Whether they know it or not, every printer is already involved in executing some type of fulfillment services. They may not call it fulfillment, may not promote the service, may not charge for it, but every piece of printed material has to be packed and shipped somewhere. Fulfillment services...
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The steps involved can be overwhelming, performed like a tightly choreographed dance number. One misstep, and everything falls. Complemar, which is ISO 9000 certified and MFSA accredited company, uses a Six Sigma approach to insure that the “process is done correctly; there are many places within that process that it could break down,” notes Whitman.
While fulfillment involves a series of parts necessary to get the project out the door—hand assembly, pick/pack and ship, warehousing, customer service, and information technology—there’s one metric that’s absolute essential to control: Inventory accuracy.” “If you tell a client you have 55,000 pieces you better have 55,000,” notes Quinn. “The primary reason companies change fulfillment vendors is because of inventory accuracy.”
Adds Quinn, “Inventory control starts at the back door; in a printing co. the lowest paid employee is the guy doing receiving and shipping. That’s not the guy you would hire to do receiving for a fulfillment service. The customer service expectations are entirely different.”
Perhaps the biggest difference is in the company mindset. “The fulfillment business is about being a support for another marketing organization,” says Quinn. “You become part of their business; you have their inventory, you communicate with their salespeople, maybe even their clients.”
Adds Quinn, “if you are printer, you are a vendor; if you’re in fulfillment, you’re a partner.”