Order Fulfillment Companies: Why Bigger is not Necessarily Better

Like all businesses, there are order fulfillment companies of all sizes, catering to every possible type of industry. Finding the one the best meets your needs requires you to first identify what your needs are, then gather the appropriate information from competing drop-shipping companies. You’ll find that there are both drawbacks and advantages to whichever you choose; it’s a matter of deciding what matters most, for now and according to your business development plans.

Large Order Fulfillment Companies

Companies such as Amazon offer order fulfillment services. They are immense corporations, with correspondingly huge overhead, operating costs and of course, shipping capacity.

Advantages – These companies can handle pretty much any type of volume you throw at them. They are established and have a reputation, so you know what you’re getting. They are also more likely to have multiple warehouses, and may be physically closer to your customers.

Drawbacks – If you have a small company or a start-up, large companies may not be seeking your business; they’ll take it, of course, but they’re not looking for it. You can expect relatively impersonal customer service, and high prices in the form of ‘service fees’ or monthly charges, or just higher pick and pack fees.

Small(er) Order Fulfillment Companies

While large companies take up a lot of real estate in the public perception of the industry, they are far from being the only players, or even the best choice. Plenty of small and medium-sized fulfillment companies exist that can fill your needs as well or better than the big ones can; it’s a matter of finding them, and establishing your priorities. Unsurprisingly, their advantages and drawbacks are almost exactly the opposite of the big ones.

Advantages – Smaller companies want your business, and they’ll be a lot more flexible than the big ones to do what needs to be done to get it. You’ll find that you can negotiate better prices (sometimes much better) than with big companies. Smaller order fulfillment centers are also more likely to offer better customer service. Remember, they actually want your business, and are much more likely to be responsive and easy to reach.

Drawbacks – Smaller companies will not have the same name recognition and reputation than big ones; this is not because they’re bad, just because they’re not known – yet. Realistically speaking, this should never be a problem. The real issues you should be concerned about are shipping capacity and warehouse location; both of which are likely to be more limited. This is where it becomes important to have clearly established your own needs, and to do proper research on your potential partners, including through our services.

The bottom line is, as always, to have a clear understanding of what you need, in terms of prices, service and capacity; after that, finding the right order fulfillment company will become simple.

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