Eight Factors to Consider Before Selecting a Fulfillment Partner
Independent Retail Industry June 3, 2010
Internet Order Fulfillment
When selecting an Internet Order Fulfillment Partner, potential clients should consider eight critical factors before a final decision is made. At McKenna we position ourselves above the competition by providing continuity and ingenuity in terms of service and standards: our processes will provide the client a "customer centric" shipping experience from the beginning to the end of the life cycle the order fulfillment cycle. How we differentiate ourselves from the competition is by understanding the impact of eight critical factors: Volume, location, TAT (turn-around time), communication methods, rates, order entry method, percentage of error, history and credibility. Evaluating these eight factors when selecting an Internet Order Fulfillment will increase your chances of operating a streamlined and successful internet order fulfillment business model.
1. Order Volume
Recognizing the importance of utilizing full component racking systems, a customized pick and pack Internet Order Fulfillment infrastructure, and a bulk storage area allow any fulfillment partner to onboard small, mid-size, or large inventory based customers with low to high order volume frequencies. At McKenna we have over 300,000 square feet in 4 buildings located in Brampton and Mississauga, and we offer the ability to handle low to high order frequencies in all of our locations.
Selecting an order fulfillment partner with locations that are a few kilometres from airports, major highways, inland ports, major cities and the rail terminals ensure a high turn-around time on orders, and reduced freight costs while reaching maximum customer population.
3. Turn-Around Time
Majority of traditional order cycles ship within a 48 hour to 72 hour timeframe. Internet Order Fulfillment Partners, such as McKenna, are raising the bar and getting the orders to the customers the next day with a same-day shipping option. Increasing turn-around time increases the customer's ability to enjoy and use the product faster, thereby increasing repeat orders and in turn sales!
4. Communication Methods
The development of e-commerce platforms, EDI (Electronic Data Interchange), and online visibility modules such as McKenna's Netview provide the customer the ability to access "real time" inventory moves, status of receiving processes, access to online inventory and activity reports, order tracking and status reports, and much more 24/7, 365 days a year!
Select an internet order fulfillment partner that evaluates and can summarize your business needs in relation to the scope and scale. McKenna has developed our "Needs Assessment tool" that is used as a means to gather information, to facilitate account planning, and used as an incremental selling tool that allows us to base your rates on the specific activity that is relevant to your account.
6. Order Entry Method
Manual order processing options are offered by most 3PL providers. When operating an internet order fulfillment model time is money and the most proficient method is required to get orders to the warehouse floor as soon as possible. EDI, FTP, and CSV are offered by McKenna and are seamless integration tools used to batch large volume orders within minutes. Our Netview system allows clients to enter their own orders providing a sense of control and leading to a reduction in data entry errors.
7. Percentage of Error
Our Order Pick accuracy rates are in excess of 99.7 % compared to the industry average being 99.5%. This is a competitive advantage for you. An internet fulfillment provider should offer solution based technological processes in place to rectify potential errors, such as, inventory management thresholds, pick to light, RFID and voice pick accuracy capabilities to decrease potential errors and to increase customer satisfaction.
8. History and Credibility
Attaining a solid reputation in the logistics industry is not easy. Clients must consider aligning themselves with a partner that will work with you to achieve your goals. Ultimately, many factors are considered, such as, size, reputation, specialization, and client retention rate. McKenna is a mid-sized, 3rd generation, family owned company operating since 1950's. Our longevity in the industry is a testimony to our joint successes.
Selecting an internet order Fulfillment partner is an important decision and it is wise to consider and find out what value add services your potential provider can offer. There are a myriad of variables to consider and they are not limited to the eight factors that have been explored here. Ultimately, you want to partner with a provider that offers flexibility and will adapt to your business needs. Create a checklist and begin to research, analyze, and evaluate what factors you will consider when choosing a "strategic partner".