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5 Mistakes Every Start-Up Makes When It Comes to Fulfillment

Updated: Nov 28, 2020

Your business is up and running, You’ve received funding. You’ve got a great product. Orders are flowing in … but wait a second — now you have to ship it. Lots of it. Over and over again, every single day.

At Ocelot Logistics we work with a lot of start-ups. And we’ve seen a lot of mistakes that companies make before they come to us. Here are our Top 5; the mistakes you’ll want to avoid in order to eliminate the headaches that most start-ups experience when it comes to fulfillment.

Your number one pain point – shipping costs. Parcel and shipping costs are by far the biggest of your total fulfillment expenses — Expect 60 — 75% of your costs to go to shipping. The dirty little secret? Shipping companies won’t give you the best deal unless your volume is huge. And there are tons of hidden costs — home delivery, fuel surcharges, you name it. And keep in mind that outbound freight will be most of your freight costs.

  • The takeaway: Focus, focus, focus on outbound shipping costs. If you’re looking for more details on shipping errors to avoid and how to save more money on freight, don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation.

Full tech integration. You sign up with a 3PL and — whoops! — certain systems don’t sync. What does that mean? It means that data isn’t flowing automatically between your website, shopping cart and service applications. This means more time manually updating your systems, more time making mistakes updating those systems, and less time communicating with your customers and growing your business.

  • The takeaway: Make sure you get all the facts about integration before you commit to your fulfillment partner. If you’re looking for more information on complete integration, get in touch and we can give you all the details.

Inventory! The problem with all those sales? They deplete your inventory. And without sound inventory management, your latest and greatest message to your customers will be “sorry, the product you love is out of stock.” Make sure that your 3PL is dedicated to helping you to manage inventory, plan ahead and even move older inventory fast, before it becomes expired.

  • The takeaway: Make sure you’re selecting a 3PL that offers regular inventory reporting and visibility.

Get some packaging advice. Your customer’s package arrives and... uh oh. It’s damaged, leaking, filled with tons of packing material that’s wasteful for the environment. Make sure you’re selecting a 3PL that can help you choose box sizes and types that minimize costs, eliminate waste and keep your product safe in the process.

  • The takeaway: Your 3PL shouldn’t just pick, pack and ship your boxes — they should also help you select them. (Pssst! Here we are again, offering you a free consultation.)

Know thy industry, know thy size. 3PLs have specializations - make sure you’re selecting one that knows your world, and knows all the rules, regulations and special equipment needs that comes with your business. What’s more, if you’re a start-up company, you want a real partner who will work with you and consult with you to help your young business scale and grow,

  • The takeaway: Make sure your 3PL isn’t just an expert at logistics — make sure they’re an expert in your industry, too.

At Ocelot Logistics, we were built from the ground up to service start-ups in the shelf-stable food and supplements industries, and help them avoid the mistakes that our founder experienced when he started his own tea business over 15 years ago. Get in touch today, so we can help you herd your cats.

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