DRS Fulfillment Frequently Asked Questions
- How large is the DRS facility?
- Why should I have a Southern California fulfillment location?
- What methods does DRS provide for receiving orders for fulfillment?
- Does DRS offer email notification of shipments for our clients?
- What is DRS’ normal ship time after receipt of our orders?
- Is there an advantage to working with a mid-sized fulfillment services like DRS rather than one of the huge fulfilment firms?
- What are DRS normal hours of operation?
- What is DRS normal pricing?
- Why can storage charges per cubic foot be misleading?
- What other charges can be used to inflate fulfillment charges?
- How do DRS clients know which orders have shipped and when?
- What additional services does DRS offer?
- Does DRS keep track of each client’s inventory?
- What is special about DRS customer service?
Our Pick & Pack facility is 12,000 sq. ft. Our overstock storage for slow moving inventory is in an adjacent warehouse with 100,000 sq. ft. storage capacity. We purposefully chose this facility size for our active pick & pack requirements. It allows our pickers to do more work per shift by reducing the distance required to walk each day. This also reduces the time required to pick our client orders.
This arrangement allows us to maintain a very high level of efficiency and allows us to offer our services with a cost advantage. We have found that a very large pick & pack facility can make for lower efficiency, with more travel time required to process client orders.
In addition to being a fine local resource, it also provides an advantage for companies who have their products manufactured on the Pacific Rim. We are a short distance from the Long Beach and Los Angeles Ports of Entry. The California location allows for the fastest transit times, and reduced shipping costs for products which are manufactured in Asia.
DRS offers a wide variety of order transmission methods. Our most popular method involves establishing a direct link to the clients shopping cart so that orders can automatically be sent to the DRS Portal (24/7) through the internet. With many shopping carts, we also provide for shipping data (date of shipment and tracking numbers) to be exported back to clients shopping cart, again, automatically. Additional methods that DRS clients can use to post their orders into the DRS database: manually input orders directly into our on-line portal order form (24/7), upload a large group of orders as a batch into DRS Portal using a .CSV formatted file, or the DRS staff can access your shopping cart and import orders into the DRS portal (if your shopping cart offers an order export function). Also, DRS clients can phone their orders in to DRSs customer service staff, or even email their orders to DRS (additional charges apply).
Yes. We have found that by providing the end customer with the date of shipment, and the tracking number (if applicable), it reduces client order cancellations, and customer phone calls asking when their product will ship.
By contract, we guarantee shipment the same day on all expedited orders received by noon. In practice, due to our high efficiency, we are most often able to ship all orders received by 2:00 PM the same day they are received. For rush order requests, we can normally still ship orders received as late as 3:30 PM.
Is there an Advantage to Working with a Mid-Sized Fulfillment Service (such as DRS) Rather than One of the Huge Fulfillment Firms?
Very large fulfillment firms do have their advantages. If your daily order volume is very high (50,000+ orders per day), the larger firms do have the storage and employee capacity to handle that volume. However, most ecommerce companies do not meet the high volume capacity of a large fulfillment company. Most often, a mid-sized fulfillment service (such as DRS) offers a more service oriented, flexible, and cost effective solution.
DRS office hours are from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Receiving hours are from 9:00 AM to 12:00 Noon, then 12:30 PM to 3:30 PM. If you have special requirements outside of these normal time frames, please ask your DRS contact.
DRS maintains a favorable pricing structure for our clients. We are very up-front with our clients pricing, and we do not attempt to add hidden charges or non-disclosed fees.
As with most fulfillment services, we base our pricing on the time required to do the work you have requested. We bill our clients for processing each order, and a small fee for each item picked to fulfill your order. There is also a monthly storage fee based on the number of pallet spaces required during the month. Additional fees will be charged depending upon special requirements such as international shipment paperwork, assembly work, processing returned orders, and manually entered orders by DRS staff, EDI orders, special labeling, etc.
Although DRS does not charge for storage on a cubic foot basis, we have noticed that some competitive quotes have specified storage charges on this basis. A standard pallet is 48 x 42 x 60 high. This equals 70 Cubic Feet of storage space. If a fulfillment service was to charge $18.00 per pallet per month, the charge per cubic foot would be equal to $.26 per cubic foot.
We have seen competitive quotes with $1.25 per cubic foot (or more) for monthly storage. At a $1.25 per cubic foot, a standard pallet at 70 cubic feet would be charged at $87.50 per month which is much higher than industry standards. It pays to be careful when comparing pricing from competing fulfillment services to ensure that price comparisons are, in fact, true comparisons.
In our experience, if a prospective client focuses on just a few charges on each bid (order fulfillment fee, per item fee, storage fee), it is possible for a fulfillment service to inflate their other charges in order to reduce these commonly compared fees on their quotes.
In addition to the cubic feet storage charge (see above item), we have also seen the following inflated charges. One item to look out for is an automatic percentage price increase at the end of each year of contract.
Another item to be aware of is additional penalty fees if: each of your products is not labeled with a bar code label, if a truck shows up outside of restrictive receiving times, a large fee if no packing slip is included in each shipment, or if each carton is not labeled precisely per instructions.
Another area to look at is payment terms. We have seen estimated payments that are required in advance for services. Some services require weekly billing, with 7-Day terms. DRS bills twice per month, on Net 15-Day terms. This can be a nice advantage to help with cash flow.
One other item to be aware of is shipping costs. Although most fulfillment services receive favorable volume discounted pricing from UPS and FedEx, some fulfillment services insist that their clients use the fulfillment companys account, and charge the client the full list pricing.
DRS does include a modest administrative fee for using our shipping accounts (to administer the clients shipping account), but most of our clients find that even with the additional administration fee, that shipping on the DRS account can reduce their shipping charges significantly. However, DRS does not insist that our clients use DRS accounts. The client always has the choice to use the account that works best for them.
For all DRS fulfillment clients, DRS provide access to a secure on-line portal (24/7) which allows each client to see their orders which we have received, the orders shipped, date of shipment, tracking information, resulting inventory quantities, any inventory received, returned orders, and back orders.
At DRS we understand that our clients may occasionally require additional support to meet their customer needs. For such requirements, DRS has developed a production staff which helps DRS clients with such needs as assembly work, kitting, shrink wrapping, blister packaging, clam shell packaging, providing special packaging materials, and other special requirements.
In a different area, because of our experience in establishing a data connection with clients databases, DRS can also provide practical guidance in selecting a proper shopping cart, and connecting it to the DRS portals database. By observing some painful experiences by companies attempting to select the best shopping cart for their needs, we can provide important input to help you make good decisions.
For example, does the prospective shopping cart provide an open API (Application Programming Interface) which allows orders to automatically transfer to your fulfillment services database. Does it allow you to provide your clients with their shipping costs prior to placing their order? Does it provide for international shipments? Does it provide an ability for shipping and tracking information to be imported back to the order from your fulfillment service?
Let us help you make a knowledgeable choice.
DRS clients can access their current inventory status via DRSs on-line Client Portal. As each clients orders are shipped, or new materials are received on their behalf, their inventory is adjusted and is quickly available on their secure portal connection.
But that is only part of the story. The key to a accurate inventory is accurate receiving policies. If items are not received accurately, then the inventory will immediately be inaccurate.
After a good first step, then order fulfillment accuracy becomes most important. At DRS we have attained higher than industry standards in inventory and shipping accuracy, by having a well-trained staff, very low employee turn-over, and a impressive back end computer software system. Industry standards in inventory and shipping accuracy are from 97% to 98% accuracy. DRSs accuracy rate is an outstanding 99.9%.
First and foremost, DRS works very hard to have each customer phone call answered by a customer service representative. Our friendly, professional staff is trained to fully answer your questions fully the first time, quickly allowing us all to move on with our work.