Natural and synthetic supplements are a $25+ billion dollar industry that continues to grow on an annual basis. More than 80 percent of adults purchase supplements every year. Supplements are produced by a wide-range of national and international manufacturers and distributed through a variety of channels.
Distribution of those products relies heavily on third party fulfillment providers that specialize in multi-channel delivery of supplements to retailers, consumers and wholesalers. The challenge for manufacturers is finding a fulfillment company that has the expertise to manage and execute the time-sensitive delivery of supplement products. Managing these programs requires strong technology systems, robust inventory management, specialized facilities and a flexible/scalable workforce.
Requirements for High Quality Supplement Fulfillment
Although most supplements do not require FDA or DEA certifications to control the product, facilities should be clean, have well-maintained processes and procedures and offer safety features such as secure storage areas, video monitors, and remote keyless entry.
Fulfillment providers should offer sophisticated lot control and expiration tracking to ensure the supplement lifecycle is managed properly. Keep in mind that rules for retail and consumer may be different, so fulfillment companies should retain detailed standard operating procedures (SOPs) for each channel.
Fulfillment providers should also have a deep level of experience in continuity management, since many supplement programs offer continuity/subscription based models. Does the fulfillment company have the ability to manage multiple continuity orders under a single account? Can they provide variable shipping frequency/quantity at the customer level? Do they offer a fully-trained customer service team that has experience with loyalty and continuity programs? Can they execute your brand standards? Can they deliver a cost model and solution that achieves your financial business goals? These are just a few of the questions to ask your fulfillment provider.
Full Scale Systems Help Pull the Whole Program Together
Supplement manufacturers should seek out a fulfillment company that has a dynamic warehouse management system that ties directly to its shipping analysis process. Having the ability to co-mingle packages and develop powerful relationship with LTL carriers will offer tremendous costs savings for fulfillment companies, which can be passed along to their valued customers.
To get the best value for your fulfillment dollars, consider an integrated, full-service fulfillment solution that provides order processing, call center support, reverse logistics, warehousing, electronic inventory management, pick and pack fulfillment, automated reporting and dynamic small parcel shipping. Finding a provider who offers all these services could mean a reduction of 30 percent or more in your overall fulfillment costs. And that’s an easy pill to swallow.
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