Fulfillment Accreditation – Is It Right For You?

By Tyler Keeney
In March 5, 2015

One of our better kept secrets is our fulfillment accreditation program. It’s designed for companies that are looking to follow best practices when it comes to product and literature fulfillment. There are many accreditation programs in the marketplace.  The Fulfillment Accreditation program is unique in the industry in that it focuses on third-party fulfillment (3PF) based criteria that have been established by Epicomm’s Fulfillment Committee.

Thousands of marketing service providers offer fulfillment services – from literature, premium, and promotional to books, products and logistics. These include lettershops, commercial printers, in-plant divisions of well-known Fortune 500 companies, as well as full-service fulfillment service providers.  The level of service offered varies as well – kitting, hand assembly, pick-and-pack, returns, warehousing and reporting, to name a few. If an advertiser, insurance company, bank, auto dealership, or any retailer using direct mail marketing seeks a fulfillment service provider, how does that company make the right selection?

Obviously, the retailer prepares a list of capabilities and sends it out to bid, right?  Or makes a few phone calls? Or does an online search through a well-known search engine or through an association website of fulfillment service providers, such as Epicomm.

Proof of capability must be shown. One way that proof is shown is through an accreditation program, where a company’s operating procedures are examined against industry criteria of requirements and validated through an audit.

To help companies in that review and selection process, Epicomm offers its Fulfillment Accreditation program. This program was designed after a seven-year developmental process by Epicomm members who are expert in the area of fulfillment.  The goal of the program is simple – to improve the operations of member fulfillment operations.  An important side benefit: it helps companies looking for fulfillment service providers to know the level of commitment to consistency in fulfillment.

I have had the pleasure of touring a host of member plants and one of our newest accredited companies is Sisk Fulfillment (http://www.siskfulfillment.com/), a family owned business on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. They have a number of certification’s (http://www.siskfulfillment.com/news-fulfillment-services.asp), but I wonder what does this all mean to their customers? It demonstrates to customers and supply chain partners their commitment to quality and safety.

One of our larger fulfillment accredited companies is Universal Wilde (http://www.universalwilde.com/fulfillment) with five locations across the state of Massachusetts. They have hosted countless plant tours and have generously shared their knowledge of fulfillment best practices with their fellow members.

Whether you have a single location or multiple locations, it is important that direct marketers select the right fulfillment service providers. Epicomm Fulfillment Accreditation is one way to know that a fulfillment service provider has committed the resources to develop and implement consistent fulfillment practices, like ISO 9000, but in fulfillment.

For a listing of fulfillment accredited companies, please visit http://epicomm.org/resources/fulfillment-accreditation/fulfillment-accredited-companies/. To learn more about Epicomm’s fulfillment accreditation program, contact Tyler Keeney at 201-523-6316 ortkeeney@epicomm.org.

Portions of the content of this blog were excerpted from an article written by Tom Quinn, Q Fulfillment Solutions, Inc.

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