The deeper an in-plant can weave itself into the fabric of its parent organization, the better off it will be. Knowing this, some in-plants are endearing themselves to customers by offering fulfillment services, saving those customers from having to do this work themselves.
So you're shopping around for vendors, software and services to replace your current Web platform. Several questions no doubt go through your mind.
What are the features and functions we need? How can we use social media? Should we investigate SaaS or acquire a license and host our own solution? Or should we use a service to host?
What will the cost be? What are the due diligence steps we need to take with the vendor to make a sound decision?
When it comes to order fulfillment and customer service, most multichannel marketers keep it inhouse. Just 20% use an outside service for fulfillment, according to Multichannel Merchant's Outlook 2010 Survey on Operations & Fulfillment, and only 4% of respondents that don't are considering it.
About the same percentage of survey respondents (22%) use an outside provider for call center services, while 14% are considering it.
There is an age-old procurement debate over the merits of sourcing with a single supplier vs. multiple suppliers. In the world of parcel carrier services, which is best?
Those in favor of single sourcing — or limiting the number of suppliers for a particular service or commodity to as few as possible — believe there are enormous advantages gained, including reduced costs and improved efficiencies. There's less management, less complexity, and economies of scale are leveraged to get the best deal possible.
With the 2010 FedEx and UPS general rate increases now implemented, many shippers are feeling the squeeze on their transportation dollars.
Needless to say, improvements to your carrier pricing can ensure greater profitability and marketplace competitiveness. While there are many strategies shippers can use to reduce shipping costs, we'll focus on carrier contract negotiations. Here are five key areas to consider.
MINE YOUR DISTRIBUTION DATA
Before stepping up to the negotiating table, develop reports to understand service usage, seasonality, weight ranges, zonal distribution, nonfreight (accessorial) charges, cost per shipment, residential/commercial mix and other metrics.
Labor costs have increased by 10% to 15% during the past five years, according to our research. But the measure of true productivity (units of work measured over a time period) has remained relatively flat. That means there's been an increase in the labor cost per unit of work performed.
And when you consider that employee turnover rates of 25% or higher are not uncommon, it's clear you need to make the most of your return on investment in the operations labor force. If you can better manage your labor cost, you will improve the bottom line.
An efficient operation isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity these days. In the fulfillment business, this means putting material handling processes under the microscope to identify areas of inefficiencies that need to be tweaked or even completely overhauled to improve operating costs.
PRESIDENT DWIGHT D. Eisenhower had a dream of developing a program that would promote international understanding and friendship. So in 1956, Eisenhower founded People to People, basing the organization on his idea that direct contact between ordinary citizens from different parts of the world can encourage cultural understanding and world peace. Eight U.S. Presidents have served as the honorary chairman of People to People International.
Printers that are offering mail processing and fulfillment services, or are considering it, should make plans to attend Graph Expo in Chicago, September 9-12 (www.gasc.org). A Mailing & Fulfillment Center will be in full operation, giving you a chance to see all the latest equipment and software in action. In addition, a special theater will be set up offering numerous educational sessions. Here’s the schedule: SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 9 11:00 am – 12:00 noon What You Need to Know About Cameras and Matching Systems 12:30 – 1:30 pm What Have They Done to My Barcode? 2:00 – 3:00 pm Become a Direct Mail Champion –