they are performing. If there is a problem you need to know.
- Fees - Do they have minimum pick and pack fees, storage fees, pallet fees.
- Contract - Do they have a long contract. Can you leave whenever you want?
- Loss of Product - How does the company handle situations when merchandise is lost? This can affect your bottom line. Do they have a record of damaged merchandise and how often do they cycle count?
- Software - Are you required to purchase any special software to use their service?
As a Business owner, you have a lot of choices to make regarding your shipping and warehousing needs. In allowing a Pick & Pack to handle your distribution, you are relinquishing control and allowing someone else to take charge. If they are dependable AND cost effective, it may just be what you need to stream line your business and allow you to concentrate on growing your business. So take a look at other critical factors and don’t just make a decision based upon pick and pack fees.