7 Tips for B2B Fulfillment and Logistics
B2B fulfillment consists of orders going from one business to another, typically with higher quantities of product per order or shipments of larger, heavier product. This is the typical difference of B2B fulfillment versus B2C fulfillment, which is smaller orders, typically smaller packaging, but more frequent orders.
In this article, we cover what B2B fulfillment consists of and seven tips to optimize your B2B fulfillment and logistics process to ensure you have the right 3PL provider in place to help you save time and money.
What is B2B Fulfillment and Logistics?
B2B Fulfillment focuses on fulfilling orders that are to other businesses or retailers. These shipments are typically much larger in quantity of product per order and are in bulk as the receiving business is usually stocking up on product to resell to their customers in various channels. B2B shipments are typically transported via freight given the large amount of cargo but can be shipped via parcel for smaller orders.
7 Tips for Improving your B2B Fulfillment
The B2B fulfillment process is critical to your business. Not only does it directly impact your cash flow and P&L, but it also impacts your customer relationship. Your customer is dependent on your B2B fulfillment process to then fulfill their orders to their end customer. Ensure you have the right 3PL partner in place for you B2B fulfillment and they check each of the below boxes:
· Reduce Costs and Shipping Time with Zone Skipping & LTL Freight. This is a must. Especially if you are shipping across multiple zones. If your cargo does not fill an entire truck consistently, use a 3PL service provider than enables LTL freight to save you money. If you ship across multiple zones, be sure to ask about zone skipping and what type of discounts you can receive. Your bottom line (and CEO/owner) will thank you for it.
· Tracking inventory and shipments. You cannot improve what you cannot measure, and you cannot speak accurately to anything in transit without tracking. Your 3PL should have GPS tracking in place for you, your customer, and your supply chain so you know, and they know where everything is at all times. Your B2B customer will want to know where their large shipment is at daily, be sure to provide this ability.
· Customer Care & Service is a Premium. We know . . .this is the case with most things. Customer service is king. But does your 3PL provide quick response? Do they work with you through challenges? Be sure that you are incredibly happy with your B2B fulfillment provider.
· Inventory Management & Warehousing Best Practices. This coincides with tracking to an extent – but your B2B fulfillment provider should offer you a wide array of storage options (racking, stacking, etc.), a powerful WMS to track your inventory real time, and place your inventory wisely within their warehouse to make it easy to pick and pack.
· Ensure Your B2B Fulfillment Provider has its Own Fleet. This is not an absolute need unless you want to save money. If your B2B fulfillment partner does not have their own fleet for freight shipments, they are outsourcing to another provider – adding another cost and margin to each shipment of yours. Having a 3PL with their own fleet will save you time and money on each shipment.
· EDI Compliance. This is especially needed for B2B fulfillment with retailers. The amount of paperwork that must be filed for each shipment can be extensive. EDI compliance makes the process more automated, paperless, and therefore faster and more efficient across the board as documents and transactions can be exchanged in a standard electronic format.
· Supply Chain Forecasting & Flexibility. We have listed this last, but it is definitely not least. Your B2B customers rely on your ability to forecast, fulfill, and be flexible for their changing demand needs. Your 3PL service provider must work with you on your supply chain, your forecasting, and be flexible when handling complex or surprising challenges. A true 3PL partner will work closely with you to ensure accuracy in inventory management and forecasting, and especially in handling challenges that undoubtedly will arise.
B2B order fulfillment and order processing are key elements to your business and your customer experience. Advanced order processing systems and automation's can help, as can the right partner for your logistics needs. If you have any questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We offer the best practices in warehousing, trucking, and order fulfillment to save you time and money on your order process and supply chain.