Fulfillment Lingo: What is Kitting?

An Example of Kitting: This Media Kit was created from a variety of Literature and CDs

Kitting is a term used in order fulfillment to refer to the assembly of individual items into ready-to-ship sets, or kits.

In most cases, completed kits are placed into storage to be shipped at a later time.

Also, kits are generally assigned a unique SKU number to differentiate the assembled kit from its individual components and to allow the kit to be inventoried and tracked as a single unit.

What Items Can Be Kitted?

Kitting is commonly used for promotional literature, product samples, instructional packets and CDs, demonstration and display materials, game sets, media and welcome kits, new product launches, dealer and franchisee supplies, etc. Basically any items that are regularly sent out as a consistent set can benefit from kitting.

Cost and Time Savings

When many kits are to be distributed, it becomes more cost effective to have them pre-built in batches. Pre-assembling kits in large batch quantities offers several advantages over waiting to pick and pack the components as individual orders arrive.

The more kits produced at one time, the lower the assembly time will be for each kit. This is because the mass production of kits is a more linear operation, with less starts and stops, than producing a kit here and a kit there.

When kitting in bulk, all the components of the kit can be positioned in close proximity to each other to streamline the gathering and assembly process, as opposed to locating and retrieving the components of kits that are prepared separately as orders come in. It is also much easier and faster to prepare a pre-assembled and/or pre-packed kit for shipment.

A Kitting Example

Let’s say a pet food company hires a fulfillment center to assist with a new promotion. The first 10,000 respondents to fill out an online request form will receive a free can of dog food. And with each can of dog food sent out, the pet food company wants to enclose a letter from its president, a pet nutrition brochure, an illustrated catalog of its other products and two sheets of discount coupons. This project is the perfect candidate for kitting because the content of each kit is identical.

Prior to launch, the pet food company will arrange to have the necessary amount of dog food shipped to the fulfillment center. The printed items – letter, brochure, catalog and coupons – must also arrive at the fulfillment center in time for the orders to be filled. The printed items could be supplied by the pet food company or the fulfillment center might arrange to have them printed locally to save time and freight expense.

Because the content of each kit is the same, the fulfillment center can often begin creating kits as soon as they have all the components. Into prepared shipping boxes the fulfillment workers will place one can of dog food, one copy of the president’s letter, one brochure, one catalog and the two sheets of coupons.

The boxes are sealed and put into stock until the actual launch date of the promotion. When the promotion begins and orders start to arrive, workers pull the kits from stock, apply a shipping label and send them out. Distribution is much more streamlined because the items had been kitted in advance.

Whether you distribute literature, samples or products, let Formax show you how our fulfillment programs can save you money. In addition to kitting and assembly, we provide a wide array of services including centralized warehousing and distribution. Let’s work together to simplify your order fulfillment process.

About the Author

Keith Beaty is the owner of Formax Printing Solutions in St. Louis, MO. Formax provides a complete array of offset and digital printing services. Specialty areas include full-color printing, all types of softcover books, laminated printing, plus fulfillment and mailing services. If you ever have a printing question or project you would like to discuss, Keith is always happy to help. He can be reached at 314-434-5500 or 866-367-6221. Keith and Formax have been providing worry-free printing and related services for over 30 years.

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