A fulfillment service fulfillment center or fulfillment
house is a company specializing in product order fulfillment, on behalf
of the product owner.
Fulfillment house overview
Fulfillment, also known as order fulfillment or product fulfillment, is
the process where by a person or company fulfills their obligations to
send a person an item or product that the person has ordered, purchased,
or requested from the organization.
Fulfillment typically will refer to the services provided by a company
that offers to store, receive the orders, package, and then ship the
ordered item to the end consumer.
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Quality Fulfillment Svc.
Order fulfillment Mailing and Shipping Services for business
Will Handle Low volume and Project Work
Corporate Fulfillment Svc
340 Bryant St, San Francisco, CA
Linda Franklin, Napa, CA
690 Airpark Rd, Napa, CA
3343 Industrial Dr, Santa Rosa, CA
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Standard fulfillment company services
Storage and warehousing
A fulfillment company stores items until an order for the item comes in.
Storage facilities can be prepared for perishable items requiring
refrigeration, temperature sensitive items requiring air conditioning or
heating (such as certain types of chemicals that can break down due to
extreme heat or cold), or typical warehousing protection from the
Third party fulfillment services will often charge a storage fee based
on the product storage requirements and any special handling that may be
A fulfillment company will typically maintain and publish inventory
counts as goods are shipped. Reporting systems can vary by company and
range from simple excel spreadsheets to web-based systems.
Pick and pack services
Pick and Pack is the process of selecting items currently being stored
by the fulfillment company to prep for shipping. Companies have
employees known as "pickers" that will receive an order manifest. These
"pickers" will then wander the warehouse to the location (known as a BIN
or INTERNAL SKU) of the individual items, and pull them from the
warehouse shelves to prep for shipping. With the "picker" taking the
items in the order manifest back to the packing station, another
employee known as a "packer" will then check to make sure all items in
the order manifest are present and then begin the packaging process.
Packaging of the product according to its type is then performed,
optionally, a packaging slip may be attached, and the product is labeled
with address identification of where the item is to be shipped.
A packaging slip may not always be required to accurately pick the
contents of an order. Other methods of product identification exist,
such as Pick to Light, and BINQTY strings, that allow for accurate
picking of items. Such newer methods, allow for an increase in
productivity. However, systems of picking items for shipping will vary
based on variables such as the number of items, and sku diversity of the
goods to be shipped.
It is rare for a fulfillment company to provide its own courier services
due to the size of courier companies. In most cases, the shipping is
outsourced to courier or delivery companies. However, often fulfillment
companies are able to provide larger shipping discounts than smaller
retailers may be able to negotiate on their own merit. This is because
fulfillment service providers ship a high volume of orders every day.
Because of this volume, small parcel carriers such as UPS, DHL, and
FedEx will negotiate a better discount. For smaller, light-weight
parcels, USPS will often be used (typically 1 pound and under).
Outsourcing to a fulfillment house or company
For younger products in infantile stages of development, the producer
may not have adequate storage facilities or the funds to build them.
Fulfillment companies will typically have thousands of available square
footage for storage. If you warehouse your own inventory, you have
additional expenses such as utilities. A fulfillment company is able to
distribute this expense through storage fees they charge to multiple
clients, resulting in a (typically) reasonable storage fee that is
commonly less than an individual company would pay themselves. Storage
fees vary by fulfillment company, however they normally consist of per
item fees, per pallet fees, or dimensional storage fees based on the
volume of space your inventory would occupy.
Unless a producer is shipping thousands of items per month, the producer
will not get the beneficial "bulk" shipping rates available to many
fulfillment companies. The price these companies pay can often deviate
from standard shipping prices by 30% or more. In some
companies, the savings associated with shipping bulk rates provided by
fulfillment companies can outweigh the charges of the fulfillment
company itself. You may also be able to negotiate a
flat-rate for shipping, meaning you pay a single fee based on weight and
service, as opposed to weight, service and destination. This results in
predictable shipping expenses, allowing you to budget for your shipping
Shipping materials costs
Similar in concept to the savings associated with shipping costs,
shipping materials bought in bulk also are purchased at more favorable
rates. When compared to the cost of purchasing supplies for shipping
through retail outlets, savings can amount to 50%. Of
course, this depends on the fulfillment company. Often, fulfillment
companies will include the packaging fee in the cost you pay for
shipping, or per order. This is often how fulfillment providers are able
to quote "free packaging." Most order fulfillment service providers will
make a list of "standard cartons" available to their clients. If your
products do not fit in these packages, you will likely need to provide
your own packaging, or pay an additional fee.
Fulfillment companies typically charge fees per order and per item
shipped. However, there may exist hidden fees associated with
fulfillment duties which could outweigh these costs including the
Receive orders via mail order
Manage continuity (auto-ship) programs
Process credit cards, including multi-pays
Coordinate and insert all bounce back materials (returns)
Prepare documentation for international shipments
Provide all reports as required by client
Inspect returned merchandise
Update customer database for returns
Issue customer credits
Restock undamaged return merchandise
Respond to charge backs
Make bank deposits
Answer customer service phone calls
Respond to all customer e-mail correspondence
"Account processing fees" for invoice payments made via credit card.
Firms looking to outsource their fulfillment may be able to receive
bundled pricing, whereby all fulfillment activities are bundled into a
set price per order fulfilled, often this is associated with orders that
are consistently the same number of items, and the same weight.
Alternatively, may third party fulfillment companies will provide simple
per order, and per item fee structures. In these ways, companies
electing to outsource fulfillment services can more accurately forecast
Fulfillment houses develop intelligent e-Commerce systems to help manage
the many elements within the business. The e-commerce system is
adaptable and is able to integrate into clients ordering system – or
even host the ordering system themselves. They also enable integration
into their respective couriers system – to enable the fulfillment houses
clients live information upon package deliveries.
Fulfillment companies act as the shipping center for their clients'
companies. Should there be errors in shipping process or poor handling
procedures, it will be the client company that receives the bad
reputation, not the fulfillment center.
Product damage or shrinkage
Fulfillment companies will typically not take full responsibility for
product damage unless they are directly responsible, nor will they take
full responsibility for product shrinkage unless it can be proven that
they are directly responsible. This practice will vary depending on the
receiving procedures utilized by the fulfillment house. Typically if a
fulfillment house verifies counts, they will accept a larger
responsibility for the items in their care, however, if they accept
packing lists for supplied inventory as accurate, they will likely not
be as responsible for shrinkage.