The power of consumer spending is changing the cold chain industry. Consumers’ want for fresh food and need for convenience has reshaped marketing for retailers. The demand for direct to consumer fulfillment has created a new avenue for revenue in the 3PL space. With relatively few players in the temperature controlled fulfillment space, providers who offer the service are poised to reap the rewards as this market continues to grow.
What is Order Fulfillment?
Order fulfillment first begins when a consumer orders a product online. The product is then removed from storage where it is then picked and then packed for shipping. The fulfillment process is only completed when the product is placed into the customer’s hands at the proper temperature.
The Perishable Fulfillment Lifecycle
- Receiving Inventory: The product arrives at the cold storage facility in a temperature controlled truck.
- Storing Inventory: Incoming inventory are checked for quality, quantity and condition. Products are then sorted and stored in a food grade, cold storage warehouse facility by sku.
- Order is Placed: Once an order is placed, the fulfillment team is notified. Notifications can come in several forms. The shopping cart will batch all orders according to optimal ship date to adhere to delivery promises. Once the orders are batched, the fulfillment center can log in and retrieve the orders to print shipping labels and packing sheets.
- Order Processing: Our warehouse team processes the orders and delivers the appropriate products to the pick lines to be fulfilled. Ensuring quality control to and fulfillment accuracy are critical in this phase. After the products are placed in the temperature controlled shipping containers, the appropriate amount of dry ice and/or gel packs are added to ensure product integrity throughout the supply chain.
- Shipping the Order: Once the shipping label is secured to the package, the package is loaded on a trailer and brought to a sorting center where it will be on it’s way to the end customer within 2 to 3 days
What to Expect from a Refrigerated Fulfillment Provider?
If you are an e-commerce company supplying perishable items and need to partner with a refrigerated and frozen fulfillment provider, you need to look at their turn around times, policies and procedures, and quality of service.
Perishable food based product needs to be refrigerated while being stored in a warehouse. Not all fulfillment providers have cold storage warehousing buildings dedicated to storing products with specific temperature needs. It’s important to choose a provider with stringent food safety controls in place.
Order fulfillment accuracy is the key to success for any company operating in the e-commerce space. Having a strong distribution partner can create a positive impact on your customer base, increasing their loyalty and trust in your company. It is imperative that companies invest the right amount of time and money for strengthening their distribution network, especially for temperature sensitive items.
Why you should work with an 3PL?
For e-commerce companies, partnering with the right 3PL and Cold Storage Company is crucial to the success of the business. Your 3PL fulfillment partner will manage your receiving, storing, picking, packing and delivering your products to our customer. When you work with a trusted 3PL provider it allows you to focus on acquiring new customers and growing your business.
As a third-party logistics provider, RLS Logistics can handle your temperature-controlled product needs and get them to your customer quickly and safely. Our high volume, high speed, customized packaging service includes direct-to-consumer fulfillment, kitting and assembly, repacking, and numerous other services. Our facilities comply with all government and USDA regulations and are GFSI certified for Storage and Distribution. With RLS Logistics, clients can trust that their products are being stored in a safe and secure space and are handled by fully trained staff.