Having a supply chain operate efficiently is integral to the success of a business-- no matter what industry you may be in, but it can be particularly important (and painstaking) for manufacturers.
Getting a product out to a consumer is a delicate dance, and both fulfillment and distribution needs to be handled with precision. In order to keep from missing step, it's important to use the best technology available, perfect your operations planning, and make it all come together with the right logistics tools.
Start With the Best Technology
A couple of decades ago, the geographically constrained markets for consumer goods made supply chain management much easier for a business to deal with in-house.
As a result, many small to mid-sized companies split the tasks required during fulfillment and delivery among employees who had other primary tasks. But the world has changed. Many people do more shopping online or over the phone than they do in person, and some retailers have even shut down their brick and mortar shops, and exist exclusively online, selling products to consumers all over the country and even across the world.
With these changes, technology needed to be put into place that would help everyone involved-- from retail staff to business partners to consumers-- could all keep track of what was happening with a package at any given point. Installing software on the company network was a start, but the technology needed something more to realize its full potential. It needed the cloud.
The wider the distribution area, the more crucial cloud technology becomes. Web-based email, an early example of cloud computing, allowed a person to check their account from any computer and back up important pieces of information without using space on their own hard drive. A quality fulfillment company understands how much more complicated things have become. Goods change hands several times before they get to their final destination, and each player in the process needs to give and receive quality service. There are plenty of move parts that need monitoring, inventory, sales figures, customer or distributor satisfaction and more.
With today's supply chain management software, all this can be handled through a single web-based portal, giving each player access designed to provide them with the information they need to know.
Develop a Plan and Stick with It
Even if you are on top of the latest consumer trends, without the ability to execute a plan, your fulfillment and distribution will likely fall short. Each piece of the puzzle needs to be planned out-- managing orders, organizing the warehouse, and developing an efficient transportation management system-- so that both your retail outlets and ecommerce customers get their packages as quickly as possible.
The complexity of fulfillment becomes even more apparent when you factor in the need to track customer satisfaction, perform market research, and provide customer support. A good plan or, rather, several good plans are necessary.
It can be a challenge for many businesses to manage all of these little details in-house, which is why the development and execution of fulfillment processes are frequently outsourced to a company that is an expert at coming up with a plan and is strategically located to provide prompt delivery to customers.
Keep it Together with Logistics
At the end of the day, technology and strategy must come together like a well oiled machine. Fulfillment and distribution of orders isn't an easy thing, but you need it to appear that way to your customers. That means the various components of fulfillment and distribution-- Set-up and management of your online storefront, managing of payments, handling of orders, coordination of shipping-- must integrate seamlessly to keep customers happy.
For many businesses, it would be detrimental to manage all of these tasks alone. The overhead and time required would divert resource away from other critical business functions like product development.
An experience fulfillment provider, on the other hand, is able to focus on perfecting these processes.
And when you partner with a team like Aero, you get experience and a centralization, with facilities near Cincinnati, Ohio, that allows for quick distribution across the country. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you make the most of your business.