Investing in Fulfillment – Money Well Spent
Whether you have been using third party fulfillment vendors for years or you are new to the scene, there is one thing that everyone should be able to agree on when it comes to fulfillment; there can be A LOT of moving parts. This is especially true if you have experienced recent growth. What was once just a small piece of someone’s job description has now exploded into its own department.
From storage space to management to delivery to staffing, the world of fulfillment can be a challenge for many companies trying to do it on their own. It is exciting to introduce new programs and products to the world, but at the end of the day somebody has to put all of the pieces together and get it out to the customer – and quickly. Plus, when that one person handling the details grows into an immediate need to hire an entire staff, the time comes to make strategic decisions.
Doing it yourself is an option, if you are set up to handle the job. But it can be a real relief (and even liberating) to put the fulfillment piece of business into the hands of a professional. Want to know why?
This is a big one. Keep your employees focused on what they do best. You want to keep happy, talented employees happy. Spreading resources too thin can make for unhappy, overworked employees that get pulled into areas of business they might know nothing about.
So, it is agreed that you don’t want to spread your existing internal staff too thin. With that being said, you will need to hire additional staff members to do the fulfillment piece. When you outsource to a third party, they already have a staff in place, of course. They’re experts that specialize in the area of fulfillment. They know what to do and how to do it. They also have people in place to properly manage the staff and efficiently set up and run programs. And they typically do it in a fraction of the time versus an internal staff.
A third party fulfillment firm has the resources dedicated to staffing the right people for the job. In addition to a new staff to handle fulfillment, would you need to invest also in human resource experts to properly staff and manage your new fulfillment department? If you’re going to do it right, you would.
Based on sales, supply and demand, or really just about any other factor, specifications can grow or contract. Fulfillment experts are in the business to easily and cost-effectively customize areas to meet changing needs.
Do you have a warehouse to properly store materials? What about when it comes to special storage specifications (clean room, quarantine, security, temperature, dimensions, etc.). When you hire a third party this is a part of the deal, not to mention the management of these facilities.
As with anything related to your business, it feels good to keep things close in order to remain in control. But, when the rubber meets the road, you have to ask yourself a few important questions. Are you equipped to handle the job? What is the risk? Am I in control but slow? What details am I missing? Would it be more cost-effective and efficient to partner with a third party that is already set up to handle every detail that comes with the program?
If you are unsure of any of these, already know the answer (and it’s not good), or are shopping for a new vendor, get out there and see for yourself. Set up an informational meeting with several vendors. Compare costs, services and benefits. Take a tour. Seeing first hand what is involved in running a fulfillment program or witnessing how a vendor is set up to handle programs will be a huge step in the decision making process.
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