Best Practices in Fulfillment and Distribution
BB: What advice would you offer others on the best practices of warehouse fulfillment and returns?
Clark: We are always in the market for a profitable client relationship. So, someone looking to better their warehouse fulfillment can give me a call.
Bill Long, vice president of sales and marketing, The Maple-Vail Book Manufacturing Group
The Maple-Vail Book Manufacturing Group (www.Maple-Vail.com) is a book manufacturing company with four facilities that provide customers with services from prepress through distribution. Its two book manufacturing facilities, The Maple Press Company in York, Pa., and Vail-Ballou Press in Binghamton, N.Y., produce more than 45 million hardcover and papercover books annually in order quantities ranging from 250 to more than 500,000 copies. Maple-Vail operates distribution centers in York and Lebanon, Pa., which comprise more than 350,000 square feet and store more than 30 million books and book-
What kind of system do you currently use for fulfillment and returns?
Bill Long: All systems which support the fulfillment and returns processes at our three distribution centers were designed and written by our internal IT staff. This has given us added flexibility to modify and improve our systems to meet the needs of our customer base and take advantage of new technologies.
What are your biggest challenges in fulfillment? What best practices help you overcome those challenges?
Long: The greatest challenges we face involve the speed and accuracy of shipments, and keeping current with all current postal regulations and carrier options.
In regards to speed … a number of our customers are looking for time-compression in their order cycle. We operate with a third shift and first shift combination in our warehouses. Many of our customers will transmit orders to us electronically in the evening, which enables us to print the order and begin fulfilling these orders when third shift arrives. As a result, we are able to ship over 92 percent of our orders within 24 hours.