When your business is small, you need to be involved in everything. You’re multitasking, and while it’s not easy, you’re on top of it. However, as you grow, you need to start thinking about managing your supply chain. There is a point at which the demand for your product may even outstrip your ability to produce, package, and fulfill orders. Yes, you may have loyal customers, but late orders and the inability to get your product on their shelves, or to their homes, can sap the patience of even the most loyal. You need to think about supply chain management before your back is to the wall. Here are five things you need to know about outsourcing your packaging and fulfillment.
1. Outsourcing is not offshoring. Your product is still made in the USA, and protects American jobs. This is a consideration that has become very important to many consumers. The two are often confused, but they are actually worlds apart. While a product can be simultaneously outsourced and offshored, packaging and fulfillment can be outsourced without offshoring.
2. Warehousing and inventory is labor intensive, and costs a lot of money not only in labor and overhead, but in rent. Inventory management and logistics are vital in order to stop shrinkage, especially when dealing with stock that requires special handling. A top-of-the-line packaging and fulfillment operation that has invested in inventory management software and hardware that will give you a way to see how your products are doing in real time, let you know exactly what your inventory is doing, as well as your production process, and order fulfillment.
3. Order fulfillment is not just the process of shipping out a package, but of processing an order, packaging or assembling it, preparing it to ship, and having it picked up to be delivered. This is a process that takes place no matter how large or how small the order is. Whether it is fulfilling a retail order via any e-commerce site or palletizing and shipping goods for distribution, it is specialized work and it’s best to leave it to the professionals.
4. As your brand expands, you may find that you need more specialized services, such as international shipping and LTL freight. Companies that specialize in fulfillment have ways to ship anything, to anyone, anywhere at all. This takes the guesswork from you having to figure out how to get your product distributed and the logistics of getting your product delivered on time.
5. Outsourcing gives you more time to focus on your business. Very often taking a company from startup to successful launch means that a lot of people become a jack-of-all-trades. There is a time that you need to recognize when what you are doing is no longer effective, and you need a professional to step in. You wouldn’t hesitate to have a CPA do your taxes, a lawyer draw your articles of incorporation, or have a design professional help to create your branding. Outsourcing is just another way of getting the professional assistance you need for a successful business.
Outsourcing these tasks to an experienced company can help you avoid a rough patch that many smaller companies often fall prey to. Production, packaging, and fulfillment are some of the most complex parts of supply chain management. Understandably, you may be a little hesitant at first to outsource these functions because after all, your product is your baby. Outsourcing your packaging and fulfillment to a company like Simplicity Filling Systems allows you and your team to concentrate on your core competencies which are building and marketing your brand.