Making the decision to outsource your order fulfillment and shipping department is a big one, there’s no doubt about it! It requires investment (although not as much as you’d think), planning, and yes, a certain amount of faith in the company you are hiring. After all, you want it to take care of your customers just as well as you would!
But when is the best time to outsource your order fulfillment department?
Is it right at the start of your business, when you are shipping only a few items a week, and the transition is simple and easy to accomplish? Or perhaps later, when you have your own full-fledged shipping department, with several employees?
The ideal timing is actually somewhere in between; keep a close eye on your order fulfillment costs including storage, power, heating, shipping supplies, actual shipping costs, etc.. The tipping point, or when it becomes financially advantageous to outsource order fulfillment, is usually when you hire an employee that is paid a full-time wage to take care of shipping. At this point, outsourcing is generally a good idea.
If you’ve kept a close watch on the evolution of your shipping related costs, as well as the true cost of outsourced alternatives, then you’ll be able to move decisively when the time is right, and when your company is still small enough that outsourcing brings no major logistical considerations.