outsourced fulfillment centerWhen selecting an outsourced fulfillment center to partner with, there are many things to think about. You need to take into account its location, prices, how much storage space it has available, its track record, and reviews from other companies that have worked with that company. Companies need to be careful with to whom they entrust their order fulfillment services because the satisfaction of the customers depends on it—how fast their products arrive and in what condition is reliant on the services of an order fulfillment center. Some e-commerce fulfillment companies just aren’t up to par, and it can be hard to make the right choice. Companies often have the same indiscretions when selecting their order fulfillment partners, so we’ve compiled a list of the most common mistakes to help you avoid them. Keep on reading to find out about the most common mistakes you’ll want to avoid when selecting a fulfillment center.

Choosing the Fulfillment Company with the Cheapest Rates

Of course cutting costs can be an attractive concept—but it’s never worth it, especially when it’s at the expense of your reputation. There are some order fulfillment companies that charge exceptionally low rates, but make sure to do your homework. While price isn’t always an indicator of how good or bad a company’s service may be, abnormally low prices may raise a red flag.

Short-term profits are just that—a short-term benefit. Invest in outsourced fulfillment services that you know will deliver. Opting for the cheapest company can even cost you more in the long run. Oftentimes, companies are able to offer extremely low prices because they don’t have up-to-date technology, have low controls and metrics, and have the least amount of customer services. Each of these tools are imperative when it comes to having a successful e-commerce order fulfilment company, and failing to have a combination of them can lead to disaster.

When customers are unsatisfied with your order fulfillment process, it becomes unlikely that they’ll choose your company again in the future. Don’t make this mistake—spending a little more cash upfront will almost always benefit you in the long run.

Selecting the Fulfillment Company in the Most Convenient Location

While having an outsourced fulfillment company close to your business may sound like a good idea, a location close to you isn’t the only thing you should be looking for. A convenient location in regards to where your business is may sound good in theory, but it’s not always the best choice. Think about selecting a location in close proximity to your customers—this will help with delivery wait time, which is a huge deal for online shoppers.

Of course, being able to stop by and pick up samples whenever you`d like would be a nice luxury, but it’s not more beneficial than reducing delivery wait times and shipping rates. As we’ve mentioned before, cheap and fast shipping is a deal breaker for some and is often the determining factor when customers are deciding on where to make future purchases. Before you opt for the most convenient option, think about what would be the best choice when it comes to keeping customers satisfied.

Not Setting Clear Performance Expectations

Once you’ve found an order fulfillment company you’d like to partner with, the first thing you should do is have a meeting to discuss your expectations. While the ultimate goal is to have a perfect order every time, this is unlikely to happen, especially during the first little while of using a new company to fill your orders; and when human beings are involved, there are bound to be a couple of slip-ups. The best approach to reducing the error rate is to sit down with your partner and come to an agreement on your performance expectations. Things to consider when coming up with a reasonable expectation include your volume, accommodating seasonal demand, as well as the level of automation in the fulfillment warehouse.

Not Sharing Relevant Data

Keeping the lines of communication open between you and your order fulfillment partner is integral to having a successful relationship with them. Keeping important information within your company may be a good competitive strategy, but leaving your fulfillment company in the dark can backfire quickly.

Finding a partner that you feel you can trust is important so that you feel comfortable sharing private data with them. If you’re hesitant to do this and begin keeping things from them, there will be a disconnection between your company and their services, which can complicate the fulfillment process. Your partnership with a fulfillment company will work best when you join forces—this means that they’ll manage projects with you rather than for you.

Failing to Communicate Seasonal Demand

As we’ve emphasized throughout this post, communication is key. This means that letting your fulfillment partner know about your seasonal demands ahead of time is crucial so that it can make proper arrangements to be able to handle the influx of orders about to come its way. The fulfillment company will need time to adjust and flex their fulfillment capacity; this is usually something they can get done with ease when it has advanced notice but can be a difficult task when given short notice. Both you and your customers will benefit when you give your fulfillment partner advanced notice of demand increases; your provider will have more time to make alternate arrangement and avoid overtime costs, and will have time to recruit and train laborers to handle the additional orders. This will also decrease the number to order errors, thus increasing the overall satisfaction of your customers.

If you’re looking for an order fulfillment company to meet and exceed all your expectations, look no further than APS Fulfillment, Inc. We’re a full-service e-commerce fulfillment company that you can trust. We use state-of-the-art technology in our warehouse to keep track of inventory to ensure that every package gets delivered on time and to the right customer. Our services are flexible, and we can work with you to meet your company’s specific needs. Contact us today for more information about our facilities and services and to learn how we can help accommodate your growing company.