When Is A Fulfillment Company The Wrong Solution?

If you have found this post and others that I have made – you will know that Lynx Fulfillment is solutions based.  We take great pride in wrapping solutions around the needs of our clients.  However, there are times when our solutions and those of other fulfillment providers are not right for your needs.


In this brief post – I want to talk about the times a fulfillment company is not the right choice for your business.  To do that, I will discuss the four categories that most non-solutions fall into as if they are personalities – the control freak, the hoarder, the dreamer and the tinkerer.


The Control Freak


Many inventors, innovators or idea champions are emotionally invested into every facet of their product or idea.  In some cases, the emotional investment is so extreme that they cannot fathom the thought of anyone else’s ideas or thoughts or processes interfering with the deployment of their vision.


I often see this manifested in the fulfillment of their orders.  “You need to first pick item x, then pick item y and after that you can pick z.”  Rather than taking into consideration that a fulfillment provider is an expert in their field or that the pick order is a matter of warehouse efficiency, bin layout and other factors such as weight of product and proximity to the packing stations – they insist that procedures follow the way they would do it in their garage or at their home.  Another example of this comes with the storage of inventory.  The very best fulfillment providers will use “quick pick areas” that contain enough inventory for a specified period of time.  As that inventory depletes their Warehouse Management Software will create an order to move inventory from the overstock area to the quick pick area.  The control freak will insist that all inventory remain together making its fulfillment less efficient and more costly.


The Hoarder


The Hoarder is a fulfillment providers worst nightmare.  This is a client that adds a variety of inventory while selling none.  Their reasoning is that adding a lot of everything will make them a one stop marketplace.  They feel as if they will be the next Amazon if they can just add enough product.  The hoarder invests heavily in inventory and very little in marketing and to justify their lack of sales they reason that they do not have the right products – so they purchase more.


The hoarder is actually well thought of by many warehouses that dabble in fulfillment, but not thought highly of by fulfillment companies that own warehouses.  A fulfillment provider measures the revenue generated per foot of space and a hoarder is a metric killer.  The only way to justify keeping a hoarder as a client is to raise their rates – pushing the hoarder further and further into debt.  If you are a hoarder then order fulfillment companies are not right for you.


The Dreamer


The Dreamer is the person that has a brilliant idea or concept, but poorly executes it.  This is the type of person that believes, “If you build it, they will come.”  Their idea for the next great item and their excitement is often infectious.  I have been on the side of many calls where I hung up thinking that the person was brilliant.  They manufacture inventory, build a beautiful website and then wait and wait and wait.  Weeks, months or even years later, I get the call that they are ready to give up on their dream.  They could not understand why the world didn’t knock down their door – “I have a beautiful website.  They should have found me.”  “Ohhh, you mean that having a website was not enough?  I needed to tell people about the product by publicizing it?”  I love dreamers, but if you are not able to convert your dream to reality by taking the steps necessary to make it a success then a fulfillment provider is not right for you.


The Tinkerer


The Tinkerer is a person that rarely is able to get out of their own way.  They have a great product, a great website, a fantastic marketing plan and the execution is definitely possible.  But The Tinkerer cannot stop tinkering long enough to deploy their plans.  They continuously fuss over one aspect or another.  “Since x is not right, we just cannot go ahead with b, c and d.”  The Tinkerer is looking at the most minute detail and often one that will not have an impact on anything else.  And by fussing they end up missing their moment – their chance – and lose out to a competitor that had an inferior product, but made it to market first.


Fulfillment Solutions can really benefit your business and help it grow to levels never considered possible on your own.  Ultimately, the success of your business depends on you.  Be honest with yourself and your fulfillment provider and you will find that your shortcomings can easily be overcome.

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