My consultant has one last deliverable to send me by end of week (which is already 1 week late), and then I will let him go. When I hired him 3 months ago, I knew nothing about this industry. Now I know a heck of a lot more, and I don’t think I need his services for much longer. He has given me some good leads and provided a good sounding board for my ideas, which ranged from stupid, to pretty cool. I don’t regret my decision to hire him. I think I just outgrew him.
Every day I think about operational cost tradeoffs: would I rather hire a consultant on a project-by-project basis, or buy cooler zippers? Or rent warehouse space? Or attend more tradeshows? Well, I’m the bossman now, and I get to make that kind of call. Scary! So I vote no consulting. At least for now.
I know this is a bit premature, but I have also been researching order fulfillment and distribution centers. From what I can tell the pricing in this industry is not standardized in any way. For example, some companies offer flat monthly fees, others do pay-as-you-go. It’s hard to do exact apples-to-apples comparisons on services. Although there are high costs associated with order fulfillment, there are some advantages to going with an order fulfillment center from the start:
1) Shipping costs would be lower because these distribution centers have volume discounts with companies like UPS and FedEx
2) They buy shipping materials (boxes, tape, etc) in bulk
3) Many use order management (supply chain) software with user-friendly reporting
4) I would not have bags and boxes piled up in my closets, home office, and bathtub
4) I would not spend my afternoons packing the bags in boxes from my closets, home office, and bathtub
There seem to be hundreds (maybe even thousands) of distrbution centers in the US. I hope I can find a suitable one that is cost effective, reliable, and won’t go belly-up.
Well, that’s all for now. Adios.