Finding the perfect fulfillment service for your small- to medium-sized business isn’t an easy process. There’s a lot to consider, including the services that various 3rd party logistics companies have available and, of course, pricing. But how do you get a quote for fulfillment services?
Basic Fulfillment Services
When you’re gathering quotes for logistic services, the first questions that any company will have will revolve around your warehousing, packing and shipping needs. They’ll need to know how many units you ship each month, how many items you intend to store in the warehouse, the number of individual SKUs that you’ll use and what type of software you’re currently using for your eCommerce and inventory control. This information makes it easy for the fulfillment house to determine if it can meet your needs and if so, how much labor and warehouse real estate will be involved in keeping your products flowing.
If you happen to experience a sharp seasonal swing, or only need the bulk of their services during certain parts of the year, it’s important to mention that in order to get the most accurate quote. After all, if the logistics company you’re interviewing believes you typically store considerably more items all year long, your quote will be higher than the real cost. In the same way, giving a low figure may mean that your quote comes in much lower than the actual expense.
If you need services beyond the basic, you’ll want to make sure you specify those when you request a quote from the logistics companies you contact. Fulfillment houses may offer a number of extra services, including:
- Print shop services
- Literature fulfillment
- Payment processing
- Auto-shipped orders
- Multichannel order management
- Reverse logistics
- Mail services
Mixing and matching these additional services can help create the business you’ve always dreamed of having. Maybe you always wanted to do direct mail, but never had the time to design and send out catalogs, or you’ve been wanting to put your product in front of mobile phone users but didn’t know how — a 3rd party logistics company can do all of this and more, you need only ask.
When it comes down to it, a 3PL can be a huge boon to your company, especially if your staff has been overworked or you’re trying to maintain a one-man operation. Adding a 3PL into the mix means having a whole team of employees at your disposal without all the added costs of maintaining salaries and workspaces. Instead of paying for help all the time, you simply borrow the employees of your fulfillment partner — provided you have the right information to get an accurate quote.