Why would any small but growing company choose to pay for fulfillment services for startups? Wouldn’t it make more sense to save that money and put it towards growing the company even more? While the cheaper option may sound like the better option, small business fulfillment services are extremely valuable, if not necessary as you grow. Once you look at how a growing business increases your responsibilities and your customer expectations, you will realize the need to hire a third-party fulfillment center (3PL). If you’ve been holding out on hiring a 3PL partner but notice your business is growing, here are some challenges they can help you with.
Understanding your customers’ needs and making wise decisions on how to manage them through inventory is a challenge in today’s buying environment. There are many problems faced in inventory management, but these issues come with solutions. Managing your inventory is more complex than it may seem. Here are some of the most common problems and challenges in inventory management, and how you can improve your business to overcome them.
Challenges in Inventory Management
Lack of Knowing Your Inventory
Being unaware of inventory levels has a largely negative impact on supply chains. Companies should make sure they have full visibility of their inventory at all times, to know when stock needs to be replenished. It is also important to understand what is in stock, what is going to be ordered, the size and quantity of the order, and what items need to be replenished. This can be a cumbersome task, but it is essential to ensuring profitable business operations.
In product fulfillment, failures can and will happen. While they may be impossible to predict, some are more common than others and can be easily prepared for.
Many product fulfillment businesses think having an e-fulfillment service means nothing can go wrong, but the online aspects of a business are just as prone to error as the offline ones.
You’re likely more than busy enough running your fulfillment company; after all, today’s fulfillment companies are large, multi-channel enterprises. It’s not just about taking orders and shipping them out; it’s also about delivering quality goods to loyal customers and, above all else, sustaining a high reputation.
As such, it can be difficult to keep things running smoothly. However, there are ways to make operating a fulfillment business easier. Check them out:
Product fulfillment services overall is a difficult industry, but the toy and game industry is an especially tough market. Several factors are against its success; the most prominent of which being the declining world birth rate, and the shift from children playing with physical toys to now being in the digital space.
Despite these challenges, the toy and game industry continues to grow and experts believe the industry will keep growing up until at least 2018. The key for toys and games fulfillment is an experienced logistics company who can manage the nuances of shipping to both B2B and B2C customers within this industry.
When dealing with product fulfillment services, “accuracy” is a term with multiple meanings. Aside from the obvious—getting the correct order to the correct customer—accuracy also means being able to fulfill the order within the promised time frame and to deliver the product in good condition. In short, accuracy is how well your product fulfillment service can uphold your business’ most basic promise to the customer: that they will receive the item they ordered in the time frame that was promised and in proper condition.
It shouldn’t be surprising in our current online era that grocery stores are making the leap to digital. This shift has already taken place in countries like France and Germany, and it is methodically making its way to North America. But as the demand for online solutions to a traditionally in-store consumer activity continues to grow, there have also been some early challenges to online grocery product fulfillment.
On-demand CD and DVD fulfillment services give online merchants and media companies the flexibility to manage orders in an efficient manner and at an affordable rate. These businesses no longer need to be burdened with determining stock, and instead they can create a system where CDs and DVDs are printed and shipped at the customer’s request. Businesses are able to operate on a pay-as-you-go scale, meaning they only pay for the CDs and DVDs that have been ordered.
Selling clothing from an online store can be lucrative, but it also comes with a few fulfillment challenges unique to clothing. Any apparel—whether shirts, pants, skirts, or even socks—is susceptible to certain quirks in fulfillment service that result when dealing with a high stock-keeping unit (SKU) volume, seasonal spikes and dips, and even returns. As a result, it can be beneficial to try outsourcing your apparel order fulfillment to an outside warehousing and shipping center.
Why Outsource to Apparel Fulfillment Companies?
Whether you’re just starting your e-commerce business or are experiencing growth and are ready to expand, outsourcing your e-fulfillment services is a must. So long as your business is shipping physical products, it will need to incorporate a comprehensive system for effectively shipping the product to the end user.
Considering a 3PL Provider
Third-party logistics (3PL) companies have evolved greatly. They now offer much more than just inventory storage and pick & pack services.