What does your order fulfillment provider do to earn customer loyalty and elevate your brand reputation? How effectively does your fulfillment provider meet expectations for order accuracy and timeliness? And how do your provider’s processes and practices elevate your profitability?
These are all crucial questions. You can definitely improve warehouse operations by tracking fulfillment warehouse KPIs. There is also more you can examine to evaluate what’s behind the metrics. Whether you are scanning the marketplace for an order fulfillment partner or wondering why your current fulfillment partner’s performance doesn’t seem to measure up, consider these keys to success. You can use the ideas presented here in your planning or your next performance review with a fulfillment partner.
A plan customized to your business
The effort your fulfillment partner puts forth to get to know you, your customer profiles, your products, and your brand makes a difference. No two businesses are the same. Ideal logistics, SLAs, brand positioning, and customer experience expectations can vary. This means a one-size-fits-all approach to your order fulfillment may not pass muster for your business and your customers.
An advantage of choosing a fulfillment partner with deep, diverse expertise is that they know the questions to ask you, and they appreciate the value of learning more. They will take the time to understand your business and build a customized fulfillment plan that allocates right-fit resources, aligns with your needs—and keeps your brand promise.
Processes in place for order accuracy
What drives KPIs like order accuracy and fast delivery? This stems back to processes and supporting technology. Weak systems from a fulfillment provider will never be able to deliver pristine KPIs. So before you set your expectations, ask what technologies a provider applies to ensure near-perfect order accuracy. For example, FIDELITONE’s warehouse management system for order fulfillment accurately allocates and tracks your products, allowing orders to be picked, packed, and shipped quickly and efficiently. Check on how seamlessly technology systems are integrated.
Shipping costs & timing
One reason retailers turn to a fulfillment partner is to cut shipping costs. No matter what you do to monitor the numbers, you can’t keep them in check unless you have a partner who brings you value in the shipping component of your order fulfillment. Value comes in multiple forms. Just ask these questions:
- How competitive are the shipping rates you’re paying?
- Do you benefit from discounts and efficiencies achieved through your partner’s economies of scale?
- Are you achieving 1-2 day fulfillment to nearly all customers?
Where are fulfillment centers located? Shipping zones impact both pricing and timing, so you don’t want to be boxed into a single, inefficient location for your market. Tapping into one or more geographically selected fulfillment centers can save you costs and optimize order timing. A partner with nationally placed, strategically located fulfillment centers can definitely impact your bottom line. Learn more about where to locate fulfillment centers, and see the case study on how bi-coastal fulfillment centers increased the speed to customer while lowering shipping costs.
Real-time visibility is crucial to driving the smart decisions that optimize your business performance. Accurate visibility allows you to manage all aspects of your supply chain. The FIDELITONE Partner Portal, fully specialized for your business needs, provides on-demand visibility into outbound orders, order status details, inbound purchase orders, purchase order details, and real-time metrics to support your success.
Ability to scale
Often, retailers choose to outsource order fulfillment because they’re growing beyond their own bounds and need more robust, cost-effective solutions to keep customers engaged and manage profitability. A high-performing partner will, frankly, expand that demand through excellence in service. Rapid growth can be great for business, but it also puts a brand at risk. When choosing a fulfillment partner, it’s imperative to explore the what-ifs: What if the volume grows at exponential rates? What if the geography ripples out quickly? A partner with a national fulfillment network and the expertise in integrating networks can help you grow seamlessly.
Focus on CX
At FIDELITONE, we believe in doing what we say we’ll do and keeping brand promises. Part of supporting your business is safeguarding the customer experience. Order accuracy and timely delivery are unforgiving customer expectations in today’s marketplace, so you need the systems in place to perfect and protect them. Have you also considered how the experience of unboxing a shipment affects perception of your brand? Watch the video about unboxing and the customer experience.
Buy-in to your success
What’s the difference between a fulfillment service and a fulfillment partnership? A fulfillment partner relationship needs to extend far beyond the initial service contract. A partner buys into your success, continually seeking options to innovate for your brand, reduce costs, improve speed, and more. At FIDELITONE, our proven process for dynamic improvement is called the Path to Loyalty™.
AT FIDELITONE, we believe perfection in order fulfillment takes a team, empowered with leading technologies and robust processes. We’d like to put our team to work for you and earn customer loyalty for your brand. For more information on FIDELITONE's order fulfillment capabilities, contact us online or call us at 800.475.0917.