5 Critical Steps for Outsourcing ECommerce Order Fulfillment

In the rapidly evolving world of Ecommerce Order Fulfillment, many companies need a fast, outsourced logistics engagement that will handle immediate needs like flash sales, online promotions and more. In their quest to find the right 3PL company as a fulfillment partner, they must address mission-critical topics about outsourcing Ecommerce order fulfillment even as they identify their ideal fulfillment center location.

At TAGG, our expert team of fulfillment center professionals have engaged in countless outsourcing engagements, and today, we’re sharing their advice for 5 critical steps with you. Whether you’re releasing a formal RFP to assess fulfillment partner candidates, or you’re fast-tracking your fulfillment outsourcing, these 5 insights can help you do it the right way the first time.

Step 1: Matching strategy and culture to your ecommerce order fulfillment outsourcing engagement.

First and foremost, develop a deep understanding of your company’s strategy and culture – and how those foundational aspects of your business will impact your fulfillment partnership. Whether you are outsourcing logistics – that is, various aspects of fulfilment, warehousing or transportation – for the first time, or if you’ve already outsourced but are looking to change fulfillment providers, the very earliest stage of your process should focus on strategy and culture. What are the most important characteristics your fulfillment partner must have? Often, the answer lies in the values that make up your company’s culture.

Step 2: Creating an RFP for a fulfillment partner.

Draft an RFP — or at a minimum, a scope of work —- comprehensively including your key objectives of the outsourcing engagement, providing the right data about your orders, making onsite visits to the fulfillment centers you are considering, and finally, assumptions your fulfillment partner can work with to provide accurate pricing.

Step 3: Defining the technology requirements for your ecommerce order fulfilment operation.

Recognize that technology plays an increasingly important role in fulfillment operations. Ask deep and thorough questions to evaluate your fulfillment partner’s capabilities to perform ecommerce order fulfillment, and be sure to watch for some important red flags. Will the fulfillment partner’s technology allow you to meet your own customer requirements — perhaps for 1-2 day deliveries? Does their technology enable you to find fulfillment efficiencies over time? Be able to confidently answer these questions.

Step 4: Understanding the labor and staffing capabilities of your fulfillment partner.

Understand the “People” piece, that is, the Labor considerations your fulfillment partner will need to undertake. Your fulfillment partner’s success will hinge on their ability to appropriately staff your operation and fulfill orders, making the “People” piece perhaps the most pivotal and critical element of your outsourcing engagement.

Step 5: Implement a successful ecommerce order fulfillment solution.

Anticipate and plan for a successful fulfillment solution implementation — one that makes the final solution run smoothly, and minimizes misunderstandings and confusion during the start-up of the operation. The last thing you want to do is go through the process of finding the perfect fulfillment partner, only to realize too late that they aren’t able to successfully implement what they promised. You can head off this situation with some careful planning and processes.

Ready to learn more? Read our E-Book: What to look for in a Fulfillment Partner now.