As a small or medium size business should you outsource your ‘Order Fulfilment or should you fulfil your orders in-house?

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ecommerce packaging

With changes to the recent economic climate here in the UK, we have seen an emergence of new and improved e-commerce options as suppliers seek to gain an advantage over their competitors.

We are all aware of the enormous success both in the UK and overseas that Amazon has had in recent years, and most of us have ‘the box with a smile’ arrive on our doorstep at some stage.

Culturally we now expect fast and free shipping with a no quibble return policy should something go wrong. No doubt this will become a significant decision when looking to purchase online.

If you are a small business and have a limited number of products listed on your website, then managing delivery and order fulfilment is relatively straightforward and can be managed by you or your staff internally.

However, the process of storage, warehousing, shipping, delivery as well as managing the admin involved with the whole order fulfilment process can soon become time-consuming and stressful.

As the process continues to become more complex many small and medium-sized businesses are seeing the value in outsourcing the fulfilment process to a third-party logistics company.

Many business owners are surprised that the costs of the service are very proportionate to the overall efficiency of the business and of course, necessary to meet the expectations and needs of the business’s customers.

SO what is involved with outsourcing order fulfilment and is it worth it?

If you are currently doing your order fulfilment yourself (in-house), then you will already be involved with picking the orders from your shelves and packing them for delivery. You will be using a freight carrier no doubt based on price, speed of delivery and reliability of service.

So why has Third-party logistics (or 3PL) become such a large industry, and why are so many people using 3PL companies?

Many businesses see lower shipping costs, faster delivery times and automation of the whole process that works to seamlessly integrate with your company and meet the ever-growing demands of your customers. Bulk shipping rates can also mean that the service can help keep your shipping and delivery expenses to a minimum and in doing so, increase the profitability of your business. Depending on the products being sold on your website, shipping can eat into your profits; it is a cost that is factored into the profit of everything you sell.

The decision to manage your order fulfilment in-house or to use a third-party logistics company will depend on what you are selling. If you are selling a lot of product in volume and inexpensive rates then you will no doubt ant to consider the 3PL route, if your products are bespoke or high value, and you only send a few pieces each week then you may want to continue doing it yourself.

Your decision will also take into account the skillset of your current employees, the time taken to fulfil the process and the efficiency that you can deliver when going it alone. Efficiency in the process will involve technology and software, which can make a massive difference in the whole fulfilment cycle. It is unlikely without a substantial investment that you will be able to match the efficiency of a 3PL company geared up to use all the latest software and technology.

Suppose you are a small or medium-sized business and you have been struggling with the order/delivery process. In that case, you may already be considering an investment in software as a final resort to try and smooth out the delivery process.

This involves so much more beyond the purchase of such software, (training, execution, development, maintenance etc.) and passing all this to an experienced third-party logistics provider, such as Pointbid Logistics, can not only be a good investment but a huge relief.

Meeting Your Goals

Whichever route you decide to take, whether you go it alone and keep the process in house, or whether you use a professional order fulfilment / 3PL company like Pointbid, the goals for your business will be the same. To compete with other e-commerce businesses, both small and large, you will need:

 

  • Accurate delivery
  • Timely delivery
  • Consistent in quality of service
  • A scalable process as your business grows

The above can be attained either way, by doing it yourself or by entrusting the process to an experienced 3PL company. One thing for sure, passing it to the right trusted company can make the whole business relationship work like a dream.

At Pointbid Logistics, we are a business’s trusted Partner, and to most of our clients, we feel like part of their organisation. Why not give us a call to discuss how we can help you and your business achieve efficiency in the process at a cost that works for you.

 

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