Afew years back, you took that leap of faith. You con- sulted the experts, you developed that perfect pitch, and, voila, you launched. Your product hit the market and you felt like a winning coach anticipating a Gato-rade bath.
Fast forward to today: you’ve got yourself a product that’s
paying major dividends and business is booming. But now
you find yourself facing a new dilemma. You’ve studied your
niche and you know all about your customer, but are you
prepared to scale the business?
Perhaps you have a high-end, custom-wrapped item that
deserves a focused level of detail in regards to preparation or
packaging. Maybe your shipping needs aren’t overly complicated, but you have to move 10 times the amount your operation is geared to handle. You might be adding retailers and
other sales channels that are now selling your products.
As a direct marketer, are you able to meet and exceed
customer expectations while fulfilling custom orders? Are
you maintaining customer satisfaction — even during peak
When marketers have that epiphany for a new product,
they often have very manual and customized processes for
fulfilling their orders. After all, they are selling a product and
not seeking to be experts in storage, shipping, or delivery.
Some are handling their fulfillment in house, while others
might already be outsourcing to a third-party logistics firm.
If you find yourself maxed out with managing your own
operations, or you’re questioning whether your provider has
what it takes to help you move to the next level, here are
three areas to be mindful of when it comes to scalability.
If your order fulfillment is in-house
and you are overseeing the labor,
you’ve already learned a hard lesson
on both the value of retention and
anticipating the increase in labor.
You might even have a temp service
on speed dial and family members or
friends who refuse to pick up when you
call due to your constant requests for
help with packing and labeling boxes.
Maybe you already have a fulfill-
ment provider, but you’ve realized they
just aren’t able to handle the growing
demand. They were perfect when you
first started, but their systems and labor
are not well suited to handle all the value-added services your
product now requires.
No matter what you’re doing, you need to ask yourself:
Does my fulfillment operation have the trained staff necessary to scale and meet order demand? Am I accurately anticipating my staffing needs during peak and non-peak seasons?
With the recent boom in e-commerce, demand for warehouse space continues to surge. If you are a direct marketer
managing your own fulfillment, you most likely aren’t sitting
on a massive warehouse with ample square footage that you
leased or purchased “just in case.” Maybe you’re working
with a provider that doesn’t have the room or the necessary
resources to keep up with your demand. Early on, things were
a perfect fit, but you’ve added products, diversified your selling options — and you need room to grow.
The point is: you need to be sure you have the space to
handle capacity, including peak season. Don’t let your operation outgrow your fulfillment strategy. Don’t find yourself
forced to scramble for better options. Your fulfillment operation should have a plan for flexibility in order to meet the
demands of your customers.
As we’ve said time and again, customer expectations are
steadily on the rise. Take some time to evaluate your fulfillment operation and determine that if you were to increase
your volume, would you still be able to exceed your customer’s expectations?
Can you process in 24 hours or less? Have you been able
to maintain on-time shipping, even during your peak seasons? On the flip side, did you maintain order accuracy within your high-selling season? Finally, with a successful product
comes new sales channels: is your fulfillment operation able
to quickly and seamlessly integrate with new retailers when it
comes to order management?
Fulfillment is a complicated subject. If you’re doing it
right, you have specialized systems and labor to effectively
get your product out the door — with both speed and accuracy — while maintaining the highest possible level of
Is all your time spent on mastering labor management,
maximizing space, and seeking new and improved programs
for getting your product out the door? If the answer is “yes,”
then it could be time to consider a change in your operational approach. ;
Get Ready to Set Scale
By Ayal Latz