Unpacking: Value Added Services in Order Fulfillment
Our recurring “Unpacking” series digs into the deeper meaning of commonly used terms and trends in the supply chain world that prompt a lot of questions. You can read all of the previous entries here.
Today we’re unpacking value-added services and the kind of additional activity that your business can incorporate into this final few miles of the supply chain.
Types of Value Added Services in Order Fulfillment
Almost any activity that improves your product before it leaves the warehouse on its way to a customer could be considered a value-added service. Some are utilized widely across many different industries, while others are highly specialized by niche, or even custom business requirements. Either way, it helps to know what your fulfillment partner can provide, and when you'll need to look elsewhere.
These are some of the commonly requested services (and some less common, but still good to know they're there!):
Kitting: Assembly of gift sets. Insertion of component/repair parts. Preparation of point of sale (POS) displays. Kitting has many diverse components in its own right, which you can read more about here.
Cello/Shrink Wrap: This can be more commonly known as gift wrapping, or also tuck and fold or diamond-end fold wrapping. The approach is effective in terms of both presentation and protection. At Capacity, we have two machines on-site, which allows us to customize wrapping services for a product's specific needs.
Stretch Banding: Applying heat sealable materials around a single, or multiple products, creating a protected and safely packaged bundle. By applying printed film, extra product information can be displayed on the wrapping to facilitate easier handling, sorting, and security.
Labeling: There are all kinds of labeling requirements around different industries, from the common retail UPC (Universal Product Code) labels used in most English language countries to more specialized services like EDI and thermo-labeling. Although it seems a fairly standard requirement, a clearly visible label is one of the most effective ways to drive efficiency and organization through the product distribution and storage process.
Quality Control: Before it goes out the door and off to your customer, you can add extra checks to ensure problems are flagged and resolved. A fulfillment provider can examine your end product for manufacturer defects, lot sampling, logo location, and confirmation, highlighting color match issues, or other issues that you identify as common to the items you sell.
Point of Sale (POS): The creation and/or assembly of POS displays for end-retail stores. The inclusion of targeted and non-targeted marketing materials based on varied POS setups.
Project Planograph: A service that accommodates specific requirements for shipping to stores in display configuration and order, to save the retail store time spent sorting and organizing items post-delivery.
Ink Jet Lot Tracking: Custom printing of inkjet lot tracking and expiration date information on the product, labels, etc.
Armed with the knowledge of what you can request, it's time to confirm who can provide it.
Question and Confirm
The important element here is to clearly spell out the requirements of your products - and product sets - and then confirm the capabilities of your fulfillment provider to meet these needs. Don't be afraid to run through these requirements several times, and request a physical tour/run-through of the process if you need one.
Your product's appearance feeds back on your brand's reputation and directly impacts customer satisfaction. An effective fulfillment partner understands this and will be able to guide you through the most appropriate value-added services for what you sell.
We also like to hear what you’d like to see next, so please get in touch with suggestions!