Amazing scenarios exist in understanding the universe. Equally amazing though is how order fulfillment applies these two factors of existence. Not nearly as spectacular, fulfillment of orders is directly connected to both space and time. Space to store products or materials; and human power to time it so to have product packages at the dock for carrier pick up.
Over the years some basics have been addressed in fulfillment service to make the most ‘scientific’ decisions to produce both one more cubic foot and tracking fast and slow moving inventory. Simply, increasing space and reducing time. And while the subject of outsourcing has had different views as to outsource or not, we will always suggest to new e-commerce and e-tailers to do it in house as you start out. Handling fulfillment will immediately prove either to outsource or continue with fulfillment in house.
We maintain there are difficulties with maintaining both marketing and operations, but knowing something about the back end will be of value when investigating a possible fulfillment service who you may have to depend on. What these companies have is experience and a continuum of working with all related matters including carriers who actually make the deliveries and their specific services and fees. Most fulfillment vendors know these services and fees by routine comparisons and what works best for certain weights and sizes.
Karol Media started in the basement selling educational video cassettes until activity increased to the extent leased space was required. Depending too on whether wholesale orders are the norm for product can dictate outsourcing to reduce overhead costs and no lease commitments. All in all, it really is a personal decision for many as ‘can-do space and time’ enters decision making. In the meantime, one article of interest written by James Salvatori for Practical E-Commerce that makes a valid stance to handle fulfillment to complete the customer cycle under one roof.