When the only tool at your disposal is a hammer, the temptation exists to strike every stray nail that you see. But what if that nail is embedded in a valuable piece of furniture? Hopefully, that would prompt you to think twice before taking a swing!
Just as different DIY tasks require distinct tools to get the job done, so do different order fulfillment scenarios.
If you’re a CPG company shipping huge volumes to a major retailer, your existing logistics provider is probably getting the job done just fine.
Deciding when to outsource order fulfillment is a tough choice for any company. As we’ve covered in the past, there are a number of questions to ask before outsourcing. Once the decision has been made that using a third party service is the correct path for your organization, it’s time to consider the right questions to ask a fulfillment provider on your shortlist.
In our industry, that’s not quite as easy as you might expect. The exponential growth of e-commerce and the shifting purchase habits of consumers make the need for an experienced and flexible provider more important than ever.
The eBook, to be precise, and we’re confident it will help anyone looking for a new supply chain solution.
Entitled Outstanding Outsourcing: A Guide to Successfully Contracting Out Your Order Fulfillment, it provides a step-by-step guide to outsourcing one of the most important activities of your business.
Whether you’re a relatively new business owner still packing and shipping orders in-house or an established brand seeking a new service provider, this guide has industry insights to make the decision and transition easier.
Earlier this month we held a webinar to explore the fundamental elements of order fulfillment. Capacity’s co-founder and CSO Thom Campbell identified five key areas to focus on if you truly want to develop a fulfillment process that keeps customers coming back to your business time and time again.
As some of those questions warranted a deeper dive, we’ll be looking more closely at the considerations to make and what to listen for when you ask them.
Today we look at services or processes specifically designed for your business and why it’s wise to ask your 3PL for some custom logistics solutions.
The Benefits of a Custom Logistics Solution
As we said in the previous post, it’s vital that your supply chain partners give you the confidence that comes from understanding your industry. More importantly, you need them to have a good handle on your business itself and the inevitable quirks that come with your order fulfillment process.
Some of the advantages of probing for these custom logistics solutions include:
Cost reduction from driving out supply chain inefficiencies.
Open your eyes to new technology solutions which may be commonplace to your 3PL but that you hadn’t considered (or even heard of!)
You flag any potential misunderstandings about how your existing business processes work before you’re up and running, at which point they’re more costly to resolve.
Closer integration with your logistics provider by “learning on the job” and making incremental improvements on the fly.
Greater business trust between both parties, as you have confidence that they improve your operations and the aforementioned integration gives your 3PL a significant stake in your success.
Know Your Limits
The original question, “what custom service can you recommend for my business?” also helps both parties to understand any limitations that your logistics partnership will throw up.
Discussions around customization tend to dig into the details of what can and can’t be done. If you’re making a decision to outsource for the first time, this could throw up some show stopper issues. If you’re in the middle of a relationship, the question still has value in drawing out the limitations of your current provider.
Even simple misunderstandings about what is possible can lead to expensive disagreements further down the line, so it’s always better to get on the same page as your suppliers as soon as you can.
If you have any more questions about how custom logistics can help your business, we’re happy to help!