Cover Story: How Fast Is Your Fulfillment?
5. With digital fulfillment, it’s best to?
a) Send e-mail with document attached
b) Send e-mail with link to landing page
c) Serve Web page with link during online visit
d) All of the above
6. The biggest missed opportunity in fulfillment programs is?
a) Not enough testing
b) Not enough personalization
c) Not enough channel integration
d) Not enough contingency planning
1. How quickly should mailed lead requests be readied
a) Within eight to 12 hours
Research consistently shows that the quicker a company can get fulfillment materials into leads’ hands, the higher the sales conversion rate, says Mac McIntosh, a B-to-B marketing consultant based in Kingstown, R.I.
In order to meet and even exceed delivery expectations, the benchmark for order handling is same-day processing so kits can enter the mailstream or get handed off to an expedited carrier in the same window. Of course, all fulfillment facilities have daily cutoff times, after which incoming requests are counted as part of the next day’s volume, explains David Lowndes, director of product development at Iron Mountain Fulfillment Services, a fulfillment services firm in Milpitas, Calif. These cutoff times are coordinated with marketers’ data feed cycles as well as the time zones in which facilities are located.
To reach the benchmark of same-day processing, other benchmarks must be met. The appropriate material must be in stock, and the facility must offer some redundancy in procedures and equipment to ensure no single point of failure. For example, says Lowndes, if a press goes down, either a similar press should be available to pick up the slack or the fulfillment firm should have the ability to route items to another facility acting as a standby.
Other contingency plans include setting a business rule that when warehoused pieces run low without reorders, the fulfillment facility automatically can shift those items to print-on-demand production to avoid delays, as well as linking replacement items so if brochure A runs out it can be replaced with brochure F.