Warehousing & Fulfillment

Five Signs Your Business Needs a Fulfillment Partner

Warehousing & Fulfillment
February 1, 2023
9 min read

Wondering if it’s time to consider outsourcing fulfillment to a fulfillment partner? These are five signs you might have outgrown your current in-house operations.

When starting a new business, it often makes sense to manage order fulfillment in-house. As your business grows, however, it becomes quite difficult to fulfill large order quantities while trying to expanding your brand. The best solution is to find a outsourced fulfillment partner who can ease your logistical and delivery burdens while also helping expand your reach and optimize your inventory carry costs.

When is it time to find a fulfillment partner?

Here are five signs indicating it’s time to find a fulfillment partner.

1. You can no longer keep up with your order volume.

It’s no secret that online shoppers expect fast delivery options such as 2-day or same-day shipping. If the demand for your product overwhelms your in-house fulfillment capabilities, it could negatively impact customer service. A fulfillment partner can help by storing your product in locations closer to customers and handling those orders from packing to delivery for you. This ensures that promises such as 2-day or same-day deliveries are met, and it reduces your workload.

2. You’re managing your fulfillment in-house, but it’s getting too expensive.

The further away a delivery destination is, the more expensive the shipment will be. Over time, those costs will add up and negatively impact margins. If your business is stationed in Florida, for example, but a large percentage of your customer base is placing orders in Montana, you may be overpaying for ground shipments with extended time in transit (TNT), or worse, paying for Next-Day Air in order to meet customer expectations for fast shipping.

A more cost-efficient solution in the long-term would be to outsource to a fulfillment partner who can distribute inventory much closer to those customers in order to lower TNT. It is also much more cost-effective to leverage an outsourced partner than to invest in your own warehouse.

3. Other areas of your business are suffering because you’re too focused on fulfillment.

The time spent fulfilling orders can divert resources from the product and services you really care about. A good fulfillment partner can relieve you of this burden by handling fulfillment for you, so you can focus instead on the services you love providing without sacrificing quality.

When ECR4Kids needed to adapt their business model to reach new customers, they took advantage of the benefits of using fulfillment partner Ware2Go to meet these new challenges.

Although they owned multiple buildings in different areas including Los Angeles, San Diego, Philadelphia, and Mexico, Lee Seigel of ECR4Kids observed that, “As we move into a more hyperspeed environment, where orders in by 11:00 AM need to ship by 4:00 PM, that model just doesn’t work.” Justin Seigel further noted that they “realized that we have no business being in the logistics business.” With Ware2Go’s warehousing options and scalable network, they were able to place inventory much closer to their customer bases and meet 2-day shipping guarantees. Watch the full ECR4Kids story below.

4. You can’t meet customer expectations for delivery.

Customers expect fast and accurate deliveries, especially as your business grows. A 2021 consumer survey revealed that 33% of shoppers have higher expectations for fast shipping since the onset of the pandemic, and 42% expect a 2-day shipping option for every online purchase.

Increased demand for your product can make fulfillment difficult to manage in-house. Offsetting the workload to a fulfillment partner helps minimize the risks of failing to deliver on those customer expectations. A fulfillment partner can help you not only meet delivery expectations, but also ensure order accuracy.

5. You’re expanding into new markets or sales channels.

When exploring new markets or transitioning to multichannel retailing, several challenges arise including a lack of control over inventory and brand messaging, limited resources, allocating inventory between sales channels, and coordinating inventory based on the needs of each location.

An outsourced fulfillment partner can address these needs for you. With integrated technology and quality service level agreements (SLAs), a fulfillment partner helps ensure your company’s fast shipping promises regardless of the sales channel a customer purchases through — whether it’s an online marketplace such as Amazon or your company’s online store.

Palouse Brand needed an ecommerce fulfillment solution to offer their customers the same service across all of their channels. Ware2Go’s integrated technology enabled them offer 2-day shipping to all of their customers anywhere in the U.S.

What should you look for in a fulfillment partner?

When searching for a quality fulfillment partner, it’s important to find the right one that works best for your business. Here are some key features to consider when seeking a fulfillment partner:


Merchants typically use multiple technology platforms to manage the various aspects of their business. Whether it’s an ecommerce shopping cart, specialized software for accounting, databases for inventory management systems, or various other platforms, a functioning chain of communication will require knowledge and usage of your company’s tech platforms.

A quality fulfillment partner will be able to integrate your tech stack and handle issues by easily pulling relevant information from each platform as needed. They should be able to accurately check on order statuses and last mile carrier tracking. They should also accurately report on inventory management.

In order to meet shipping and customer expectations, Palouse Brand turned to Ware2Go, which uses an integrated technology application that brings all of a business’s tech platforms together. Analyzing their data, Ware2Go was able to communicate with Palouse how many orders would be shipped from specific warehouses in the US. As a result, Palouse was able to determine how much inventory to send to each location based on their own sales and fulfillment data.

Strategic Partnership

Seek out a fulfillment partner who sees ensuring your success as their own success. When a fulfillment partner is dedicated to ensuring order accuracy, optimizing final mile delivery, and recommending inventory management strategies, it saves your company time and labor. It allows you to focus on building your brand without allocating resources to overseeing every single aspect that a fulfillment partner can manage.

End-to-End Capabilities

A worthy fulfillment partner makes your life easier by addressing issues across your entire supply chain. You can mitigate worrying about complicated logistics involved in shipping via ocean freight or dealing with customs when shipping cross-border by having your fulfillment partner handle these issues for you.

When assessing whether a partner is right for you or not, look at their strategies for demand forecasting, as this will directly affect your business during peak seasons. A partner with quality inventory cycle counting procedures will help prevent accidentally selling something to a buyer that isn’t actually in stock.

Take Cephalofair Games, for example. After creating a uniquely sized game and facing 62,000 orders that needed to be fulfilled, Cephalofair Games turned to Ware2Go as a fulfillment partner in order to deliver to their fans. Ware2Go had the infrastructure and experience to manage the entire process. The process included using inventory management, order tracking, and a supply chain technology platform to orchestrate orders. From ocean freight to final mile deliveries, Ware2Go was able to manage the entire process with its end-to-end capabilities. 

Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

Find a fulfillment partner willing to provide service level agreements (SLAs) that work for you. Traditional 3PL warehouses may treat smaller businesses with lower priority than larger businesses, and the SLAs they provide might not guarantee the delivery or fulfillment times your customers expect. Your best strategy is to find a partner who can guarantee fast deliveries including same-day and on-time fulfillments, as well as fulfillment accuracy and dock-to-stock time. 

You Don’t Have to Handle It All on Your Own

Team up with a fulfillment partner to free up more time to focus on your core business. A fulfillment partner can help ease the burdens of delivering large volumes, managing inventory, and exploring new markets. When seeking a fulfillment partner, make sure they are a quality match who’s right for your business.

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