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network is still the best option, you haven’t lost a thing, except a bit of time. If not, you have an excellent chance to make a clean exit and start fresh at another fulfillment center (or combination of them) that will be a better match for your strategic needs going forward. If You’re Looking for More Scale There are some fulfillment programs that are the equivalent of your most stretchy, comfortable sweats. By contrast, there are others that have a lot more in common with the world’s smallest pair of skinny jeans. Both types can meet your needs during the early stages of your business when every aspect of your operation is relatively young and lean. But as you add more customers, stock keeping units (SKUs), markets, or sales channels, the latter could eventually become considerably more . . . confining. That’s why it pays to keep a close watch for signs like the following:  Your facilities are having difficulty keeping inventory straight

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 Product lingers too long on your warehouses’ loading docks  Your personnel or partners get that deer-in-the-headlights look anytime you mention a special promotion that could create a significant sales spike  Or you send some test shipments to yourself and they arrive looking like anything BUT the thoughtful presentation you expected to get Each of these situations could mean that you’re on the cusp of outgrowing your current operations and processes — and that it may be time to consider either changing your warehousing style or going up a size. After all, you want to make sure that your fulfillment operation is flexible enough to support rather than impede future sales growth. Happy Tidying These are by no means the only situations that can serve as fulfillment program catalysts. Instead, they are just a glimpse into some of the most obvious options your company has for

making its receiving, warehousing, picking, packing, and shipping more competitive — and a firm reminder that there’s no time like the present to get started. It is, after all, time for spring cleaning. And while we’re on that subject, here’s a word to the wise: If the members of your household haven’t heard of Marie and her show, you may want to keep this issue of PARCEL at your office instead of at home, because rumor has it this whole tidying up phenomenon is pretty addictive. We can’t promise it will keep your lucky poker shirt or ugly chair safe forever. But least they’ll be safe for now.

Scott Guilmette is Vice President of Business Development at Amware Fulfillment, a national 3PL that helps brands scale warehouse fulfillment operations to keep pace with business growth. With fulfillment centers in every region of the country, Amware enables one- to two-day delivery to 98% of the United States. Visit www.amwarelogistics.com for more information.

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PARCEL May/June 2019