I spend several hours a week packing boxes and shipping orders. I don’t want to fulfill orders myself. I’m running out of space to store my inventory. I need more time for strategic projects like marketing and product development. I don’t want to invest in distribution infrastructure (e.g., warehouses, forklifts, labor, etc.). Does this sound like you?
If it does, it’s time for you to outsource order fulfillment to a 3PL. There is no “right” time that will be the same for every brand when it comes to outsourcing order fulfillment, but there are signs to look out for. Here is a checklist to help you decide if you’re ready to partner with 3PL. If you checked off any of the following statements, then partnering with a 3PL could be worth the investment:
- Your costs increase
- You need more space
- You’re moving to a new facility
- You have customer complaints
- You don’t have control over your inventory
- Your team is overwhelmed
Let’s look at each below…
Your costs increase
Your business can suddenly start growing quickly, which brings the challenge of keeping up with it all but also the increase in costs of materials, labor, staff, equipment and facilities.
You need more space
Whether you’re a startup that’s outgrown its space or a mid size to large business that simply needs more space and doesn’t want to invest in facilities; this is a sign that you need to partner with a 3PL.
You’re moving to a new facility
A 3PL can help you setup the new warehouse, move in your products and setup stocking layouts.
You have customer complaints
The benefit of partnering with a 3PL is they can easily scale up or down your operations when your business booms and when there are seasonal volume swings; helping reduce customer complaints.
You don’t have control over your inventory
Because 3PL’s manage large inventories for many clients, they do this with a sophisticated backend warehouse management system.
Your team is overwhelmed
As your business grows and orders start picking up, your team will be overwhelmed with keeping up with the demand. A 3PL is perfectly positioned to have right staff onboard as well as scaling up or down your operations as your business booms or goes through seasonal volume swings.
There are many reasons your business will benefit from partnering with a 3PL. A 3PL can help you avoid the costs of overhead, infrastructure, equipment, labor and technology necessary to run an order fulfillment warehouse. If you checked off any of the reasons above, then it’s time you start thinking about partnering with a 3PL.
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