Depending upon your perspective, big-box electronics stores either specialize in everything—from DVDs and TVs to household appliances and gaming devices—or absolutely nothing. As a dedicated hobbyist, I’ve concluded the latter. When I was looking to step up my photography game, the guys in the blue shirts just didn’t have the know-how to help me choose my next camera.
Happily, I found the expertise I needed at a specialty camera store in the heart of Boston. An experienced photographer asked me a few simple questions that when answered made the choice obvious. It was a surprising shift for me, but I’m thrilled with my new camera’s performance.
The lesson here? Sometimes it just makes sense to go with a specialty vendor. Many midmarket companies may rely on local printers to handle their fulfillment. These shops do a little of everything: They design, offer offset and digital printing, and can also finish, bind, collate and mail your fulfillment pieces. It’s certainly convenient to have such a jack-of-all-trades service on hand.
However, as your company grows, your fulfillment needs grow too, pushing the limits of what an already-stretched printer may be able to do for you. There may be cases in which you need the proverbial “master” rather than the jack. If you’re feeling this is the case with your fulfillment program, it might be time for you to do as I did and look to the experts for ultimate guidance.
Why Go With a Fulfillment Specialist?
“We need 10,000 point-of-purchase displays to go out—within the next three weeks.”
“I know we have old inventory that needs to be scrapped, but who has time to visit the warehouse? And how am I going to find what I am looking for?”
“We’re sending out specialized kits to all of our new and existing customers, with different collateral pieces for various groups.”
“There is an issue in one of printed pieces and we need to send a replacement item to each person that received the incorrect version.”
“Our new campaign involves direct mail and proper packaging of a three-dimensional object plus a perfect-bound book.”
Such cases call for an experienced vendor with the knowledge and expertise to handle these complex services. Check your vendor’s expertise against these three parameters:
- Timing. Timeliness calls for an experienced vendor with the staff and equipment in place to get your projects—even rush ones—completed well within your window of opportunity.
- Cost. Experienced providers conduct timing studies to ensure that they’re accurately quoting projects. This means you’re not likely to be hit with surprise costs late in a project’s timeline.
- Consistency. Don’t let inconsistent fulfillment lead to missing materials, unhappy customers and lost sales. Inconsistency can also lead to inadvertently mishandled customer information, which puts your company at legal risk. Fulfillment vendors use industry-specific quality checks and controls to ensure consistent results.
Get the picture? Specialized service is the way to go if your company is getting serious about fulfillment. You’ll get better results plus performance that makes you, your customers and your senior leaders very, very happy.