Mailing & Fulfillment Special Report — Getting Started In Fulfillment
There is a tendency for printers new in the fulfillment business to find fringe applications, which require either special software or additional capabilities. These applications include product fulfillment, e-commerce and other applications not associated with the material printed for the customer. The primary reason for a printer to enter the fulfillment business should be to keep the presses running and the development of the customer as a partner.
The survey previously referenced also revealed that customers on fulfillment programs show a growth in print volume—and at higher margins. This is a good reason to keep your sales personnel focused on the literature fulfillment projects and programs.
Step 2: Selecting the Right Software. It is extremely important that printing establishments select the correct software for their applications and company strategy.
The fulfillment industry is fortunate to have five very competent and experienced vendors providing fulfillment software. Each of these vendors meets the criteria of understanding the back end of the business. A true test of fulfillment software lies in its ability to guide in the management of inventory and to provide the correct tools to provide world-class inventory accuracy.
Following are the names of the five fulfillment software vendors that are also Mailing & Fulfillment Service Association (MFSA) members. More information can be found on each vendor by browsing the MFSA Website at www.mfsanet.org.
Vendor | Software Offering
Software Marketing Associates | Pro-Mail, version 5.0
Streamline Solutions | Printstream
InterlinkOne | ilinkone, version 8
Virtual Systems | 3PF Manager
Direct Edje | Direct Response
Each of these software packages has specific strengths, and I suggest you plan to visit their booths at the upcoming Graph Expo & Converting Expo exhibition in October for more detailed product demonstrations.
Step 3: Fulfillment Facility. Ideally, the fulfillment facility should be located separately from the printing and, possibly, the mailing facility. The primary reason is that these facilities are very successful in buildings with eight-foot ceilings and two dock doors. A fulfillment facility should have at least 20-foot-clear ceiling heights to allow installation of racking, which will hold up to four pallets high.