UPS recently adopted a catchy new tagline: “I love logistics.” It’s one of those feel-good phrases, like McDonald’s “I’m lovin’ it,” that doesn’t inspire a whole lot of critical thinking.

But perhaps it should. The planet’s economic health, and by extension the well being of its inhabitants, is directly related to its dense, ever-growing logistical network. Companies like FedEx, UPS and DHL are the most visible nodes in this network, but there are plenty of other players involved as well. Among the most important — and most often overlooked — are the product fulfillment firms that quite literally keep the wheels of business turning.

Here’s what you need to know about what product fulfillment is doing for modern business — and how your business could benefit.

  1. It’s Incredibly Efficient for Small Businesses

“If you sell or distribute any kind of physical product, fulfillment helps you distribute to end consumers,” says George Otte, owner of Florida-based Phase V, a product fulfillment firm.

Small businesses, many of which operate on razor-thin margins, can’t afford to rent warehouse space, purchase their own delivery trucks or hire drivers and inventory managers to handle constant inflows and outflows of products. Fulfillment services offer these conveniences at a fraction of the cost.

  1. It’s a Natural Complement to Telephone Answering and Contact Services

For the same reason, small businesses often need to outsource contact and answering services as well. For companies already using telephone answering services, fulfillment services are a natural complement. In fact, many fulfillment firms synchronize with telephone answering services to deliver economical, multifaceted logistical solutions.

“We have a telephone answering service that can take orders by phone with call centers,” says Otte, “and then distribute those orders around the country or world via USPS, FedEx, UPS, DHL and other logistics partners.”

  1. It’s a Great Help with Direct Mail Marketing

Comprehensive fulfillment services don’t stop at inventorying and warehousing. They also offer a host of marketing services, including direct mail outreach and list generation for direct mail marketing. Scaling a direct mail operation is a tricky matter for many small to midsize business owners. However, fulfillment services that can handle this work take the uncertainty out of the equation and enable their clients to focus on growth.

Do You Need a Fulfillment Partner?

These days, most small businesses and organizations need a fulfillment partner to effectively support their distribution, warehousing and marketing operations. Even if your company doesn’t sell physical wares, it likely has — or should have — a diversified marketing framework that includes direct mail. Fulfillment experts can make it easy and cost effective to reach huge numbers of prospects and repeat customers with printed coupons, flyers, special offers and more.

So if you’re sick of warehousing your own inventory, managing your own mailing lists or working directly with shipping partners to send your goods far and wide, why not try a product fulfillment service?