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B2B order fulfillment for suppliers • Business-to-business 3PL Partners

Using a 3PL partner makes B2B order fulfillment easier for suppliers

What is B2B order fulfillment?

Business-to-business (B2B) order fulfillment is the process of fulfilling orders directly to other business and retail customers from the warehouse. B2B order fulfillment operations, typically, send bulk orders to customers who place multi-quantity orders. Order sizes vary across suppliers and it must common to ship B2B orders by freight on an LTL or FTL truck.

Compared to business-to-consumer (or B2C) order fulfillment, B2B fulfillment operates more like a distribution center with higher volume and B2B customers with their own sales channels to sell your product to end customers.

What types of suppliers need B2B order fulfillment?

Suppliers of all types require B2B order fulfillment to get goods to their customers.

Suppliers often use distribution centers near their manufacturers, port of entry, or customers to get the most financial benefits from B2B order fulfillment in their supply chain. When goods are manufactured just-in-time to fulfill the customer’s order, it is often less expensive to find a local B2B fulfiller to sort, separate and redistribute the goods to customers rather than shipping them to your warehouse.

Likewise, if a lot of your business and retail customers are grouped together it may be wiser to find a distribution center near your customers to send all bulk orders from manufacturers. The distribution center can consolidate all bulk inbound shipments and separate them for local delivery to customers.

As you can imagine, there are many flavors of B2B fulfillment. This supply chain process can be tailored to best benefit your business and customers needs and requirements.

The following example industries, and more, use B2B order fulfillment partners to improve their logistics network from supplier to merchant or store:

Electronics & medical devices

Paper products

Dry grocery

Pool & landscaping supplies

Agricultural goods

Fashion & apparel

Fast moving consumer goods

Tourist shops

How does B2B order fulfillment work?

B2B order fulfillment is the end-to-end process of managing and shipping goods in bulk to business and retail customers. The process is the final step in the supply chain to get your goods into the hands of paying, wholesale customers.

There are many steps in the supply chain that are coordinated with the distribution center to effectively fulfill business-to-business orders. These steps all happen before customers place an order.

It all starts when the distribution center receives and stores the goods from the purchase order. Then when orders are placed for the goods, the distribution center fulfills the order and performs any additional needed services.

Goods are shipped to the distribution center in large quantities, and often ship out in smaller quantities. Then the goods are picked, packed, and shipped for B2B or B2C order fulfillment. The distribution center may also perform Value Added services such as labeling, packaging, or bundling when requested. While there are standard distribution services, most b2b order fulfillers accommodate customized needs for clients.

1. Purchase bulk orders of SKUs and send them to the warehouse

Suppliers place purchase orders with manufacturers. Many suppliers purchase goods proactively and bulk order a 1-4 month supply of goods. Other supply chains use just-in-time manufacturing and order less goods, more frequently.

All goods are sent to warehouses to fulfill B2B orders.

Receive and store goods for B2B order fulfillment

2. Receive and Store the SKUs

Distribution centers complete a detailed receipt of all goods upon delivery — noting any Overages, Shortages, or Damages (OS&D). After receiving, the goods are stored at the facility until requested for outbound orders.

B2B order fulfillment needs picked, prepared and shipped

3. Pick, prep and ship the B2B orders

Order distribution is a core function of the distribution center, where goods are picked, packed, and shipped for clients on demand. Distribution centers fulfill B2B orders for suppliers and can accommodate most special recipient requirements.

customized Kitting and fulfillment services combine SKUs with light assembly

4. Customized additional services for B2B suppliers

Distribution centers know what services their clients need. They offer a wide range of Value Added services to meet the unique needs of these clients. Labeling, repackaging, kitting, quality control, and light assembly are just a few of the standard services offered. Ask us about any special services you may need.

Why do suppliers use business-to-business (B2B) order fulfillment services?

Reduce operating costs

Since distribution centers (DCs) specialize in warehousing and order fulfillment, costs are reduced by outsourcing work to these experts. Third-party distribution centers keep costs low by helping to 1) minimize error rates, 2) reduce outbound delivery costs, and 3) reduce overhead costs of warehousing, drayage and staffing.

Create a B2B supply chain that scales

Scalable supply chains are required for any growing b2b order fulfillment supplier. It is often most effective to let a third-party distribution center focus on keeping up with your growing or seasonal operations. They handle all the staffing, space, and operations challenges without any burden to you!

Enable flexible operations

Third-party b2b order fulfillment gives you the flexibility to supply more regions, stores, or customers with your goods using less of your own resources. Distribution centers offer flexible customized services such as packaging, labeling, or assembly to meet clients’ B2B needs.

How can suppliers get started

  1. Contact our team
  2. Quick call (with a WE owner-operator) to confirm details and client need
  3. WE send you Rates, and provide a few sample invoice scenarios based on the details gathered during the call
  4. You award Warehousing Etc the job
  5. Prepare your shipment(s) for delivery to our B2B fulfillment center
  6. You sell your goods, and we distribute them for your
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