Vertical Integration

Like the Old Pros

If you’ve been following the news lately, you know there’s been a bit of negative press, as the word on cities like Detroit has not been good. The media has noted how these former hubs of industrial fanfare have fallen by the wayside and are now seeking federal assistance to keep from going broke.

Whatever your personal philosophies and political thoughts are on these issues, most can agree that it’s all a shame. Whether it’s true or not, it’s tough to see cities that were once hotbeds of certain businesses—cars, furniture, steel, etc.—get a bad rap on the news. It seems that these places are no longer the go-to locations for these industries; hopefully, there can be some sort of change in the future that sees them get their groove back.

It’s odd: despite whatever business pratfalls they might have incurred, the old pros of these really big industries had some good concepts down. Be they the industrial areas of the East or the Hollywood studios of the West Coast, these folks understood vertical integration. The ability to centralize all the major duties under one roof to complete tasks as varied as car assembly or feature film production is a formidable task, and these pros managed to do them well.

When all is said and done, product fulfillment pros can learn a lot here. Come what may, the fine act of vertical integration is worth learning and putting into practice to make sure your product fulfillment business succeeds. It really is the best model for success in product fulfillment, and one that can stand the test of time.

What’s Needed

The typical “sandwich model” of business execution works well with vertical integration for product fulfillment. That means mapping out the beginning, middle, and end processes of product fulfillment to do the job properly. This requires some planning and deep thinking.

You start at the beginning, meaning your order processing fulfillment services come first. You have to make sure that you have the right people and mechanisms in place to receive orders, either by mail or electronically, and process them for each client. A call center and/or mailroom are needed here, for sure.

The middle part of the whole process is getting the product packages together. If you are offering single products through your product fulfillment services, you just need to make sure that your storage and warehousing are close at hand, so you can access your products when you need them to wrap up for clients’ orders. If you are offering multiple product packages, kitting and assembly services are essential. Especially in the case of products that need some assembly to be delivered as promised, you have to make sure your staff can get everything together into the packages your clients ordered.

Finally, it’s all about how you deliver it. Your postal logistics and related channels to get products to clients have to be in order. If you send things out by mail, make sure your clients understand the terms of your delivery, such as the shipping time, fees, etc. If you use courier services, make sure they get a tracking number to know where their materials are while in transit.

Keeping It Up

Granted, this vertical integration for product fulfillment can get pretty darn complex. It’s a multiple-step process, with several areas where things can go wrong, but your job is to nail down each three-step process in its right place. If you have to outsource a third party to help you with any part of the process, do so.

Your clients don’t really ask for much; they just want you to deliver what you promised. If you get a handle on your vertical integration processes, it’s a bigger snap than you can imagine.

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 [email protected], visit their web site at, or call at (954) 582-7450.