The Case for Outsourcing Your Logistics and Supply Chain Management

Written by Small Business Magazine on April 1, 2016. Posted in Logistics st louis, Marketing logistics, Warehousing and distribution

Logistics management services

Logistics solutions used to be simple. People would drink the day away waiting on the docks of large seafaring towns. They would wait until the setting sun cast the silouhette of some large vessel, (the shadow being the only marketing logistics anyone needed), and they would pile on the boardwalks to see which merchants were aboard. There was no such thing as order fulfillment. There was just the thrill of the man from Asia with the raw silk, and you having enough dabloons to buy his curiosities.
We’ve come a long way since those days. What was once naught but a ship and a prayer has morphed for most serious distributors into a complex Ecommerce order fulfillment process. Ecommerce revenue a la Amazon is projected to rise another 5 billion over the next three years, and if you don’t take your logistics management solutions seriously, your business will definitely suffer. People are entitled now to the miracle that is your supply chain, and they are always expecting improvement. IN fact, nearly 60% of consumers identified shipping as a problem area during web transactions, and think that shipping should just be free in general. (If only they knew how much work you did!)
So, how can you make your Ecommerce order fulfillment process better? You’re not Amazon or Ebay after all. You need the time to actually make your product, and if you spent the required amount of time on logistics management, that would be a full time job!
Well, we’ve kind of hit the nail on the head. In our opinion, the best way to improve your Ecommerce order fulfillment process is to outsource your logistics and supply chain management. We realize this is a very popular Band Aid for most business and government problems, but in the case of logistics, it really works. You need experts in your corner to deal with warehousing efficiency, dim weight factors, transportation, etc. The system dynamics surrounding Ecommerce order fulfillment are so complex that you can even get a Masters degree in supply chain management!
Now, we understand your fears. An outside company won’t have the same vested interest in your inventory as you do, right? They’re liable to shirk, handle packages roughly, not get from point A to point B fast enough…there are any number of less than ideal scenarios involved in the Ecommerce order fulfillment process that you would rather not think about.
Of course these are risks, and back in the time of ships and dabloons, maybe the competition was so thin on the ground that logistics companies could get away with stuff like that. Nowadays though, managers will line up around the block to get at your supply chain, and people are very concerned with their professional reputations. Still, the more research into a company you do, the greater your chances of finding an outside contractor that fits your needs. Find out the answers to the following questions before going with any logistics outfit:
-Who are their other clients, and are they businesses similar to yours?
-How long have they been in business?
-What is their reputation amongst fellow Ecommerce distributors?
-Do they have contingencies in place for bad weather and/or hazardous materials?
-Are they balancing on the cutting edge of logistics technology?
-How many people do they employ, and are their employees satisfied?
-What does their boiler-plate contract look like? Is it behaviors based or outcome based?
-Is any facet of your relationship up for negotiation?
-What is their price tag, and is it comparable to other price quotes you’ve been hearing?
-How are you being treated in the shopping-around process? Are they being conciliatory or pushy?
-Do they provide any sort of guarantee should the worst occur?
We may live in a different era, but that doesn’t mean the old days have disappeared. The ship is now simply your fabulous website, so invest in a quartermaster and let them haul around the crates.

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