Overflow Fulfillment: Getting it Done in Crunch TimeJuly 25, 2011 by Josh Haynes
The Back to School period and the holidays are notoriously stressful and busy times for retailers. It can be extremely difficult to get promotions planned, printed, and to the end user in time for a promotion to start. Since fulfillment is the final cog in the promotion machine, it is imperative for marketing departments and their fulfillment houses to be able to expand capabilities at the drop of a hat. In many cases, using a company with extremely high expertise in the overflow fulfillment arena makes the most sense.
The trick, however, is finding a company that can quickly scale up to meet overflow needs. An experienced and professional fulfillment house can do just that while alleviating headaches and helping marketing departments exceed their goals and expectations. Some important keys to making the overflow fulfillment process happen efficiently are as follows:
- Provide a list of expected inventory. This can be a Product Notification (PN), an email list, or even a simple phone call.
- Provide a list of all recipients. This list can be provided in a number of file formats via e-mail. Fulfillment companies that go the extra mile will even take a fax.
- Supply a kitting list and/or packing list that explains which locations are to receive which version of the collateral materials. This list should contain size dimensions (if not already provided on the PN).
Upon receiving a final kit list or PN, a fulfillment company well versed in overflow projects should be able to take it from there. Packing materials can be ordered and ready before the product arrives and purchased with a client account or the fulfillment company account. Same goes for shipping. A typical project can be turned around in 24 – 48 hours through multiple shifts or the addition of staff and labor.
Time often compresses in the Back to School and Holiday seasons, but all is not lost if there are a few hiccups in the planning and printing stages. Fulfillment resources can always be expanded to make up for extra demand or a loss of time. Assuming, of course, you have a good overflow fulfillment company in your back pocket.