One of the most exciting times for businesses and brands of all sizes is when they are experiencing fast growth. It’s a time when your systems are strained to maximum capacity and employees and upper management are all on edge, just waiting to see what’s next. If you have managed to develop enough manufacture or assembly space to keep up with orders, you have done well. Now it’s time to prepare for continued growth and results in the coming months.
A common problem for many land-based and physical product driven businesses, is getting products out the door takes a lot of hands and feet. When things are going crazy, you don’t need to waste time locating warehouse space, managing it, and staffing it. You can’t run around leasing trucks or ordering software. You can’t get bogged down in the hands-on work of order management. You need to outsource it to a fulfillment center that can take care of the nuts and bolts while you focus on creating and building an amazing product.
However, the process of order fulfillment can be quite confusing. PlanetFulfillment.com is one of the biggest providers in this space and they detail the process as the following:
Simply put, order fulfillment is a process that begins with one of your customers ordering a product and ends with that product arriving at their doorstep. This process is critical to satisfying your customers’ needs yet must be done while reducing time, costs, and complexity of your warehousing and shipping components.
Order fulfillment is more than picking and packing customer orders. True order fulfillment means aligning your business needs with your order fulfillment company to give you visibility and control of your products, orders, and packages while reporting on key performance indicators that help you monitor the performance of your business.
Once the process of automation and fulfillment have been put in place it allows for businesses and brands to focusing on other important areas of the business, such as increasing customer outreach, brand marketing and support.
The energy you save will be directed into far more beneficial undertakings. You will be able to focus on customer service before and after the sale, on creative development of new lines, and on finding great partnerships to build value. You don’t generate your own electricity; you leave that to an expert. The same goes for fulfillment.
The impact of energy diverted from creation is obvious. The annals of business history are littered with examples of companies that failed when they rested on their laurels. Kodak once owned the camera industry, but their gun-shy view of digital photography allowed others to leave them in the dust, devouring their market share. Home movie rentals died when online options emerged. It wasn’t necessarily fulfillment that destroyed these businesses, but it was the fact that they stopped innovating. If fulfillment issues trip up your innovative process, you are in trouble.
So when your idea hits it big, don’t just assume that it will take you to the top and keep you there forever. Keep the killer mentality. Bring in people who will innovate and create for you and give you the chance to develop the next next big thing.
This isn’t just about the products themselves. This can be about the way you do business. The techniques we use for fulfillment don’t have to be the same as those of the entrepreneurs who came before us. We can create new ways of handling our goods that will get them delivered faster and more profitably than our competitors.
So don’t confine your creativity to your product development. Let it flow into fulfillment and all your logistics, too. Can you tweak the product’s shape, weight, or balance in order to package more effectively?
This is a time when you can learn a lot from your fulfillment people. Bear in mind that as specialists, they have a lot of experience in handling goods. They can work with you on what you might change about the product to make it handle better, not just for warehouse personnel but for the consumers and retailers down the line. You will have an independent consultant to help you with your product, free of charge.
They will also have ideas about the overall design. Maybe the snazzy bottle you use for your salad dressings is shifting awkwardly and leaking before delivery. Your fulfillment company can help you with that. Perhaps the high humidity in transit is damaging the light cardboard you’ve bought. Your fulfillment team will advise you of that, too.
You are succeeding in business because you are generating a product that is capturing people’s attention. Sustaining this success requires your full attention on development, manufacture, and customer care. There’s no reason to handle tasks internally when they have no bearing on your product quality but can erode your bottom line. Utilize a fulfillment center to save on overhead and maintain momentum!