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Fulfillment: A New Service Frontier

(September 2007) posted on Mon Sep 24, 2007

These days, remaining competitive in the graphics market takes more than being fast and cheap. Fulfillment offers a new way to not only stay ahead, but also to stand out among the crowd.

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By Ben P. Rosenfield

Fulfillment also is a measure by which potential buyers may judge prospective print providers. Some retailers just don’t have the manpower to accommodate storewide graphics roll-outs at several locations. The matter becomes even more convoluted when graphics kits vary according to region, promotion, or site-specific program. In such cases, a print shop that offers a comprehensive approach to fulfillment may be hired to manage the logistics.

“Retailers are doing more and more with fewer and smaller staffs, so they need to rely on outsource partners to be able to get the work done and distributed to all of the stores. They require partners that they can depend on to accomplish these goals for them,” says Jerry Gelsomino, vice president of marketing at Pratt Corp., Indianapolis, IN. “It’s not like the old days where you have one look, one idea, it goes out to all of the stores, and they have to figure out how to fit it in. Now it’s catered to the customers, as well as helping the stores be efficient. Having somebody they can trust becomes extremely important for extending their reach and their effectiveness in the marketplace.”

Fulfillment has as many definitions as there are companies that offer the ser-vice. But one thing is clear: Fulfillment is an increasingly important part of the way graphics producers do business.

Jody Henry, vice president of sales at F.B. Johnston Graphics, Chapin, SC, says companies want the convenience that comes with having one place take care of the printing and ancillary services, such as shipping and installation. By creating a one-stop shop, as he describes it, F.B. Johnston Graphics is able to entice new accounts with its all-encompassing services.

Here’s another example. Pro-Screen commonly works with customers who operate separate marketing and production divisions or facilities. In such cases, Leary explains, a client’s warehouses are designed to take care of the fulfillment of the company’s own products—not the collateral managed by the marketing department. Fulfillment has become a critical part of the way Pro-Screen works with those buyers.


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