What Is Fulfillment in Logistics?
Fulfillment logistics refers to certain steps in fulfilling customer orders. It often goes hand in hand with order fulfillment as the final phases of the supply chain, including:
- Storing products in a warehouse
- Picking products from shelves
- Packing boxes for shipment
- Communication with customers
- Transportation of products
- On-time delivery to customers
- Tracking inventory levels
- Processing returns
Effective fulfillment logistics helps keep deliveries on time, which is important for customer satisfaction. An ecommerce fulfillment provider could offer even more services to support these activities, such as taking customer credit card payments, reordering products when inventory gets low, and providing customer service.
As your company grows and you receive ever-larger volumes of orders, you might consider a third-party logistics fulfillment company. Firms like Elite OPS can take over fulfillment activities for you, leaving you and your team free to focus on innovation, profit management, marketing, and the like.
What Are the Steps of Order Fulfillment?
The best way to manage order fulfillment in logistics is to break it down into stages, such as:
- Receiving: Take shipments of stock, inspect products for damage, store them in a warehouse using a detailed organization system, and maintain products in an inventory management system.
- Storage: Keep track of inventory levels in the warehouse, order more as needed, and keep products safe at the correct temperature or other conditions.
- Order Processing: Pick the correct products off of shelves using an efficient and accurate system, move them to a packing area, inspect them, box them according to requirements, and transport boxes to the shipping area.
- Shipping: Measure and weigh each package, choose between shipping methods (if multiple are available), and send each package.
- Reverse Logistics (Returns): Receive return requests, ensure returns policy is followed, issue refunds, and receive returned inventory.
As you naturally receive more orders or experience order spikes during holidays or sales, any challenges in the stages above become more apparent.
How Can a Third-Party Logistics Company Help With Fulfillment?
Many companies have the stages of order fulfillment automated by an outside 3PL (third-party logistics) firm, which can take over and efficiently complete these tasks for you. Elite OPS, for example, has more than 25 years of experience in order fulfillment, having built reliable processes for each stage that we deploy for our clients. We can:
- Receive your inventory for you
- Store your inventory in a dedicated area of a warehouse, carefully labeled and organized (with plenty of excess space for growing inventory needs)
- Take customer orders for you
- Pick the correct items from inventory
- Pack items into boxes or other packages, using appropriate packing materials for your brand and for the fragility of items
- Create shipping labels
- Send products with an appropriate carrier
- Inform customers of shipment
- Process returns and restock the product (or dispose of it, when appropriate)
Call Elite Ops Today to See How We Can Help You With Your Fulfillment Logistics Needs
If you have been receiving, storing, picking, packing, and shipping products yourself, imagine the relief of allowing an outside, professional firm to automate all this for you—and the extra time and productivity your staff can devote to your primary profit-making activities.
We can also help grow with you as your orders increase, ensure that your customers are satisfied with the speed and accuracy of their orders, and earn our keep by increasing your efficiency (which could increase profitability).