Joe’s Thoughts: The Benefits and Pitfalls of Outsourcing

by Gwen Carrington | Outsourced Fulfillment

How important is maintaining a measure of control over your own operations? In the competitive area of e-retailing, outsourcing areas such as payroll, customer service, or tech support can give online sellers more time and resources to focus on growth. Outsourcing a non-core service can be extremely valuable, as long as you can maintain a certain degree of control over the process.

Take order fulfillment for example. Most companies who outsource their order fulfillment do so because it’s not their core expertise, however, for online seller it’s a key part of their supply chain that needs to work seamlessly with their customer service and order transaction systems.

When evaluating fulfillment vendors, does your fulfillment invite you to visit the fulfillment center to see where your product is stored? Can you meet the team responsible for the physical part of your order fulfillment?  Can you meet the account manager responsible for handling your day-to-day inquiries, and is that person located where your inventory is stored?  If the answer is no to any of these questions, then be prepared to lose control over the customer experience.

A certain degree of flexibility is required mainly for unexpected circumstances that arise with your customers. Unexpected  situations can and will happen, and when they do, speaking with an account manager who knows your product and works in the fulfillment center where it is stored is essential to ensuring the quality of your fulfillment, and to deciding whether outsourcing is right for your company.

Do you outsource any of your operations?