How do you go about finding a fulfillment center that’s reliable and efficient enough to ensure the smooth running of your business operations?
Let’s take a look at the common ways people go about finding FCs, using contemporary fulfillment directories, and the factors you should consider when deciding to hire an FC.
Obviously, the idea isn’t to hand you a list of names but to equip you with the sources and the knowledge you need to find the best FCs for your business.
So, let’s get down to it!
There are a few different ways that you can go about finding fulfillment centers. The most common way is to use online searches. Google searches reveal the FCs that have worked significantly to rank higher. But we all know better marketing doesn’t necessarily mean better service.
Secondly, if you want a list of names, there are a number of online directories that list fulfillment centers, such as the Better Business Bureau or the National Association of Wholesale Distributors.
Another way to find a fulfillment center is to ask other businesses in your industry for recommendations. Chances are, they’ve had to use a fulfillment center at some point and can give you some good names to check out.
You can also check out online review sites like Yelp or Google Reviews to see what others have said about different fulfillment centers.
Finally, you can always contact the fulfillment center directly and inquire about their services. This is a great way to get a feel for the company and whether or not they would be a good fit for your business.
Izba offers the largest fulfillment directory that features FC profiles on the Izba Exchange, a platform that connects brands with fulfillment providers. Izba offers brands using its Match Me feature to get a curated list of 5 providers with free introductions handled by expert supply chain consultants
To find fulfillment centers on the Izba Exchange, businesses can search by location, product or industry type, or names as well. Izba also offers a map view of providers, so businesses can see which fulfillment centers are in their area.
Once a business finds a few potential providers, they can request quotes and read reviews from other businesses to help them make their final decision.
The first step is to understand your needs and develop a list of criteria that you want your fulfillment center to meet. You’ll have to define what perfect order fulfillment looks like for your business.
Once you have a good understanding of what you need, you can start researching different providers.
There are a few key things to keep in mind when researching fulfillment centers:
Where is the fulfillment center located? If you have customers in multiple countries, you’ll need a provider with global reach. If most of your customers are in the same country, then a local provider may be a better option.
What services does the provider offer? Make sure they offer the services that you need, such as warehousing, pick and pack, shipping, returns management, etc.
What shipping methods does the provider support? If you use unique or specialized shipping methods (e.g., white glove delivery), make sure the provider can accommodate your needs.
Can the provider scale up or down to meet changing demands? This is important if you have seasonal spikes in orders or are expecting rapid growth in the near future.
Once you have decided on the right partner, you need to keep measuring fulfillment performance. Since there is no perfect solution that can take care of everything for you, improvement and optimization will continue to be an evolutionary process as your business scales further.as your business scales further.
Other than measuring performance and using tools like Capabl, you want to make sure that you are on the same page with your FC about everything.
Whether it’s a matter of carrier choice, route or risk management, or any other nuance of logistics and delivery operations that you want working in your favor, make sure that you and FC are in agreement.
There are a few things that you can do to make sure of this.
First, take the time to really get to know the staff at the fulfillment center. Ask them questions about their experience and what they think of the services offered. You should also find out how long they have been in business and what their success rate is.
A well-established professional relationship with your FC contact can get you transparency and courtesies in times of need.
Second, take a look at the facility itself. Is it clean and well-organized? Do they have the infrastructure, i.e., the manpower and technology to handle your orders? Are the agents assigned to you open and communicative?
Third, ask around for recommendations. Talk to other businesses in your industry and see who they use for their fulfillment needs. This can give you some great insight into which centers are the best fit for your business.
Fourth, get a free quote from the center. This will give you an idea of what it will cost to use their services and whether or not they are within your budget.
Fifth, read online reviews. See what others have said about their experience with the center. This can be very helpful in making a decision about whether or not to use them.
Unless you fall in love with your fulfillment center, you probably shouldn’t hire them.
When it comes to fulfillment, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The right fulfillment center for your business will depend on a number of factors, including your product mix, order volume, shipping methods, and more.
Fortunately, there are consultants and experts that can help. Feel free to get in touch with us and we’ll make sure your fulfillment operations are top-tier!