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What is Fulfillment and Why is it Important?

Every business has it’s a core group of functions that enable it to operate and be profitable. These include areas like marketing, production, fulfillment, and more.

But that word, fulfillment, what does it actually mean? And how is it important to the core functions of your business?

Fulfillment, Defined

According to a quick Google search, the definition of fulfillment is: “satisfaction or happiness as a result of fully developing one’s abilities or character”. While not incredibly enlightening when it comes to the business sense of the word, the second meaning seems to be a bit more clear: “the achievement of something desired, promised or predicted.”

Translate that in a way that relates to your business and you will find that fulfillment is about the achievement of fulfilling a customer’s order through the process of receiving the order, packaging, and shipping goods.

The Importance of Fulfillment

The road to fulfillment can take on very different forms depending on the type of business you run. If you are selling a physical product, the way to bring about fulfilling that customer’s needs is going to be very different from a less tangible service, such as a consultation.

But often so many moving parts mean that careful planning and organization are necessary. Having a well outlined and smooth order fulfillment process will help your business continue to draw customers and satisfy them with your products.

Order fulfillment will look a little different for various business types. Here are a few different examples:

1. Make-to-Stock or Built-to-Forecast

This model builds a product against a sales forecast and sells to the customer from the finished goods stock. This is most common among grocers and retailers.

2. Assemble-to-Order

The product is built to customer specifications from a stock of existing components. So while the item is built to suit the customer, the parts created are the same.

3. Make-to-Order

This model allows customers to purchase products that are customized to their specifications. The manufacturer only creates the product once the customer places the order.

While how you go about fulfillment will vary based on your business needs and the type of product you sell, it is probably one of the most important ways you can keep your customers happy and coming back for more. And happy customers mean business growth.

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