Startup companies already face enough challenges on the path to success. There are product mixes to select, customers to sign up, employees to hire, business processes to set up, and myriad other considerations that go into running a new company.
Buried somewhere within those requirements is one centered on getting your product to your end customer: defining your fulfillment strategies.
Fulfillment is an inventory management function that directly relates to pulling available stock, packing it into individual orders, and then packaging those orders for shipment (aka, “pick and pack”). The function plays a critical role in your startup’s success.
Here are four fulfillment strategies that can help ensure a smooth process as your products move from your warehouse or DC and out into your customers’ hands:
1. Put fulfillment center stage.
Fulfillment should never be an afterthought.
“When you start a new business, you must plan the best distribution strategy right from the start. Your goal is to get your product into the hands of your customers effortlessly,” writes Laura Sherman in How to Distribute Your Products Effortlessly.
“The last thing you want is poor word-of-mouth on Amazon, Yelp, or any of the plethora of online reviewing sites that can make or break your business. Being sluggish on your delivery, charging too much for shipping, or making too many errors can be the kiss of death for your small business.”
2. Consider your specific product requirements.
Different products require handling and sending to customers in unique ways.
For instance, big items can take longer to deliver because of the risk of damage and the limitations of size with some couriers. “Knowing your product and what it needs to be delivered to the customer in perfect condition should be a massive consideration for your fulfillment plan,” according to Floship’s E-commerce Fulfillment Strategy for Your Startup.
3. Leverage manufacturers’ drop-shipping options.
With this strategy, you work directly with manufacturers that have the ability to ship their products directly to the end customer.
This particular strategy makes it so that you never have to touch the product. You are responsible for obtaining the correct product data to list the manufacturers’ products in your store, and then they are responsible for shipping the product to the end customer, writes George Deeb in E-commerce Fulfillment Strategies. As you receive orders, you communicate them to the correct manufacturer.
4. Align with a reliable third party fulfillment provider.
If your startup has moved from shipping a handful of orders a day to sending dozens or even hundreds per day, it’s time to partner with a reputable fulfillment provider like Kanban Logistics, which offers a North Carolina fulfillment warehouse.
“At first glance, spending a lot of time fulfilling and shipping orders sounds like a pretty sweet problem to have,” writes Chris Thornham in A startup e-retailer’s journey to efficient fulfillment. “If you’re spending all of your time shipping your product, who’s running the rest of your business? You don’t see Papa John delivering pizza.”
Getting fulfillment strategies right for your startup is an important step that Kanban can help with. In fact, quick and accurate shipping is a critical component of running any business. Interested in talking to a fulfillment specialist? Call Kanban today.