You’ve gotten used to doing pretty much everything for your business in-house, but as your company grows it’s getting harder and harder to keep on top of everything. There are plenty of things you can turn over to experienced professionals, like your marketing and bookkeeping, but what about your order fulfillment? Isn’t that too basic of a job to outsource?
The Trouble With In-House Fulfillment
You may think fulfillment quality doesn’t matter much, but your customers would beg to differ. They’re eagerly awaiting their packages, hoping that what they get is what they imagined from the descriptions and photos on your website. In fact, it could be argued that fulfillment is one of the few things that does really matter to those buyers.
There’s a lot that can go wrong in an in-house fulfillment situation like yours, including:
- Sudden spikes in orders overwhelming your systems. Having lots of orders is good; not being able to pick, pack and ship them is not so good. In-house teams can only do what they can do, they’ve not got any real backup. Sending Bob from Accounting down to help the packers is an even bigger issue since he has no idea what he’s doing.
- Training new workers who will be ready down the road. You need people in the warehouse today, but first, you have to train them. Do they know how to run a forklift? Can they spot an SKU at 100 yards? Even seasoned warehouse workers will need to be introduced to your systems, delaying their coming online as part of your team when you’re really in need of help.
- Running out of space or losing inventory. Your warehouse was never meant to be stuffed as full as you’ve been having to keep it since your online business exploded in popularity. Unfortunately, that’s also meant that some of the pallets in the back are collecting dust because you can’t get to them or are struggling to figure out what’s actually back there. This is a good way to lose inventory, too, since you can’t keep a good count under these conditions.
In-house fulfillment can work for companies that have a very limited product line and consistent levels of demand, but if your business is going through a growth spurt or you’re dreaming big, it’s smarter to find a fulfillment partner as soon as you can.
Not only will they take care of your order distribution, but they can also handle product re-orders, assist with customer service and many have dedicated returns management teams that will keep you ahead of those product returns that you’ve been neglecting. It’s amazing how much money you can lose from this alone! Reverse logistics is all about recapturing as much of that value as possible and it’s just one service that you can take advantage of when outsourcing your fulfillment.