When you open up your mailbox and pull out a package of coupons all related to home improvement services, do you ever wonder how all of those were put together before being mailed to you? Probably not. But, what you just received was a simple "kit" of promotional material.
What Is a "Kit?"
So, what can go into a "kit"? And more importantly, what is a "kit?" A "kit" is a pre-packaged set of materials, items, and/or product that is all related and should be delivered together. Practically anything can go into a kit. The key is that the materials or contents are meant to go together, arrive together, or be used or consumed together.
Who Assembles Kits?
The short answer is that anyone who wants to deliver, ship, or make available multiple items together can assemble a kit. Business can assemble their own kits, such as with promotional materials for conventions or events, samples sent out to test customers, or product that should ship with instructions, inserts, etc.
Kits are often pre-assembled by kitting fulfillment services. Kitting fulfillment services are a valuable way to make sure that you have what you need, when you need it, and potentially a place to store it when you don't want it around.
What Services Do Kitting Fulfillment Companies Provide?
Companies that perform kitting services provide a variety of options beyond just the kit assembly.
- SKU management — a SKU is a "stock keeping unit" that is used to uniquely identify a product or bundle of products, in this case, a kit. If you have multiple kits, a service can keep track of those SKUs for you and provide reports on what kits you currently can produce or ship.
- Inventory management — you may need a place to store your kits. Kitting services can often pre-build your kits and then store them until you need them. As part of inventory management, they can also provide standard services such as product counts,
- Shipment and fulfillment — kitting services can even direct ship out the kits from inventory to the recipients. This includes the ability to track shipments, too.
- Custom printing services — for printed kits, there is often great flexibility in what can be printed including size, paper type, colors, etc.
What Are the Benefits of a Kitting Service?
When it comes to benefits, there are many reasons to outsource kitting to a specialist. These will vary by business. Some of the most common are:
- Cost (or cost tradeoff) — having a full-service in-house to print labels, assemble kits, ship and track, and manage inventory isn't cheap, and often isn't a core competency of a business needing the service
- Specialization - promotional materials or products, for example, may have to be packaged in unique ways, often different from the standard products.
- Non-salable inventory — why keep non-salable products in your inventory when you can have them created and shipped on demand or pre-built and stored off-site.
- Economies of scale — if you have large volumes of product, samples, or printed packets, then having a kitting fulfillment service create, manage, and ship them can often provide cost savings instead of performing it in-house.