Taking Care of Business While You’re On Vacation – Cool Things to Check Out

Tech Tips for Vacation from Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics

Like it or not, your work may be going with you on summer vacation this year.

Don’t get us wrong – a little R&R is vital to your physical and mental well-being. If you can completely detach yourself from the office or the warehouse and enjoy your time off, more power to you.

But by the same token, you’re not going to relax very easily if you spend your vacation time fretting over missing vital messages or constantly phoning in to stay apprised of new order-fulfillment opportunities.

Aware of this conundrum, technology providers have graciously stepped up to create devices, data plans, programs and apps that help you manage your business and your email from wherever you are. They go a step beyond texting and Skype to deliver some rather cool options.

Summer business tips for keeping up while chilling out

Whether you’re hitting the road or hanging out at home, you can enjoy some time away from the workplace without worrying about falling behind. You may find the answer in free apps, or opt to pay a monthly surcharge or subscription rate – but you may discover that the investment pays off in peace of mind.

The Choices Are All Yours

Single-number convenience
If you’re the kind of manager who gets tons of voicemails, there’s no need to subject your fellow vacationers to the sound of a fulfillment or shipping challenge being addressed. Free – at least until the end of 2012 – Google Voice is an app that delivers phone and texting from the same number and, even cooler, voicemail transcription. This means Google Voice lets you download your voicemail and read it like email. The app also boasts of “cheap international calls” outside North America.

Computer access programs
Stuck on the tarmac? Ditch the Skymall magazine and catch up with the folks back home. GoToMyPC is a screen-sharing subscription program that uses the Internet to connect your mobile device (laptop, netbook, tablet or smartphone) to the computer back home. Available in different pricing tiers for individual and multiple users, this program enables full access to the “host” computer, from email to documents to downloads – you can even transfer files between devices. Just remember to keep your work computer running and connected online before you leave, and GoToMyPC will do the rest.

Windows Live Mesh does GoToMyPC one better – it’s free. This app also recreates the host-computer experience, though you do need to have Windows Vista or Windows 7 or above. You’ll also need Internet Explorer downloaded on your computer to make it work – remember that if you’re tied to Firefox or some other browser.

Personal WiFi
The days of ducking into a McDonald’s or parking behind a Panera Bread to score some need-it-now WiFi are over. Now you can tote your personal WiFi hotspot in your pocket with a data-plan-enabled mobile phone. A variety of hardware and software options – at varying price points – can attach your phone to your laptop or tablet and enjoy Internet access anywhere. Just remember to carry a charger with you – WiFi functions are notorious battery-suckers on phones.

If your spouse and kids are similarly tied to the Internet, you can keep everyone happy on vacation using portable devices. Verizon’s Mobile Hotspot connects up to five phones, tablets, game systems, laptops and other devices simultaneously, while Droid Razr Maxx is a tiny powerhouse that fuels up to seven devices and frees you from the slow access and annoying service charges of hotel and airport WiFi.

Email folders
You use email folders at home; now you can use them anywhere. Creating email folders on your smartphone or tablet takes little time and goes a long way toward helping you organize your communications while away from the workplace. Most plans work with the most popular mail servers, like Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Hotmail and Microsoft Exchange. If you have the iPhone 4, Siri will even transcribe and send your email for you.

It’s Your Time

You earned your summer vacation – make it a meaningful one. With robust technology at the ready, you can keep up at your convenience, return to the warehouse rested, ready – and without millions of emails and voicemails waiting to bury you.

When Does it Make Sense for a Business to Use a Fulfillment House? What Companies Need to Know

How to Motivate Your Sales Staff

Most ecommerce companies are surprised by how little third-party fulfillment costs, particularly when compared to how much they already spend to warehouse, package, and ship products. Outsourcing order fulfillment is cost effective and allows you to switch variable costs to fixed costs. Gene Kent, CEO of Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics said, “Many times companies are surprised at the overall cost savings our services have supplied when they review their bottom line after the first six months. As we have heavily invested in technology, both in order processing and bar coding in our warehouse, we are able to process orders faster and cheaper than you can typically do yourself.”

When you compare the total cost of order fulfillment, i.e. maintaining a warehouse, lease payments, staff, benefits, unemployment taxes, insurance etc., to an order fulfillment provider’s fixed cost model, you quickly realize that making the switch saves money. Your business can save from 20 to 50 percent on current order fulfillment expenses.

Minimizing Errors Saves Money

If you’re experiencing even slight errors in the order fulfillment process you might be losing a significant amount of repeat business. Order errors inspire new customers and dedicated customers to buy products from other companies, especially in highly competitive niches. A high quality order fulfillment company satisfies customers which lead to repeat business. “Our warehouse bar coding system eliminates problems. When customer merchandise is received in our warehouse it is immediately bar coded and entered into inventory. Hand held scanners are used by our packers and your inventory is tracked all the way to order shipping. We are using one of the most technologically advanced order and inventory management systems allowing business owners to review stock and order statuses of items on our system 24/7 from anywhere in the world just by using the Internet.” said Gene Kent.

Looking to Expand Your Reach?

Fulfillment houses are ideal for companies seeking to sell products overseas because they have the expertise to ensure your products arrive on time and safely. If you’re seeking to expand your company’s customer base by providing customers more alternatives for ordering products and paying, don’t increase your overhead, outsource the fulfillment process.

Wholesale Orders or Business to Business Orders

As your company expands, a fulfillment company can handle your wholesale or B2B orders. Wholesale orders from large retail chains, catalogs and other mass merchants have different demands than business-to-consumer orders. The penalty for noncompliance with an order from a chain of retail stores for even something trivial can be costly.

Fulfillment houses routinely work with wholesale orders and can develop order processing checklists for your account to assure that your orders are completed based on the requirements of the wholesaler saving you costly chargebacks.

Huge, Sudden Increase in Orders

If you’re considering adding new distribution channels or initiating major new promotions, be prepared for potentially thousands of new orders overnight. A huge increase in orders may overwhelm your back-end system; delaying shipments which leads to unhappy customers. An experienced fulfillment company knows how to properly take care of a large increase in orders. A fulfillment house allows you to ramp up very quickly without increasing your overhead.

If your company has a difficult time maintaining a balance between inventory supply and demand, a knowledgeable order fulfillment company can make a huge difference.

Foreign Companies Selling in the U.S.

Businesses based outside of the United States, partnering with a fulfillment service save time and money because they don’t need a warehouse, office and a staff in the United States; they can focus on obtaining new customers.

The Real Advantages of Partnering with a Fulfillment Service:

  • They know how to handle opportunities and problems which may occur as your business expands.
  • Only pay for fulfillment services when you generate sales.
  • Reduce fixed cost overhead.
  • No need to obtain a larger facility to store products when the business expands.
  • Bulk shipping rates available to fulfillment companies; high shipping cost can break deals with clients.
  • They buy shipping materials in bulk at better rates.
  • An active fulfillment company stays current with the latest software and order processing technology.
  • If your business experiences low volume and high volume days, fulfillment firms eliminate the employee cost associated with the fluctuation.
  • You refine and improve your backdoor operations.

Many nationally known companies reap the benefits of partnering with a third party fulfillment center. Small, medium and large businesses can do the same. With 25 years as a fulfillment service provider, Medallion Fulfillment & Logistics understands your culture, brand, and products from a depth of real world experience.

Isn’t it time to find out how you can save time and money on order processing while you work on expanding your market and sales?