The word fulfillment has been defined by many people in many ways. “To bring about the completion or achievement of”, “to carry out or execute”, “to conform with or satisfy” and “the state or quality of being fulfilled” are just a few examples of the meanings of this word. In the business community fulfillment is defined most often as “the process or business of handling and executing customer orders, as packing, shipping, or processing payments”.
In my time with Fulfillment Express, Inc. I have come to understand that the word Fulfillment in Fulfillment Express, Inc. represents all of these things and more. Often, when asked what I do for a living, people do not understand when I respond “I work in the Fulfillment Industry.”. In truth, I cannot say that I blame them. The Fulfillment Industry is a wide, encompassing entity with many faces. As such, I thought that I would use this forum to explain, in my own way, what “Fulfillment” means to me.
Fulfillment Express, Inc. is, indeed, in the business of handling and executing customer orders, packing, shipping and processing payments. However, in my mind, it is much, much more than that. This company was founded on principles that piqued my interest immediately upon my arrival here and have held it throughout my years of employment. Fulfillment Express is a company dedicated to a quality of service rarely seen in the Fulfillment Industry anymore. We are dedicated to doing our utmost to ensure that every customer’s order is handled with the care and respect, so that their purchases are delivered in the condition in which they expect to receive them.
So many times, recently, I have ordered something over the internet and I have been appalled by the packaging. As an example, I recently purchased a notebook computer. The cost of the computer was approximately $600. Certainly not the crème de la crème of computers, but no small amount of money, either. When I received the computer I was astonished to see that the company who shipped it to me had included only a single piece of packing paper to secure it in the box. There were several inches of space on each side of the unit, allowing it to move freely in the shipping box during transit. In short, it was a miracle that it arrived in one piece.
In my humble opinion, the company who “fulfilled” that order did not understand the meaning of the word fulfillment at all. They technically “completed” my order, but did they leave me feeling fulfilled by my purchase? Certainly not. They did meet one or two of the definitions of fulfillment, but they certainly did not meet all of them. “to carry out or execute”? That could be said of my order… but “to conform with or satisfy”? I will tell you, I was far from satisfied and it did not ‘conform with’ my expectations at all.
When I was a child and spent my own money on a toy that broke the first day, I was extremely disappointed. I, personally, don’t think that feeling goes away with age. When I spend my hard earned money now, as an adult, I am still disappointed by poor service and poor craftsmanship. It is my opinion that too often in today’s business community people forget that they are serving customers, not simply “completing orders”.
So, what do I expect when I order something online or by telephone? Certainly no more than I am willing to deliver when the shoe is on the other foot. I believe that a great deal of personal pride can be taken from a job well done rather than a job simply completed. That is why orders at Fulfillment Express, Inc. are “fulfilled” rather than simply “completed”.
In my eyes all orders are important, no matter the dollar value of the items inside. Every order is a chance to show the customer that we care about their business and that we appreciate the fact that they have chosen to buy from our client. It is a fact that if a customer is dissatisfied with any part of their contact with a company they are increasingly less likely to do business with that company in the future, given the choice. As such, it is in the best interest of the customer and the company that standards of quality be maintained.
Fulfillment Express, Inc. handles shipments of all sizes and types. The orders that we fulfill range from a single, small, inexpensive product sent directly to the end consumer to large palletized shipments shipped to high end retailers both domestic and over-seas. We handle internet, telephone, mail order and commercial shipments on a daily basis.
Retailers and other resellers often dictate certain standards when products are shipped to their locations. Often these standards are communicated in the form of routing guides or other documented procedures to ensure that the merchandise transition is as smooth as possible. Fulfillment Express has been handling these types of shipments for well over 15 years and has shipped to nearly every major retailer and catalog company in the country, including QVC and HSN. We are also one of few companies who is capable of and authorized to drop ship for HSN, directly from our warehouse. We have an outstanding record of complying with the required standards of these companies consistently.
Why do we perform so well when shipping to these retailers whose instructions are so precise? It is the same reason that the consumer receiving our package is rarely disappointed by its delivered condition. We fulfill orders instead of completing them. We “conform with or satisfy” our customers’ expectations. We strive to bring about “the state or quality of being fulfilled” in our customers.
In the end, for me, the first definition I mentioned of the word fulfillment is the one which carries the highest meaning: “To bring about the completion or achievement of”. Those few simple words can be used to sum up what I believe is the primary difference between Fulfillment Express and the other fulfillment companies out there. Many companies complete things, Fulfillment Express strives to achieve.