How to Deal with Common Product Fulfillment Problems

Bitter Lemons

You often hear sad stories about someone that wound up with a “lemon”—a common term for bad products or services who are said to be great, but then aren’t up to snuff.

Sometimes, the lemons aren’t that large, like a broken smartphone that is easily replaced, and sometimes the lemon is large and can cause horrible accidents, such as a poorly made car with faulty airbags. But whether the lemon is big or small is irrelevant; what’s important is knowing they exist and, like it or not, you might end up with the next one.

For product fulfillment pros, a lemon is something that will likely rear its ugly head at one point or another. When you are dealing with as many products and services as a single product fulfillment business does, the chances of coming into contact with a poor product or service are rather high. Accept that lemons are unavoidable and you’ve already won half the battle.

Dealing with lemons properly is the other half. You have to be on guard and ready to take action when they happen; once you’ve got that down, you can turn those lemons of product fulfillment into lemonade pretty quickly.

Ironing Out the Bugs

When things go bad in product fulfillment, it’s best to stay calm and go over the situation carefully; that way, it’s easier to find the cause of the problem. From there, action can be taken.

You’ll typically have to start by looking in the mirror, as problems often begin with clients receiving bad customer order fulfillment, faulty products, or both. You might get some slightly angry customers calling to ask why their shipments are late or broken; taking down their information and seeking out the problem’s source is absolutely necessary. Be methodical here, as you might have to trace things back to an online order fulfillment program that messed up some personal information, or some logistics management that fell apart. Finding out what went wrong will help you do what’s next: fix whatever’s causing the problem.

Ironing out the bugs in your product fulfillment systems means correcting the problem. If it’s poor online order fulfillment, you might need a new operating system. If it’s a bad mailing service, you need to find a new, more reliable shipping method. If it’s bad client services, you have to make an effort to improve them. Sometimes lemons are internal and sometimes they’re external, but whatever the case, you have to quickly fix that lemon.

The Other Guy

Speaking of external issues, one possible lemon, the other parties your business works with, might mean making some difficult and unpopular decisions for the sake of your business. It sounds tough, but if your supply chain services are weak, or your outsourced distribution fulfillment firm isn’t doing its job, they might need to be replaced. A real lemon can sour clients, your reputation, and, in the end, your business’ public image, so if you have to dump a lemon service in favor of one with a better reputation and services, do so. In the end, you can’t let one lemon spoil the whole barrel—or your business.

Need solutions to your product fulfillment problems? APS Fulfillment, Inc has the knowledge and services to make your direct mail and product fulfillment ventures more successful. Contact APS Fulfillment, Inc by e-mail at, visit their web site at, or phone toll-free at (954) 582-7450.