Everything you wanted to know about Fulfilment Services
Whether you’re thinking of starting an E-commerce business or already have one, you probably think about warehousing, shipping, and fulfilment.
The true work of a business owner is not the actual “selling” part, but rather the “supply chain management” part.
There are three ways this can happen:
- You’re the dropshipper who receives wholesale products and sells them at retail prices.
- You control your own business and get to decide how you fulfill orders.
- You can work with a 3PL company that will handle your warehousing and fulfilment.
Shipping your own orders is flexible and cheap. For these reasons, businesses that are just starting out or businesses with unique product packaging needs, often handle their own logistics.
But if you have a growing business, you may want to hire a distribution service to ensure your goods are getting from the warehouse to the consumers as quickly as possible.
We are one of the companies that will store, pack, and ship your products.
3PL companies are highly specialised. If you want to ensure that your business can move product into the hands of customers, let us as the professionals ship it.
What are fulfilment services?
Fulfilment services is the practice of completing e-commerce transactions on behalf of the merchant or service provider. The merchant or service provider sells the customer a product at a fixed price, but collects payment from the customer and ships the product directly to the customer.
Fulfilment services may also ship products using various forms of drop shipping. Where fulfilment services differ from the traditional retailer is in that they fulfil the customer’s orders, rather than the customer fulfiling the merchant’s orders. Fulfilment services are often preferred by companies that lack their own shipping infrastructure or that want to avoid the overhead of maintaining their own warehouse.
Fulfilment services typically specialise in certain products, such as games, books, toys, or electronics, often using a warehouse to store and ship these goods.
Fulfilment services can range from large, corporate businesses to small, independent retailers. The latter often specialise in a particular niche, such as only selling a particular game or book or selling only products for children.
One of the biggest players in the fulfilment services market is the Amazon.com. Amazon Fulfilment centre’s employ over 100,000 workers worldwide, and as of October 2021, had more than 3 million customers.
In 2012, Amazon announced an expansion of its fulfilment services offering, called Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA), which allows third-party sellers to use Amazon’s fulfilment infrastructure. This expansion allowed sellers to use Amazon’s fulfilment services without maintaining their own warehouse and without meeting Amazon’s minimum order requirements. Previously, sellers who fulfilled their own orders had to meet the minimum order requirements and use their own warehouse or drop-ship items directly from Amazon.
The benefits of using third-party logistics
As a logistics company, you know a lot about shipping. You probably ship a lot, but you probably don’t ship as much as a third-party logistics company does.
A logistics company ships everything. They ship raw materials, finished goods, parts, displays, and just about anything else you can think of.
Because the logistics company has to ship almost everything, it pays a lot of attention to logistics.
For instance, they ship a lot, so they know which carriers are fast, which ones have a good reputation for delivering on time, and which carriers have a bad reputation for losing shipments.
Logistics companies also know a lot about shipping. They know which kinds of shipments are good candidates for a freight forwarder, and which shipments are better handled by a logistics company. Logistics companies keep track of every shipment they make. They know what carrier they used, what service level they used, how much it cost, and how long it took. The logistics company keeps any records it needs to satisfy its customers.
What does the fulfilment process look like?
A lot of the 3PL fulfilment process looks simple. You send a customer an order, the 3PL fulfilment warehouse fulfills it, and then you send the customer an invoice.
But behind the scenes, fulfilment is not so simple. In fact, the 3PL fulfilment process can be complex, even confusing.
To understand how complex the 3PL fulfilment process is, start by looking at two simple parts of the process: packing and shipping.
Packing and shipping are easy. The 3PL fulfilment warehouse puts your order in a box, ships it, and sends an invoice. But what happens when an order comes in that doesn’t fit in the box? When an order comes in that is heavy and needs special handling? What happens when something breaks in the warehouse? The 3PL fulfilment process has to take into account a wide range of possibilities.
Often the 3PL fulfilment warehouse has to use some special packaging or handling. For instance, if you want your box not to be crushed, the 3PL fulfilment warehouse must ensure that the box is sturdy. If you wanted to ship your box in a suitcase, the 3PL fulfilment house has to pack it inside a suitcase. The 3PL fulfilment warehouse has to consider everything, including whether an item is fragile, whether it needs to travel by air, whether it has any special handling requirements, and so on.
When packing and shipping, the 3PL fulfilment warehouse has to work with the customer’s shipping carrier. The 3PL fulfilment warehouse has to work out which carrier to use, what size box to use, and which carrier’s terms and conditions it has to follow.
How to choose a fulfilment services provider
When you pick a 3PL company, you shouldn’t just focus on the rates. Instead, you have to ask: what services does the company provide? How many of the services I need can it handle? How well can it manage my inventory? Does it offer special fulfilment services for my business? Does it offer special services for my business?
Moving forward with CSG3PL fulfilment services
For us, CSG3PL isn’t just a buzzword. It’s what’s helped us grow to a multimillion dollar, 200+ employee business. We’ve done all the R&D, but we’ve found that our 3PL fulfilment services can really help you achieve your business goals.
CSG3PL offers scalable, flexible, and on-demand fulfilment and warehousing services. CSG3PL take the worry out of your supply chain and allow you to focus on your business. We can scale your fulfilment needs up or down as needed. We take customer orders, pick, pack, and ship orders. We can manage inventory for you, including storage and replenishment of stock. We also handle returns, and provide 24/7 support.