Mailing/Fulfillment Resources -- Posting Positive Results
The automaker engages the printing company to store 250,000 "Welcome" packages targeted to buyers of one of its mid-range models. The packages, enough to support one year's sales, were printed and assembled by an overseas supplier, who ships them to the U.S. graphic communications company.
Each business day, the U.S. graphic communications company receives the names of 1,000 car buyers who must be mailed a package. It downloads the names, laser prints and applies 1,000 mailing addresses, and presents the boxes to the U.S. Postal Service.
A subset of pick-and-pack is kitting and assembly, which involves the assembly of packages for a customer. Continuing with the automaker example, the client asks the printer to assemble a package for its upscale model, only 25,000 of which are sold per year. The package includes a printed operating manual, including customized information such as the specific features of the particular vehicle purchases, and personalized with the names of the buyer and the dealer. Also included in the package may be promotional items.
In this scenario, some printers may print all of the collateral in-house, while others might outsource some or all of it. As a fulfillment provider, however, the printer is responsible for making sure the kit is complete, accurate and mailed on time.
Pre-packing some items helps speed the fulfillment process, but the degree to which a kit can be prepacked depends on the amount of customization and personalization required, Basiliere points out.
* Customer support and information management. This area of fulfillment often entails interaction with the customer and its customers. Customer support services range from the basic to the complex.
"Basic customer support might entail having the printing company call upscale auto buyers on behalf of the automaker to ensure the welcome package was received and to thank them for their business," he says. "In this scenario, if the auto buyer has a problem, the printer's call center system should be capable of transferring calls directly to the phone number of the general manager of the dealership that made the sale in question."