Fulfillment Key Terms
Make sense of the various aspects of fulfillmentFulfillment is the broad area of service that starts at product manufacturing and generally ends when the product is in the hands of the consumer. There are many steps in the process, including storage and shipping of the product, either individually or in bulk. With today's computer technology, fulfillment can also cover online orders, returns, refunds, rebates and order tracking. In some cases, different companies may take an active role in supply chain management, while in other cases, one firm will handle all areas.
KittingYou can use kitting to refer to the process of pick-and-pack fulfillment, but generally kitting has one or more differences from pick-and-pack-kitting can involve some form of light assembly of a product. Some manufacturers use the term to refer to assembling a group of items that, together, form a unit that typically sells in that form, rather than random or isolated items.
Literature fulfillmentLiterature fulfillment may differ from that of other products because the company providing the fulfillment may print documents on demand as needed, rather than stock products in a warehouse. Of course, you can apply the traditional method of fulfillment to literature, whereby the fulfillment company has a quantity of preprinted literature products on hand, but today's computer technology often makes print-on-demand fulfillment more cost effective for literature products.
Order takingSome fulfillment companies actually take orders for their customers. These orders can arrive in many forms: an order from a web page, a call to a toll-free phone number, faxed orders or orders mailed using the postal service. Fulfillment services can process orders that arrive in all of these ways, so you have many options for how your orders can arrive from your customers.
ReturnsWhen a customer decides to return an item, it can go directly back to the manufacturing company, or it can go to a fulfillment company. The details of this process can be tedious, so companies can opt to have a fulfillment company handle this part of the process. In some cases, you can re-package and re-sell returned items under a refurbished or discounted title.
Refunds and rebatesCompanies generally issue a refund when a consumer returns a product, especially if the product was defective. You can give rebates as an incentive to purchasing, usually during a specific time period or under specific conditions, such as buying two items together. Fulfillment companies can provide services of processing requests for refunds or rebates, making sure they qualify for the offer and handling all of the paperwork or electronic transactions required.
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