It is very important to get your products and literature out to your sales channels, to tradeshows, events and customers when they need it. Picking, packing and shipping services that will deliver the correct products and marketing materials to your customers and sales reps precisely when they expect it is a must. So how does this get accomplished?
- Inventory: The key to any fulfillment program is keeping track of the inventory. If you need a product shipped at an exact quantity in a rush, it had better be available. You need to be able to rely on the counts for all your materials.
- Packaging: After you place and order and receive your material you realize that the next key is to make sure that all the items are packaged in a way that eliminates bent corners, broken items and any other damage. This can be accomplished by shrink wrapping loose sheets together, bubble wrapping breakable items and completely filling a box for a tight fit.
- Ease of placing orders: When you are in a hurry and need materials fast, you need to be able to place that order quickly. Having an easy to use order screen and shopping cart will expedite your order process. Use images for easy identification and common descriptions for the materials.
- Ability to make changes on the fly: Sometimes things go wrong and you need to replace an item you have ordered with a different one. Being able to make those changes quickly on the fly is very important. Also under this category are print on demand items. If you have a special offer for a show, you can tailor your message to that show with a print on demand item.
- Reporting: After everything has gone smoothly you need to get reports on the back end to tell you not just what your inventory levels are, but who ordered what, how much they spent, and so on. The availability of detailed reports is a must. They can allow you to keep track of budgets, usage and be able to project future use so that you are never behind.
In summary, Fulfillment can be a real challenge if not done properly. Taking the time to get it right before you start can really pay off. It does not matter if you are fulfilling promo items or just literature, each piece is important and should be counted and protected so that the customers and sales reps get what they need and are able to use each item.
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