Small business startups may begin by shipping products from the owner’s basement or living room. Hey, you have to start somewhere.
But as the business gains momentum, it may quickly become apparent that managing warehousing, distribution, and logistics takes more time, effort, money, and resources than you can dedicate.
Fortunately, several quality fulfillment centers specialize in providing small companies with logistics support. However, for the fortunate (and hardworking) companies that continue to grow, the load on the fulfillment centers that cater to small companies can become too much. They simply don’t have the resources to keep up. This may lead to increased costs or mistakes and even slow down the growth of your business.
Growing pains are painful enough. Why make them even more painful? If you’ve built a good relationship and positive rapport, it can be difficult to realize you’ve outgrown your current fulfillment partner. So, how do you know if your fulfillment partner relationship is no longer a good fit?
Here are six signs that you’ve outgrown your current fulfillment partner:
1) Increased mistakes: Mistakes happen at even the most efficient and effective business. That’s no less true of fulfillment centers or your own warehouse team. But if you start noticing mistakes happening more often, your current fulfillment partner is showing signs that it can no longer handle the order volumes or complexities.
2) Declining time to delivery: Single warehouse locations may be sufficient for small or more local/regional businesses. But as you continue to grow, ensuring you’re able to meet your customers’ demands for fast shipping throughout the country may mean looking at companies that have multiple distribution centers. This can not only reduce shipping times but may, in some cases, help decrease the cost of postage as well.
3) Increasing sales channels: If you’re shipping directly to customers, this can take a different approach than shipping to retailers or increasing the number of sales channels. It’s not just a matter of increasing the inventory or warehousing space. It often takes a more intense level of logistics, including picking, packing, and compliance. As your sales channels become more complex, you need to scale up to warehousing with the expertise to navigate the changing landscape.
4) Increasing costs: As you grow, postage costs will increase – after all, you’re shipping more packages to more people. Those costs, though, can get out of hand and weigh down your business. A more robust fulfillment center is better at negotiating rates, improving pickup times, and ensuring faster deliveries due to relationships with numerous carriers. This can lead to a lower cost per package shipped, which is money that’s delivered right to your bottom line.
5) Inability to scale for the season: Do you experience increased volume for the holiday season, the new year, beach season, tax season, etc.? If your fulfillment center falls short at times when there are more products to pick, pack, and ship for your company’s peak sales, this can increase stress on the entire organization and lower satisfaction with your customers, especially for companies that depend on repeat sales - don’t we all? You can’t afford to allow these seasons of increased sales to be squandered with inefficient fulfillment.
6) Limited technology: As your company grows, you don’t just need to keep better track of order and inventory management – you need to have complete real-time visibility, features that support your business (e.g., seamless CRM connections, omni-channel support), and constant improvements. The right technology platform can help you keep a better pulse on your business.
Have you outgrown your current fulfillment partner? Learn more about how QuickBox can help your growing business thrive while saving you time, money, and resources. Contact us today.