Like many other companies in your industry, you're onboard with the idea of outsourcing your product logistics functions to a third-party provider.
That's probably a smart move given the diversity of ways consumers now purchase products and merchandise.
But the decision to pursue outsourced order fulfillment is only the beginning of the process. The next step is to assess the marketplace for an order fulfillment provider that is capable of delivering the quality of service your customers have come to expect – and that's not always as easy as it sounds.
The selection of a logistics partner is the most important decision you will make in the transition to outsourced order fulfillment. If you aren't sure how to select an order fulfillment service partner, we have the information you need to create a successful working partnership with your provider.
- Facility. The first step in the selection process should be a visit to the provider's facility. Providers who welcome site visits have nothing to hide – they're proud of their operations. But when a provider isn't keen on the idea, look out. It's could be a sign that their operation isn't everything they have claimed it is.
- Pricing. Expect order fulfillment outsourcing to cost less than it does to handle the same functions in-house. Beyond that, pricing shouldn't necessarily be your first consideration. It's a better idea to focus your search on companies that can deliver great service and reliable logistics.
- Service offerings. Packaging and shipping are core functions of order fulfillment. However, you should also evaluate the provider's other service offerings including customer service, reporting and analytics.
- Industry reputation. A provider with a proven reputation in their industry has an edge in the selection process. But your search should also evaluate the provider's reputation in your industry. Reach out to your industry contacts to get the low down on potential order fulfillment partners.
- System integration. Best of breed logistics providers leverage technology to the hilt. Ask potential partners to walk you through their technology and determine whether their technology will integrate with your existing system.