Fulfillment centers: 7 tips to consider when choosing a partner for outsourcing logistics

Imagine that you run an e-shop with regular growth in order volumes or want to expand into the international market. In both cases, storage, technical or transport options need to be strengthened.

This is just a preview of how to handle the storm of orders. For a short time, this can be done without strengthening them, but sooner or later there will be delays or cancellations of orders, which will eventually affect your business.

Customers are increasingly sensitive to delivery time and logistics quality, as well as to problems encountered during the order. As many as 87 percent of them say the delivery time influences their decision to buy from the seller again in the future.

How to solve these logistics problems? Increasingly popular is the outsourcing of logistics to third parties, which will ensure storage and packaging or efficient delivery of products to customers. Therefore, there are several fulfillment centers on the market, which offer options to solve logistics delays.

However, their range of services is different, and choosing the right partner sometimes depends on the smallest details. In the article, we describe what your fulfillment partner should guarantee and why you should be careful when choosing him. 

1. Large capacities and suitable storage locations

When outsourcing logistics, it is necessary to pay attention to whether the 3PL fulfillment company has a sufficient staff, area, or technological capacities for warehouses. If the service provider cannot guarantee the swift storage of required volumes of goods, then it may not be the right choice for your business.

One of the impulses to outsource logistics is often to solve problems with insufficient storage capacity. In addition, the location of warehouses is an equally important factor

It is necessary to consider what markets you want to reach with your business or what goals you have for the future. The advantageous location of warehouses in several countries can therefore resolve potential goals to expand in upcoming years. 

You also need to keep in mind the conditions under which your products are stored. That is, whether the warehouse is in Class A and at the same time is insulated, heated, but also sufficiently secured.

2. System compatibility

Leaving responsibility for goods to a third party does not mean that you will no longer have an overview of your stocks, orders, and shipments. The information system, which should be linked to the e-shop software via the API, helps monitor how the products are doing. 

The fulfillment partner should set up a user-friendly information system. The client can easily navigate around it and, without problems, find out as much information about his goods and services as possible.

Through information systems, among other things, are moving large volumes of goods. Therefore, it does not hurt to inform about how the company works on its improvement and also on the error rate of the fulfillment process.

Web portals such as Amazon, Shopify, Shoptet, and others are also common sales methods. Compatibility with these sales channels is therefore a necessity in some cases when choosing a fulfillment partner.

3. Large volumes for good prices by automatization

If the company does not move forward with modernization, then it has an impact on its competitiveness with other companies. And this is especially true when it comes to investments in technology and automation.

In the end, they make possible to manage the larger volumes of packages with financial savings while processing the goods. There are also several peaks of the season during the year, and automated processes often decide on their smooth handling.

The regular investments of the fulfillment company are thus the key to the smooth running of the services, or even their better prices.

4. Fast delivery for a better customer experience

The fact that the goods are quickly prepared and packaged is ultimately useless if delivery takes several days. One of the biggest trends, and more or less a necessity, for the seller, is to ensure delivery within 24 to 48 hours.

Therefore, regular transport lines, which depart daily to several countries around the world, decide. However, if the fulfillment partner does not have its own transport line to one of the important countries, the solution is cooperation and agreements with several global courier companies.

Also, saving on transport is one of the reasons, why to decide outsource logistics. With the high volumes of shipments that the fulfillment company handles on a daily basis, they have the most advantageous prices set with several courier companies.

Returned or unclaimed packages are also a large part of the e-commerce environment. The plus point when choosing a service provider is therefore the securing and managing of all returned shipments.

5. Extra services, less worries

Offering only basic fulfillment services may not suit every e-commerce seller. Some e-shops need additional services, like labelling, branding packaging, managing cash on delivery, returns and claims, the addition of various promotional materials, and much more.

E-commerce businesses should therefore consider not only the expected development of the business, but also how its needs will change in the future. The complexity of 3PL’s services, as well as their flexibility, is thus important in the context of emerging market trends.

6. Perfect process, minimal errors

A misconfigured process may not save you as much time as you expected. When negotiating conditions with fulfillment centers, also look at what the company requires from you when outsourcing, how you need to get involved in the process, and what it contains.

With more gaps in the process, the chance of shipment errors is higher. Although the company has almost a zero error rate in shipments, it should be taken into account that minor errors in delivery may occur.

It does not have to be a mistake on the part of the fulfillment center, but a mistake by the courier company.

In this case, it is important to see how the company can deal with the errors. Thus, especially in how they deal with the customer and the client, what compensation they offer for damaged goods, and more.

7. The experience and size of the company show a lot

The longer a company operates in the market, the more likely it is to have advantageous agreements with several suppliers, an improved system, or secured technology for more efficient processes. In addition, long-term presence in the market means a lot of experience with different client needs, which can help you more fluently transition to the new system.

The size of the company is equally important, whether in terms of area or client portfolio. For a company that can process large volumes of orders on a daily basis, it is a guarantee of relieving logistics worries for the client, but also reducing its costs.

Complex services of the Fulfillment by FHB Group

We have been offering our services for more than 15 years, during which time we have developed into the largest fulfillment center in Central Europe. Our growth is averaging a double every year, which is caused by the expanding portfolio of e-commerce clients.

Our references are top warehouses, which are conveniently located and provide sufficient area and good solutions for storing goods. We regularly expand and improve our capacities, thanks to which we are able to accept new clients and ensure that the goods are safe and meet the best requirements.

We regularly invest in automatization and informatization. Automated processes, such as the world’s fastest packaging machine, allow us to work quickly and flawlessly with the package, complemented by our internal information system called Kika.

It has the goods under its control from storage to delivery, while we also offer plugins for several sales applications, such as Amazon, Shoptet, and others. Thanks to the use of modern technology, the error rate of the package is almost zero.

Our regular line hauls to several European countries support a fast and flawless process with packages in warehouses. So, we can ensure delivery in 24 or 48 hours.

We also deliver packages to other countries in the world without any problems, as we cooperate with almost all courier companies. Thanks to many years of experience and a large volume of managed deliveries, we have agreed the best possible conditions with them.

Our long-term goal is to provide complex services for the benefit of our clients’ needs. Our service team helps them with questions or individual needs.

Thanks to our services, the client can get the logistics out of his head, while the process works flawlessly for him, and he can devote himself fully to what his business excels at.

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