Benefits Of Choosing A Local Fulfillment Company
Posted On February 12, 2015 by
Companies selling products in volume to an end user, whether to consumers (B2C) or other businesses (B2B), have many considerations to take into account before choosing a fulfillment company to help them fill their product fulfillment needs.
It may seem tempting at first to choose a fulfillment partner based on what may seem to be the lowest cost alternative regardless of location, however, this may turn out to be even more costly for you in the long run. The following are a list of some factors to consider when comparing a local fulfillment company to other options.
If most of your clients are located in the region your company is located in and your fulfillment service is located across country or international, this can result in longer lead times for shipping that in turn increases shipping costs. It may make more sense to start by looking at fulfillment centers located closest to where your largest customer base is centered.
Returns and Credits
You expect your fulfillment partner to run a seamless operation when it comes to handling any returns of damaged merchandise and other issues that inadvertently come up. If they are located thousands of miles away this could result in weeks of resolving the issue and as a result weaken your relationship with your clients or consumers.
Ideally, using a strategic network of fulfillment centers across the United States sounds great right? You get the best of both worlds: Reduced shipping times in each region, convenience of delivering your product to the distribution center, large warehouse storage and quick turnaround time on orders and impressive scalability. The concern with this is that you don’t always know where your inventory will be stored and the cost of partnering with them can be way beyond what your business can handle depending on which stage of growth you are in. These strategic networks have monthly minimums of volume your company would need to meet that may not make the most sense for your business.
Let’s take a look at what advantages your company may gain by using a localized fulfillment strategy. This may turn out to be the most convenient and least costly solution to your clients and consumers if you’ve already determined your customer base is within the same region.
Local Businesses Care About Other Local Businesses
A local fulfillment company will tend to understand local business needs better than a large corporate network. Choosing a center that cares and understands the local environment and needs of your brand will inevitably lead to better customer service, especially if they have experience with the products you specialize in.
Location, Location, Location
Choosing a local fulfillment company that is conveniently located near local interstates and major highways, airports, shipping ports or train depots will ensure your products are delivered expeditiously compared to your competition. You’ll feel more at ease when you are already familiar with their logistic patterns knowing how your product routes to the final destination.
A local provider wants local business and will be willing to provide competitive pricing that works for your budget to build a long lasting relationship and a strong foundation of business in that region.
Convenience and Service
Choosing a local fulfillment center offers you the convenience of visiting their center to learn firsthand how their operation works. Are they technologically proficient? How do they handle orders that need special follow up such as returns? Are they transparent with their processes? It’s one thing to hear them say they offer these services but quite another to witness them in action and see how they execute on their promises. And if a situation arises, you can easily meet with them in person to review and improve upon current processes to serve your specific needs.
Growing With Your Provider
Taking the time to get to know your local fulfillment partner will help educate you on additional services you may need to expand your business at some point. Many fulfillment providers grow their business based on their long-term relationships with growing businesses that choose to work with them. A local provider will be more likely to take a sincere interest in your current products and future plans for expansion. You may start with basic order fulfillment but want to know about the range of other services they offer such as warehousing, shipping, third party logistics, ecommerce, seasonal practices and so on.
We discussed several advantages to working with a local fulfillment house. If you look beyond the nuts and bolts of delivering your product efficiently and it is crucial to focus on the relationship with your fulfillment company. There are a lot more benefits that a partnership can provide. This choice may prove to be the soundest long-term investment for your company.