It is very common for scale-up businesses and SMEs to bring their operations in-house as a starting point, but as the business grows, pain points start to show. For example, making the tough decision of whether it’s more beneficial to expand your own warehouse space to support business growth, or whether onboarding a fulfilment partner is the most strategic option.
Nottinghamshire-based company, We Are Fulfilment are specialists in operations and have a wealth of experience and knowledge in this area. They are also a climate-positive workforce, giving their clients peace of mind that eco initiatives are in place as well as sustainable systems and eco-friendly packaging. To give you a better understanding of why outsourcing your fulfilment might be the right option for you and your business, here are some clear warning signs that suggest it’s time to consider finding a fulfilment partner.
- Peaks and troughs in your sales
Depending on your product range and your target market, if your sales are showing consistency or growth, you would be reluctant to commit to your own workforce, warehouse space and additional costs. Remember, with onboarding a dedicated in-house team, additional warehouse space and equipment, you’re committing to fixed costs before any orders have been shipped out. With a fulfilment partner, you eliminate these pain points, risks and additional costs from the offset.
- Time management
If you and your team are spending a lot of time picking and packing product orders to ship your orders to your customers and often taking those orders to the local postbox, the likelihood is that you won’t be spending enough time focusing on brand strategy and growth. As a business owner, the main focus is usually scaling up, expansion and innovation, whether that be to other eCommerce platforms, sourcing new products and ideas, or increasing your clientele without affecting your current customer base.
So, now you know what signs to look out for, you might be thinking – how do I choose the right partner for my business?
Many scale-up business owners who start out as eCommerce outlets often find themselves spending the majority of their time managing staff, customer support and even taking orders to the local post office. But with outsourcing fulfilment, everything is managed externally. In most cases, your online store directly connects to your fulfilment partner and everything else is managed by them until your customer receives their order from you.
What are the benefits of outsourcing?
- Industry experience
Experience is everything, not to mention practising what you preach, and finding the right fit for your long-term goals is key. We Are Fulfilment have operatives who boast over 20 years’ experience in supporting clients with their product fulfilment requirements – and it is this experience that differentiates them from the rest of the market. To find out more about their experience, specialisms and how they’ve made a difference for their customers, take a look at their case studies here.
- Look beyond the price
One of the most common stumbling blocks when choosing a 3PL is cost. Price is important, but finding a company that is a good fit for your needs is just as important. Equally, you don’t want the standard of service, quality or reliability to suffer as a result of choosing a lower-cost option. Unsatisfied customers could end up costing you more in the long run which may have a detrimental impact on your business. For example, if a business decides to opt for the cheapest option, they may be forced to spend more time resolving mistakes by the 3PL, rather than focusing on strategy and innovation.
- Technology and innovation
It is important to source a partner that can easily integrate with not only your current business, but also your existing integrations, systems and processes. Many retail outlets operate from Shopify which is crucial for an online store, but what about when a business is ready to move into new markets such as eBay or Amazon? A lot of third party suppliers will charge for this service, when in reality this should be a free integration to help enable growth.
- Data and reporting
Knowing your inventory and orders is the biggest influencing factor to your success and your cash-flow. Finding a partner that can provide real-time data and scheduled reports will save you time and allow you to make informed decisions about stock holding and promotions.
Finally, when choosing a partner for your business, remember that the 3PL should show a genuine interest to get to know more about your products, people and long-term goals. A partnership is about collaboration and this is something that We Are Fulfilment prides itself on. The passionate Midlands-based team are keen to help new and existing clients to innovate and reach their fullest potential, so why not get in touch and speak with one of their specialists today?