by Will Schneider
Many small and medium sized businesses are searching for a fulfillment company to store and ship their goods for them. But determining where the fulfillment company should be located can be a great challenge. Of course, most businesses would prefer for a fulfillment company to be located right down the street. This way, they can easily travel to them to check on stock and in case there are any issues. While this isn’t a bad strategy to employ, looking at the world this way could also lead to missed opportunities.
First and foremost, finding a fulfillment company right down the street doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re going to be the best fit for your business. There are so many other factors that mean a great deal when considering who to choose to perform your outsourced warehousing and distribution. Other things could have a big impact such as the specialty of the fulfillment company and their pricing. For example, most people wouldn’t know this because most third party fulfillment firms tell you that they can do “any” project, but the reality is that most fulfillment vendors focus on certain types of clients. Some are really good at e-commerce fulfillment, while other are really good at retail fulfillment to retail stores. Furthermore, there are some really good fulfillment companies that offer great service and some of the most competitive pricing, but if you won’t consider anyone outside of your city, you might miss on these potential cost savings.
Second, a huge indicator of costs involved in any fulfillment project is shipping. If you choose a fulfillment company right by your company, it may or may not be the best decision to lower your overall shipping costs. Two factors come into play when making this determination – where your product is manufactured and where your customers are. For example, if your product is produced inChinaand most of your customers are inCalifornia, then it would make sense to located a company in or near a major port inCalifornia. And for many companies that ship to customers all across theUS, finding a fulfillment company that is centrally located may be the best option.
As you can see, this is no easy decision. But taking into account all of the factors, instead of just looking at convenience, will lead to the best decision overall for your company.