As your business grows, your fulfillment providers need to be able to scale to support your increased load. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen though. In many cases, retailers and eCommerce businesses outgrow their providers before they have a chance to find a suitable replacement.
But obviously, this isn’t ideal. Besides leading to operational difficulties, it can also increase the complexity and cost of your process.
How do you know if you’re about to outgrow your fulfillment provider? Here are 5 tell-tale signs.
You Need Additional Fulfillment Locations
Your fulfillment provider should have the capacity to handle your orders, no matter how busy you get. If you find yourself needing new fulfillment locations to ship all of your orders on time or avoid an impending backlog, it’s time to start looking around for another fulfillment provider.
A truly scalable provider will have the infrastructure and processes in place to handle your orders seamlessly, no matter how big your customer base gets or how busy peak season is for you.
Your Fulfillment Partner Can’t Scale, Seasonally
Peak season sees more revenue and sales than any other time of the year. But it also comes with a challenge: more orders to be picked, packed, and shipped.
If your fulfillment provider can’t keep up, you’re likely to wind up with stressed fulfillment teams and low customer satisfaction scores. And if you’re serious about scaling your business, you can’t afford either one.
As a result, you need to make sure your fulfillment partner has the capacity to support your growing needs every time peak season rolls around. If they seem openly concerned about the load or struggle to process orders in a timely manner, it’s time to find a new provider.
You Need More Technology
Keeping up with demand is hard enough when you have the right technology in place. But if you find yourself constantly looking for new tools to supplement your order management, inventory management, or fulfillment activities, it may be time to pin down a new fulfillment provider.
Ideally, you should look for a partner with technology that:
- Can give you complete visibility into your inventory levels, organization-wide
- Has all the features needed to support an omnichannel fulfillment strategy
- Is highly scalable and can grow as quickly as you do
In doing so, you can ensure that you’ll have everything (or nearly everything) you need to continue growing for years to come.
KPIs Aren’t Being Met
Key performance indicators (KPIs) are a critical piece of any fulfillment strategy. Not only do they tell you how you’re performing operationally, but they also show you the impact of your efforts.
As a result, if you aren’t reaching your KPIs, you have a problem on your hands. Products may not be getting to your customers on time due to increased order cycle time and numerous backorders. Shoppers may be receiving damaged products or incorrect orders. And in all cases, there’s a natural drop in customer satisfaction.
While a one-off issue may not be cause for replacing your fulfillment provider, a chronic problem certainly is. No matter what the situation, your fulfillment provider should have the processes in place to help you reach your KPIs consistently.
You Need Other Vendors for Additional Services
Personalization is important to your customers. But branding your boxes and bags and personalizing your product inserts is often a custom job that requires another solutions provider. At least, that’s the case when you’ve outgrown your fulfillment partner.
The fact is, the right providers don’t need to have custom boxes and bags shipped into their fulfillment center to create a personalized experience for your customers. They can do it in-house for you.
While fulfillment providers offer many benefits to retailers and eCommerce brands, they’re only worth the investment if they can keep pace with you.
As a leading fulfillment provider for eCommerce and retail businesses, Radial solves all the problems listed above and more. We have the capacity to scale to meet your busiest holiday demands and help you meet your KPIs all year round. We also offer an omnichannel OMS to support your business’ inventory management, order management, and fulfillment operations.
And being focused on your customers’ happiness, we offer a wide variety of customization options, from custom packaging and gift wrapping to marketing inserts, embroidery, blending, and kitting. Together, this makes us a powerful fulfillment provider for your organization now and as you grow over the next few years.