From sending product samples to retailers and reps, to setting up brick-and-mortar locations with all their in-store marketing materials, to delivering annual catalogues to customers, kitting and fulfillment is a critical piece of the print marketing puzzle. And, without the right systems and strategies in place, it can also be costly and inefficient—a drain on resources and a liability to the brand.
If your organization has been handling kitting and fulfillment in-house, dedicating the intern cubicles to mailing and kit assembly—or tackling it piecemeal by doing some of the work in-house and outsourcing other pieces—you know the significant logistics challenge this poses. And you probably know it’s time to find help.
As you start the search for kitting and fulfillment services, here are a few things to consider in order to find the right partner for your organization.
Seek Out A Single-Source Provider
Yes, you could work with different vendors for order management, printing, kitting, warehousing, and shipping. But by the time you’re managing all those different contracts, contacts, and payment schedules, you’re likely spending as much time and money on these initiatives than you would have spent by doing them in-house—and you’ve lost all the benefits you could’ve gained from outsourcing.
The better choice—for your business’s bottom line and your team’s morale—is to find a provider who can handle all the facets of inventory management and order fulfillment under one umbrella. The ideal partner can provide end-to-end solutions, ensuring lower costs without compromising quality by producing materials on their own equipment, and offering full-service print marketing execution solutions—from easy ordering to real-time inventory and budget tracking, to kit assembly and fulfillment.
The result: an enhanced customer experience and a dramatic reduction in the time and money spent managing marketing fulfillment.
Simplify Order Management
Next, look for a partner that makes ordering easy—whether you’re looking for a one-off print run or a recurring program, and whether you need 1,000 copies or 100,000,000. Look for a partner whose platform includes a powerful order management component, providing a centralized location from which marketers can place orders and track fulfillment and flexible print options to automate recurring programs and manage single-shot orders with ease.
Look, too, for a vendor with real-time inventory monitoring capabilities to help you track usage history and minimize waste by providing visibility into when it’s time to reorder materials and exactly how much you need.
Vet Security Practices
From names and contact information to more sensitive details about customers’ health, finances, or billing data, most businesses store and use some level of confidential information for their direct mail communications throughout the year. While cost containment and efficiency (particularly for massive mailings) are important, the top priority is keeping that confidential information safe and secure. A good fulfillment partner understands this and has the proper protocols in place to protect customers’ privacy every step of the way.
Look for a vendor whose data management practices include encryption and transmission via secure FTP, or other secure data transfer methods. Ask about personnel training and vetting processes and about the quality checks a vendor performs to validate that all items are correctly printed, fulfilled, and mailed. Ask, too, about how confidential materials are stored and disposed of.
Look for Pricing Benefits
Finally, look for a vendor who can offer ways to minimize costs without sacrificing quality. A single-source vendor, as opposed to multiple vendors for disparate activities, is a good start. Additionally, look for a partner that owns all their own equipment, allowing clients to cut machinery leases, raw materials like paper, and significant freight expenses from their budgets.
Next, ask about their waste mitigation and inventory management processes — will they be able to leverage real-time inventory tracking, digital print-on-demand, or other measures to ensure you’re not wasting money by overprinting or storing out-of-date materials? Then, look into shipping capabilities. Do they have the knowledge, expertise, and volume to offer postal discounts? Do they have the flexibility to produce and ship kits and other print materials from a variety of facilities to ensure lower costs and higher speeds? It may sound too good to be true, but the right execution partner can streamline kitting and fulfillment to improve operations without busting the budget.
At OneTouchPoint, we pride ourselves on checking all of these boxes — and more — for our customers. We provide our clients with a single-source solution for all their local and national marketing execution needs, from asset production to warehousing materials to kitting to distribution. We offer all things print, asset management, ordering and fulfillment, mailing, and financial control — and all with a single point of contact.
Additionally, we know the value of controlling costs without jeopardizing security. We work with a variety of healthcare and financial services companies that include sensitive personal information in their mailings. We’ve developed the highest privacy standards for these sensitive mailings, and we hold all of our sensitive mailings—for any industry—to the same exacting criteria.
We’re not just another vendor our clients have to manage; we pride ourselves on being the single supply chain partner, working with clients to create stunning, impactful print marketing and product materials for every audience. So, when your business is ready to embrace a kitting and fulfillment partner who can offer true end-to-end marketing supply chain management, contact us to learn more.