Cover Story: How Fast Is Your Fulfillment?
At its most basic level, the Web is an inquiry management environment. Consumers and businesspeople head online almost every day to source products and solutions that fit their needs. Depending on the urgency of their needs, they might request some sales literature or samples, or locate nearby retail outlets to check out the items in person. All the while, they have a host of competitive options at their fingertips—and then possibly just a phone call or short drive away. To hold on to leads today, marketers must embrace speed and relevance throughout the entire lead management cycle. So, from a fulfillment perspective, it pays to tighten up your best practices with respect to inventory management, kitting, data feedback cycles and digital delivery methods.
Without continuous assessment and improvement to keep program performance on track, you risk losing your hard-won leads to competitors or even potential customers’ changes of heart. Or you overspend on fulfillment, reducing return on investment and the profits that support growth of your lead generation efforts.
The following best practices quiz has been prepared within the context of a literature fulfillment program, allowing for both postal and digital handling. See how closely your company’s practices, whether you handle fulfillment in-house or outsource to a vendor, match up with our fulfillment experts’ benchmarks and best practices on
1. How quickly should physical kits be readied for shipment?
a) Within eight to 12 hours
b) Within 24 hours
c) Within 36 hours
d) Within 48 hours
2. What is the minimum number of inventory alerts needed?
3. Which is the more cost-effective kitting approach?
a) Build to stock
b) Build to order
4. How should completed order updates be communicated back to the marketer?
b) Twice a day
c) In real time
d) All of the above