What changes should you make to improve your operation in the next twelve months?
A change of year is also a popular time to shake things up at your organization. From internal processes to external service providers, highlighting what’s performing well and areas for improvement is important to set the stage for a successful year.
With that in mind, this might be the right time for you to change fulfillment provider, or outsource those activities if you expect significant growth in 2016.
Do You Need A Fulfillment Provider?
For some, the question is whether or not to outsource order fulfillment after handling it in-house for many years. It can be tough to let go of such a fundamental service element, but the reality of rapid expansion means that every growing business must consider the benefits at some point.
Because there are so many implications of this decision, we recommend asking these five questions before outsourcing order fulfillment:
- Does the value of the product(s) you ship hold up after you factor in fulfillment costs?
- Is your order forecasting accurate enough to confidently predict increased volume?
- Are you spending too much time managing everyday order issues?
- When do you expect your next peak order period?
- Are you correctly valuing the time you spend on order fulfillment?
For a more in-depth examination of these questions and why they matter, read the full article on outsourcing your order fulfillment.
If you already have a service provider, the motivation to switch probably arises as you’ve experienced performance issues with them, or because your contract will soon be up and you want to reassess the market.
Both are good reasons to consider a change — both require a good deal of consideration before making this change!
What to Ask When You Change Fulfillment Provider
You’ll already have your key requirements and performance levels in mind as you enter discussions with potential service providers.
Nonetheless, there will always be areas that get overlooked, as well as services and qualities that you never considered asking about. Price and performance expectations can often dominate the conversation, leaving other important areas unexplored.
Again, we’ve covered these topics in the past and it will greatly help your search process if you have a set of core questions to ask every service provider who makes the grade.
Partners or Providers?
One final consideration as you ponder a switch is how close you want to be to your fulfillment provider.
Or should that be fulfillment partner? Here’s where the rubber really meets the road!
If you want to be able to scale your operation and cover unforeseen fulfillment challenges when – or even before – they arise, you’re going to need more than a by-the-numbers supplier. As the questions above indicate, there are many facets to order fulfillment and some services you simply won’t know you need until they appear– usually right in the middle of your peak season!
If you need a sudden increase in storage space to accommodate a major new customer, a partner will make room.
When that urgent holiday shipment needs to be rerouted to avoid a port strike and still make it into the warehouse on time, an experienced partner will make that happen.
Having an experienced and flexible fulfillment partner on hand means that you’ll get more than service, you’ll also get solutions.
This information above provides a firm foundation for your company to change fulfillment provider or to start the outsourcing process, if you currently handle your orders in-house.
However, if you have more questions about making the process a lot easier, our experts are always available to help.
Contact us at your convenience or call on (732) 745-7770 if you need assistance right away.