Fulfillment Special Report: The Demands of Literature Fulfillment
Why and When to Outsource Your Operation
Speed and agility mean everything in today’s market, which is why companies large and small are evaluating whether it makes sense to outsource their literature fulfillment process. It’s a particularly big issue in the B-to-B sector where manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors often incorporate significant non-catalog literature into their direct marketing programs.
If you’re making a fulfillment outsourcing decision, here are several trigger points that could mean you need a better solution:
1) Is your internal fulfillment world-class? Would another company hire you to perform this service?
2) Are you experiencing excessive obsolescence because of an inability to accurately forecast usage?
3) Conversely, do you have stock outages and then need to pay rush charges to replenish materials?
4) Is your fulfillment system Internet-based to allow ordering, payment and inventory reporting in real time?
The Cost Issue
There’s no escaping the ongoing need to drive down costs, and analysis of internal fulfillment systems often reveals significant inefficiencies. What’s more, the expense of upgrading systems generally is difficult to justify for a non-core competency. Today, it’s not unusual for outsourcing decisions to be initiated by financial departments that want to more closely track costs by marketing channel, business unit or even individual sales representative.
Outsourcing fulfillment can save you money in a variety of ways. To begin with, you don’t have to invest in building a state-of-the-art fulfillment infrastructure, freeing capital for more productive investments in areas such as product development and marketing. Access to better forecasting tools from your outsourcing partner, as well as the incorporation of on-demand print and real-time inventory control can significantly reduce obsolescence costs without generating stock-outage problems.
How much might you save? For one major producer of electrical, engineering and automated solutions, outsourcing fulfillment helped the firm realize a 42 percent hard cost savings in the first year of use, after deducting relocation and Web-site customization costs.