What is Order Fulfillment?
Broadly defined, the term order fulfillment refers to everything a company does between receiving an order from a customer (the point of sale) and placing the product in the customer’s hands. Order fulfillment processes vary widely. A fast food restaurant receives an order, puts the requested food items in a bag, and has delivered them to the customer within about sixty seconds. However, other industries are not quite as quick. Many furniture manufacturers, for example, do not begin making products until after the customer places an order. Because of the intricate design of many furniture pieces, this process takes quite a while, and then the products still have to be delivered. Customers can expect a total order fulfillment time of at least six weeks.
Though every industry operates their order fulfillment operations differently, one thing remains constant: the quicker an order can be delivered, the happier a customer is going to be (assuming quality of the products upon arrival is not an issue). More and more companies are starting to outsource their order fulfillment duties with the goal of expediting deliveries. Commonly, they partner with third party logistics firms. These firms keep a fully stocked inventory of the company’s products and fulfill all orders in a timely manner. The manufacturing company does not have to complete any additional tasks to ensure that the product is delivered properly to the end user.
If your company has room for improvement in the area of order fulfillment, consider discussing your options with a third party logistics firm. Employees of these companies specialize in this area and likely can improve your delivery processes. Focus on what you do best – making and selling your product – and let another company take care of delivering it.