Supporting Contributor Post
Many new businesses reaches a point where it feels as though there’s too much time spent on shipping and receiving, and not enough on building the business. Service companies offer inventory and fulfillment services under one roof, or one or the other. But sometimes outsourcing is not an option, and you need to make the best of the circumstances you’re in now. Here are some tips for optimizing your startup’s fulfillment department and inventory.
Distribution projects often run into delays, especially those involving physical expansion or technology overhauls. You should be fair about demands on vendors and contractors essential to the process. Rushing these services and exacting unrealistic promises is no assurance of things being done right and on time. If you can plan ahead and set realistic goals, you are far less likely to be struggling with timetables, funding, and irate contractors.
It’s important to plan for raw materials, as well as inventory, shipping materials, and product turnaround. For example, if your business sells posters or T-shirts, you will be in dire straits if you run out of cardboard tubes used to store and ship merchandise. Maintain open channels with vendors like Chicago Mailing Tube Co. to ensure there are emergency inventory levels available to minimize fulfillment delays.
There are many different aspects of the distribution/fulfillment process. Implementing software, construction, product relocation, excessive traffic, and other issues can negatively impact material handling and order fulfillment to a critical extent. In the midst of this chaos, it’s important that you have a project manager who can balance workflow with modifications and focus resources where needed.
Better late than wrong
At times unexpected delays leave you faced with the choice of plowing ahead and making the best of it, or putting projects on hold. Let’s say you relocated product to another site to make room for new warehouse racking, but the racks wound up on backorder and now you have nothing but empty space. Sometimes temporary inconvenience is better than actually moving backward. A readiness assessment should be made at certain intervals to determine whether it’s advisable to proceed.
Getting the most from warehouse and fulfillment operations in the face of sudden demand can be challenging for any startup. The proper approach is having a sensible plan before you even begin, one that allows not just for growth, but the time and resources to see that the right changes take place- before you find yourself in desperate need.
Leslie Truex is an ideaphoric writer, speaker, entrepreneur, social worker and mom trying to do it all from the comfort of her home. Since 1998, she's been helping others create careers they love by providing work-at-home information and resources through Work-At-Home Success.
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