• services-img4Fulfillment
    Kelly Direct assembles, warehouses and ships merchandise and promotional products all over the world.  We have managed thousands of fulfillment projects and shipped millions of items...   More>>
  • Warehousing and Logistics
    Kelly Direct manages dozens of highly-vetted fulfillment and freight companies in the US with millions of square feet of warehouse space and excellent resources in Mexico, Canada and Europe..... More>>
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    Shipping and Supplies
    Kelly Direct's volume discounts on shipping, packaging and other materials dramatically cut costs... More>>
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    Management and Consulting
    Kelly Direct applies decades of experience to manage individual projects, ongoing fulfillment programs and corporate-wide supply chain initiatives...  More>>
Pre-Planning for Fulfillment Projects

Fulfillment pricing goes beyond the cost of actual assembly of the items to be shipped.  Here are some suggestions of things to review and clarify with your warehouse before finalizing the client estimate.  Doing so will help lower production costs, give you a reality check on pricing and avoid surprises on the loading dock and your invoice.

1.  THINK SKU, not category

Identify the quantity of each unique SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) instead of a generic category, as in "t-shirts". A t-shirt project with sizing would be with XS/S/M/XL/2XL, would be five SKUs, not one.

2.  THINK about hand movements

The fulfillment company needs to identify every hand movement and the number of seconds each unit will take on the production line.  Do polybags need to be removed? Do zippers need to be opened and closed?   Make sure your supplier ships the product in the most efficient manner for receiving and assembly on the back end.

3.    THINK about materials

Additional materials (cartons, envelopes etc.) are often overlooked in fulfillment bids.  When asking for an estimate, provide your warehouse with specific dimensions so they can select the proper packaging to ensure protection, least-cost shipping and best presentation of the client's brand.

4.  THINK about shipping

Shipping is the highest cost of fulfillment, often equaling or surpassing the cost of the production itself.   Ask your client for their shipping rates so you can compare to the warehouse rates. The larger fulfillment companies negotiate exceedingly good rates from UPS and Fed Ex (up to 70% off retail) which will greatly benefit your client.

6.  THINK about what happens AFTER the items have shipped

There may be undeliverable shipments, consumer product returns, post-shipment assessorial fees and the costs to return or store excess merchandise.

And finally.....

7.  DON'T THINK all fulfillment companies are the same.

Warehouses vary greatly in terms of capabilities, IT sophistication, payment processing systems, overhead, labor pool and proximity to Port and ship-to destinations.  It is extremely important to work with the warehouse that is an expert in the nuances of your program while offering the best service and lowest cost.