Outsourcing order fulfillment and shipping can be a highly strategic business decision that helps you achieve greater productivity, increases profits and accelerates growth. At RSL, we have many long-term customers who have experienced exponential growth after outsourcing order fulfillment with us. By utilizing our solutions for order fulfillment, freight management and shipping optimization, they have grown their eCommerce businesses beyond expectations.
When it comes to selecting a fulfillment provider, there is no shortage of third party logistics (3PL) suppliers. In fact, a simple online search for “eCommerce order fulfillment” can turn up hundreds of seemingly viable results. It is easy to make the assumption that most fulfillment companies are essentially the same. But in reality, there is a high degree of variance between each fulfillment center’s infrastructure, technology, expertise and business processes. These critical elements can have the greatest impact on your overall success and ROI.
So, how does a busy eCommerce professional begin outsourcing order fulfillment from a list of hundreds of order fulfillment companies in a timely and effective manner? The best advice we can offer is to evaluate the available businesses that represent strategic partnerships, and select the partner that will help you meet your short-term and long-term goals for organizational growth.
The following RSL benefits have helped drive accelerated growth for the eCommerce businesses we serve:
Order Fulfillment at Top Speed with 100% Accuracy… Guaranteed
Fast and accurate order fulfillment is one of the basic benefits eCommerce retailers expect to receive when they outsource their fulfillment to a 3PL. However, few realize that many logistics providers fail to meet this level of service. But one thing is for sure: too many inaccurate orders will destroy any eCommerce business.
The costs resulting from fulfillment errors can quickly drain profits. Here are just a few of the costs commonly incurred by shipping an inaccurate order:
- Lost revenue (current purchase and Customer Lifetime Value)
- Costs of returning incorrect orders (shipping and returns handling/re-shelving)
- Cost of re-shipping correct orders (fulfillment, packing, packaging and shipping)
- Costs of administrative support (impacts time for customer support, accounting staff and others)
Numerous studies have shown that when activities are conducted at slower speeds errors are minimal while, conversely, moving faster results in increased errors. The Speed-Accuracy trade-off explains the high level of difficulty associated with delivering fast and accurate fulfillment. However, when it comes to today’s eCommerce consumer, slow is not an option and neither are wrong orders. Therefore, both speed and accuracy are necessary when an eCommerce company is looking into outsourcing order fulfillment.
At RSL, we have developed a proprietary combination of technology, machinery and processes that help us meet our commitment to provide fast and accurate fulfillment. We back it up with our industry-leading 100% accuracy guarantee. Orders are shipped within one (1) business day, with 100% accuracy. If it’s wrong, we pay with an automatic credit to your account. When you’re outsourcing order fulfillment with Rakuten SL, you don’t have to choose between fast and accurate.
Over 15 Years of Specialized eCommerce Logistics Knowledge & Experience in Outsourcing Order Fulfillment
Supply chain functions have grown increasingly complex with globalization, technology, and competition advancing at a rapid pace. The old manual pick, pack and ship fulfillment process has evolved to rely on an array of software and specialized equipment. In addition to the knowledge base required to successfully navigate these functions, individuals who oversee supply chain logistics must also stay on top of numerous domestic and international shipping regulations.
Think the stakes aren’t high? Guess again. Property damages and bodily harm caused by a violation of the laws and regulations governing the shipment of hazardous materials can result in penalties ranging from $110,000 to $175,000.
Rakuten Super Logistics, formerly known as Webgistix, was founded in 2001 when eCommerce was literally just beginning to take off. Since that time, RSL has been building and continuously updating a nationwide network of fulfillment centers supported by proprietary technology and comprehensive 3PL fulfillment software to create a holistic eCommerce fulfillment solution. We have unparalleled experience in outsourcing order fulfillment.
We wrote earlier of fulfillment companies that may look the same on the surface, but are far different upon closer inspection. One example is the growing number of large, multinational companies that are suddenly buying up small to mid-sized fulfillment companies. Buying a rodeo doesn’t make you a cowboy, and acquiring a few specialized warehouses does not compare to the experience and knowledge of running a successful fulfillment network for decades.
More Time to Focus on Your Core Business
Studies have shown that the most driven people usually fail to realize when they have reached their limits. Although you may indeed be working harder, when you are over-taxed your ability to be effective is greatly reduced.
In the rapidly growing world of eCommerce, it’s easy to fall into the trap of working more, but getting less done. Even worse, the results can be costly when important deadlines and opportunities are missed because you’re bogged down by low-yield tasks. When we take a step back from the rush of day-to-day operations, it’s easy to see that not all uses of time are equal. This simple realization can make a huge difference in the future success of your business and your overall satisfaction in life. Outsourcing order fulfillment can help you take this step back to focus on other aspects of your eCommerce business.
What Is Your Time Really Worth? When work needs to be done, it’s easy to fall into the trap of rolling up your sleeves and wearing whichever hat needs to be filled. But in reality, the math is simple: people who spend their time doing more profitable work make more money. As the old saying goes, time is money.
There are numerous methods available for calculating how much your time is really worth, but for the most simple estimate…
Time Spent Earning / Total Money Earned = What Your Time is Worth
If you work around 40 hours per week and earn $100,000/year, your time is worth approximately $48 an hour. Beyond this simple equation, you must also understand the exponential value of your time when you apply it to high value activities like:
- Strategic Planning
- Product Development
- Anything Related to Cashflow, Opportunity or Visibility
Regardless of what your business or life goals may be — more money, more time with family and friends, more vacations, or to have a positive impact on the world around you — your overall success will in part be determined by how you choose to spend your time.
Why waste your time becoming an expert in logistics, fulfillment and shipping? Unless this is your passion, it’s the wrong way to allocate your time. The smartest eCommerce retailers make the strategic decision to use their time to focus on growing their business, while outsourcing order fulfillment and specialized logistics to proven providers.
Realize the Difference in Cost versus Value
Before you can decide to outsource fulfillment for your business, it is important to understand how the right fulfillment provider will contribute in the areas mentioned above to give your business a competitive edge and the ability to compete with any store online. Therefore, your value equation for fulfillment must include all of the benefits, both professional and personal, that you will receive:
True Value in Outsourced Fulfillment =
Perceived Benefits (Customer Retention + Time Saved + Expertise + Peace of Mind) / Cost
To realize the greatest benefits, the cost of fulfillment must be weighed against the true value a strategic partnership can have on your business. One fulfillment company might charge more than another, but it is impossible to skimp on the eCommerce fulfillment software, processes and support required to deliver quality order fulfillment.