Skip to content

 

Particularly these days, as more warehouses scramble to fulfill their orders in the timeliest manner possible, many warehouses have multiple fulfillment options available.

A variety of factors can play into this, from the need to serve a specific geographical location better to the need to hit certain KPIs or goals for shipping speed. Many warehouses even try to keep open contracts with multiple fulfillment sources just in the event of an emergency – but do you really need all those extra fulfillment options?

 

Over the past few years, many warehouses (likely including yours) have created in-sourced fulfillment options, either by creating their own fulfillment network or partnering with a local shipping company for an exclusive contract, above and beyond bigger commercial offerings like FedEx or UPS.

Even after sourcing your own fulfillment options, the temptation may be there to look into fulfillment assets you don’t already own or lease to help orders get there more quickly. While this may be a good idea in certain circumstances, there’s a few questions you’ll want to ask yourself first:

  • Am I hitting my projected shipping time already? While customers are always excited for faster, Prime-style shipping times, the big thing you need to do to keep your customers around is just to hit the shipping times you tell them. If you give your customer an estimated ship date of 3-5 days, and your in-house fulfillment is reliably hitting the 3-5 day mark, then you’re already going to be keeping more customers around than you might have been otherwise.
  • Does my budget allow for shipping redundancies? Fulfillment contracts are something of a balancing act. While it’s always good to keep your options open in the event of some kind of shipping emergency or national crisis, a lot of warehouses wind up keeping too many of them around for too long. Take a look at what you spend on additional shipping methods and compare it to how many times you actually use those shipping methods, and start to prune them down from there.
  • Can my team fulfill orders easier with the current shipping method? In a lot of cases, changing a fulfillment method will result in process changes for your team. Particularly during times of high order volume, this may actually prove to complicate things in the short term. Make sure that, no matter what fulfillment method you use, your team can still easily access the wire shelves and pallet racks your items are kept on, and that they have a clear path to either the dock being used for loading, or to the workbenches being used to box and ship the orders.
  • How many locations are you shipping from? Finally, the best way to tell how you should source your fulfillment will come from how many locations you’re using to ship from. Most small businesses probably have one or two major warehouses that their products flow out of, and in that case you may be able to solely rely on your own shipping processes – but any more than that, and you may have to swallow your pride and seek outside shipping help to make sure your items arrive safely and on time.

 

If you’re able to answer these questions, you might just understand how much shipping you do – or don’t – need to outsource.

Leave a Reply

Back to top