Fulfilling the orders you receive is one of the most important parts of business. Without orders, you won’t be in business. Changing current process shouldn’t be taken lightly and, if you are looking for different fulfillment solutions, you will want to do your research to choose the best one.
Look at Short-term and Long-term Goals: Evaluating your current fulfillment center can help you find areas of improvement that can be accomplished in both the short run and long run. Short-term goals may be cutting down on costs and times, improving order accuracy and reducing the need for returns, or decreasing the response time for customer support. Long-term goals can include reducing the strain on internal departments, expanding to multiple facilities, such as on the west coast and east coast, or expanding the product line for more inventory. You will want to discuss these goals with any potential fulfillment solutions you are researching so you can see timelines for implementing these goals and the best solutions to help achieve your goals and continued business growth.
Expertise within Your Niche: Ecommerce retailers can get lumped into one group, but there are actually a lot of differences between products that are sold and the different fulfillment needs of those products. Ask your possible fulfillment center about the industry verticals they work with. If you have specialized products, you want to look for a provider that also handles similar clients. Some fulfillment centers will have equipment that is designed to handle your specific types of products. If you sell clothing, your needs may be different than if you were to sell small electronics. You may need hanging storage for clothing but more secured storage for electronics. Employees should have experience handling and packaging the products for better efficiency.
Provider Should Align with Values and Vision: The values and mission of your company will give clues about the success of a business partnership. You want to focus on creating a long-term partnership that will benefit you and them. The fulfillment center should have a business model that is built around the same principles you offer.
Level of Personalization Available: A growing business may have needs change over time, so the fulfillment center may need to offer some flexibility and personalization. Not all centers will be able to accommodate changing needs on a short notice, which can be crucial for a business that is growing. Large-scale facilities with better streamlined operations may be a better choice to give more personalization and flexibility.
The Right Levels of Customer Support: The first interactions with your provider will give you an idea of what it could be like working with them in the future. Did you get a quick response? Were they knowledgeable? Having the right level of communication and support will make your partnership more efficient.