If you're an online retail startup and have significant growth projections, you need to work with partners and vendors that can handle your growth...which can be difficult to find. Finding a parter in fulfillment should be your first priority, as it's one of the most important partnerships to establish. You want your fulfillment company to be able to handle sudden program changes and increases in inventory and orders. This blog will discuss some key factors to consider when selecting a fulfillment company to handle your fast growth needs.
1. Space & Personnel
The first factor to consider when choosing a fulfillment partner is whether or not they have enough space, personnel and the right systems in place to handle your inventory. Make sure they have the space available in their facility to handle your growth projections in the future. If they don’t have the space currently, ask if they have access to additional space and how quickly they can have it available.
Having a flexible labor staff is also important. Be sure to make sure that the fulfillment company you select can quickly ramp up their staff to meet your increased needs. Being able to quickly train that staff is just as important.
2. Be Flexible
During the startup, or any heavy growth phase, flexibility is key. Making changes on the fly and being able to ramp up or down on staffing and equipment will allow you and the fulfillment company to be successful. For most companies that go through a heavy growth period, their program changes very often. What might have been the norm 2 or 3 months ago is now completely different. Working with a fulfillment company that cannot only make these changes quickly, but also stay ahead of the curve by anticipating when changes might need to occur, will allow for successful growth.
3. Scalable Experience
When selecting any fulfillment company, you want experience. But, when you have fast growth projections, you want a fulfillment company that has experience scaling. Ask for references specifically around retailers that have heavy growth projections to better understand how the fulfillment company was able to handle these specific scenarios. An experienced fulfillment company will be able to stay ahead of your demands and begin to plan for situations before they happen.
Finding a fulfillment company that has the capability to handle fast growth can be difficult. If your fulfillment company is not able to keep up with your growth projections, it can be a detrimental to your success. Make sure that you are upfront about your projections and have a complete understanding of their capabilities, so you're sure to succeed beyond the startup.