Things To Consider When Looking For Companies That Provide Pick And Pack Services
The pick and pack system is a full-service operation offered by warehousing and distribution providers to companies. Pick and pack is where the distribution company handles all aspects of the fulfilment process after the company delivers the items in their stock to the warehouse. These items are stored for easy access and when they are ordered they are repackaged and delivered to customers.
There is a wide choice of pick and pack distribution companies available. When you are choosing a pick and pack company for your fulfilment needs it is important to consider a few key factors.
- Does the Provider Offer a Complete Service?
When you are looking for a pick and pack service you are searching for a service that takes all of the distribution process out of your hands, so it goes without saying that the process needs to be complete. Think about whether you can safely assume that the system will take control from the point of order until the product is delivered. You should look further if the solution doesn’t provide assurances that this is the case.
- How Will Stock be Transferred to the Warehouse?
Packaging company systems differ, and you need to know how you are going to move your stock to the warehouse in order to be picked and packed. Will the system suit your requirements? Is the cost good? You need to work out how the costs will be affected by changes in stock volume, too.
- What Are the Shipping Options?
Optimising shipping is a fine art and you need to find out how the pick and pack service intends to do it. You want to offer a range of delivery options to customers but you need to know that, behind the scenes, the delivery is taking place economically. Make sure you understand how delivery is decided based on couriers, size of van, etc. Of course, you also need to know about shipping prices. If you want to be able to offer low-cost shipping to your customers you need to know that you are paying a good price for the system in the first place.
- How Are Items Packed?
Consider how the packaging of your items will be regarded by your customers. Check what packaging the provider uses and whether it suits your needs. You need to ensure that all items are delivered safely but you should also consider minimising packaging waste.
- How Do I Monitor the Service?
Find out how you keep a track of your stock and your deliveries. Look at the systems in place for inventory management and make sure that while the system is automatic on your part you also have insight over the entire process, which will keep the whole thing accountable.
WHAT IS A PICK AND PACK WAREHOUSE?
A pick and pack warehouse is an establishment where products can be stored for your business. Those working at the warehouse will then ensure that all of the correct items are picked and packaged, ensuring they are then sent to the right customers. There are a lot of different types of picking and packing and different ways that these warehouses can be set up, including zone packing, batch packing, and wave packing.
Pick and Pack Fulfillment Services: Choosing the Right Provider for You
Running a business takes a lot of time, especially when it comes to shipping orders. You want to optimize that area to keep all the customers coming. One good way to do that efficiently is to realize that you need to hire pick and pack fulfillment services to manage your processes. Here’s how a good pick and pack service can help you save time:
Choosing the Right Service Provider
Fulfillment is an arduous process when you’ve got plenty of orders. While doing the work yourself is easy when there are only a few orders, it’s different when there’s a lot. This is when a pick and pack service comes in.
You simply have to give the company your inventory then they do the picking, packing, and shipping of your sold item. You benefit from this because your items will ship quicker. There’s also free time to do other tasks. Aside from that, you can avoid mistakes in the shipping process. This means happy customers. You also get the chance to grow your business more.
Choosing the right company is easy when you’ve done some research. The basic, of course, is to know how they do their pick, pack, and shipping service. Some items need special provisions like foods, so better take note of how they handle such a job. You should also ask if they process returns and if they provide international shipping.
Basic things you should look at when you’re thinking of collaborating with a 3PL company.
The provided services
The first thing that you need to be sure of is that your potential partner will actually be able to handle all the things that your store requires. The basics – warehousing, order fulfillment, and shipping – are pretty much a given in all cases, but each business is unique, and you may have some special requirements that you’d like to see taken care of. Depending on the products you sell, you’ll need a fulfillment partner that’s ready to be creative and adapt to your needs, or even offer some non-standard solutions.
Working with a fulfillment company has the added bonus that it can also help you effortlessly monitor your stock levels – you’ll always see how much of each product you have left in the warehouse. And your partner will usually let you know when the stock is running low and it’s time to replenish it to ensure smooth order flow.
Although it’s extremely important to find a fulfillment partner that provides affordable services, remember that the cheapest option is not always the best. When it comes to pricing, the first thing you should check is what you’d actually be billed for, not the prices themselves. Are there some recurring monthly or annual fees? Are there any per-order or per-transaction fees that come on top of that?
When comparing the pricing of different companies, your own predictions about the future growth of your store will play an important role. This will affect not only the per-order costs, but also your storage costs. So pay attention to your own calculations – the more accurate they are, the more precisely you’ll be able to evaluate the expenses a 3PL company would create.
Location of fulfillment centers
Nowadays we’re used to receiving our orders in record times – it’s not unusual for a product to already be delivered the next day after it was ordered. Naturally, an important element in this process is the proximity of the fulfillment center – the closer it is to your customers, the shorter the distance the goods have to travel. For example, the ecommerce giant Amazon has over 200 facilities around the USA alone to maintain its world-class delivery system.
If you sell worldwide, a major bonus that a fulfillment company can provide for you is a warehouse outside the US. Although shipping companies have designed routes that can get a product from one corner of the world to the other in less than a day, this often comes at a considerable cost. Shipping from somewhere closer will mean huge benefits both in terms of speed and price.
A huge advantage of collaborating with a 3PL company is access to better shipping prices than the ones that you can get for yourself. The larger fulfillment companies have negotiated special shipping rates, usually thanks to the large number of orders that they handle. By working with them, your business can also enjoy these rates. So when you’re looking at potential fulfillment partners also pay attention to theirs – their carriers and the range of shipping options they bring to the table.
This can help you considerably when it comes to converting your store’s visitors into buyers – shipping prices are often cited among the top reasons for cart abandonment. In a 2016 Statista research, 63% of digital shoppers named expensive shipping as the reason for not going through with a purchase. The figure fell to 54% in 2017, but it was still the top cause of cart abandonment.
Of course, no one ever wants to run into problems, but it’s simply the way of the world that they do appear. This is why customer support plays an extremely important role in any ecommerce store. If something happens to your customer’s order, you have to be sure that you’ll be able to get through to the fulfillment company and solve the issue.
Find out how you can get in touch with your fulfillment company – there’s always email, but do they have a phone number you can call in emergencies? Or maybe they have a live chat option for all of us who hate talking on the phone?
And it’s not just a matter of how – it’s also important to find out when they’re accessible. A problem can appear at any time of the day – but will you be able to reach your partner at the right moment? This is especially important if you’re not located in the same time zone. While an hour here or there won’t make much of a difference, it can be a big deal if you’re located on two separate continents.
Don’t forget to test this element while doing your research – check how quickly different fulfillment companies respond to your questions via various channels and how satisfied you are with their answers.
It goes without saying that the most important thing in your store is your product. But it’s also crucial to build your brand, and here even a small detail like a special message on the package that the customer receives can go a very long way.
Typically, 3PL companies are white label, and their branding doesn’t appear on the packages that customers receive. This means that your customers won’t know that you weren’t the one to physically pack and ship out the order – but it can look like it came straight from you because fulfillment companies offer different ways to customize packages.
So it’s worth studying the type of branding options that your potential partner offers, like the already mentioned possibility to add a special message or your logo on the package. There are also some companies that will use your custom packaging materials for your orders if you send it to them. But make sure to check if this comes with added costs.