When to move from in house to outsourcing fulfilment
One of the most difficult parts of growing a business can be knowing when to expand, whether that is hiring a new member of staff, ordering more stock, diversifying or outsourcing your order fulfilment process. For any business owner, these leaps of faith can be stressful, not knowing whether your risk will pay off or not.
Order fulfilment processes can have the ability to propel your business or hold it back depending on the approach you take. If you want to be able to handle more orders, take your customer service to the next level, potentially save costs and gain time then perhaps it is time to outsource your order fulfilment.
How can you know for certain that it is time to outsource your fulfilment options? There are a few things to consider before you make this considerable decision for the future of your business. The strategy for your fulfilment process is central to the growth of your business as it allows you to scale and perhaps handle thousands more orders with little to no extra work for you.
With the internet taking centre stage for the future of selling, it is critical that your order process is seamless and runs efficiently. It is not as simple as ordering products in order to send them out again, there are many ways you can monitor stock levels, offer packaging options, implement delivery options based on the size and weight of your products and generally make your website and order processing work for you so you have more time to spend on the development of your burgeoning business.
So how will outsourcing improve your business?
There is nothing more annoying to the modern day customer than the words ‘out of stock’. The world we live in now is fast paced and with that comes a lack of patience, finding something out of stock could encourage your customer elsewhere to find it.
With an accurate monitoring of stock levels in real-time will ensure you know exactly when to order more and avoid selling out or holding too much stock. This greatly improves the buyer experience, keeping your eager customers happy.
Implementing a seamless order processing system and outsourcing will increase speed. There will be a smoother, more efficient system in place with better warehousing and shipping processes which inevitably speed up the delivery or products and keep up with competitors offerings.
If you are moving stock faster and restocking at an increased pace as well then you will have an increased capacity to sell more which will increase your profits and contribute to the growth of your business considerably.
Is it time to outsource?
If you are currently providing your own in-house order fulfilment then you will know that this means you are responsible for the entire process from receiving orders, picking goods, packing, shipping, tracking, returns and also dealing with any issues related to deliveries such as damaged goods, missing or late arrivals. When you first start your business this is favourable as you are finding your feet and learning what sells and what doesn’t, it gives you a good amount of control and means you can offer a genuine in-house experience from start to finish.
As your business grows it can become harder to keep that control and the amount of orders and stock control involved can feel increasingly overwhelming as well as taking up precious time which could be utilised much more efficiently.
Partnering with a third party who can store your goods, pick and pack them for deliveries, and provide real time stock levels will alleviate many stressors and speed up the growth of your business without adding more work for you and your staff.
If you feel your delivery standards are slipping, your costs are too high to maintain or you want to expand then it could be time to outsource your fulfilment process. Often businesses know it is time to outsource as they are no longer able to cope with the level of sales and deliveries and as a result their standards begin to slip. Increased sales can also mean you are unable to meet your usual lead times and customers will start to abandon carts if they see there are likely to be delays.
Moving over to a third party will help you to offer even faster delivery times, it will bring back that control and consolidate the entire process under one roof to ensure a fast, efficient service from experts. All that is left to do is monitor your day to day operations and see how much time is taken up processing orders, if it is dominating your day and hindering your progress then perhaps it’s time to outsource your order fulfilment.