Mailing/Fulfillment Resources -- Posting Positive Results
A printer considering venturing into fulfillment would be well-served by understanding the three basic types of fulfillment and the opportunities and challenges inherent in each, notes fulfillment and mailing expert Pete Basiliere, author of the new book, Diversifying With Mailing & Fulfillment Services: Unlocking Hidden Profit Potential. In the book, which provides a comprehensive guide to developing and implementing profitable mailing and fulfillment services, Basiliere defines the three main fulfillment types as follows:
* Finished goods storage involves printed and/or bound items that will be delivered to customers or to another supplier over time. This service often deals with items that are produced in large quantities that the client knows it will use eventually. Typically, to save money through more efficient printing, bindery and possibly manual assembly operations, the customer orders the items and agrees via a purchase order or contract to take and pay for the balance of the job over time. The storage offering may or may not include print management programs.
"A number of printers that provide this type of fulfillment offer programs that essentially reduce the customer's print buying process to either a 'catalog' ordering system or a combination of standard and custom printing," Basiliere notes. "For instance, some items, such as letterhead, may be printed and stored. Others, such as #10 mailing envelopes, are stored as blanks and imprinted on-demand."
A typical scenario in finished goods storage would be when a graphic communications company prints, folds and binds 250,000 operating manuals of a particular automobile model for an automobile manufacturer client. The client periodically orders as a many manuals as it needs, based on sales.
* Pick-and-pack services involve taking individual items or very small quantities of an item and sending them to the end user. Again, using an automobile manufacturer client as an example, Basiliere describes the following pick-and-pack scenario: