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In-House or Outsourcing: 2023 Distribution Strategies

Looking to hit high growth in your business in 2023?  

If you are, you’re likely hoping to reach new customers and continue to improve the customer experience for your customers. The largest part of the post-purchase customer experience rests on the delivery experience, bringing in factors like delivery speed and packaging choices. Expanding your distribution network is a great way to keep your costs per package low while improving the delivery experience, but it doesn’t come without its challenges. Let’s talk about some strategies to improve your customer experience via distribution and examine how to evaluate if expanding your distribution footprint is the best option for you or if you would be better off partnering with a 3party to run your distribution.  

Operating Distribution Centers

Having your own warehouse or warehouse network offers some unique benefits for business owners. The oft-cited biggest impact is the ability to get your product to customers more quickly and with less expense, but there are a variety of factors to consider before determining if this is true. One of the other benefits of operating your own distribution center(s) is the added flexibility in the fulfillment process including how exactly orders will be packed, items to be kitted, and any customization included in packages.  

Of course, finding the balance between functionality, staffing, costs, and location will be some of the biggest hurdles business owners will face in deciding if they want to keep their distribution in-house or outsource (or a blend). The factors associated with making this decision all point to one over-arching question: will running your own warehouse(s) make you a distribution business that just so happens to sell products, or will it allow you to improve your processes as a product-focused brand, that just so happens to also manage their own distribution?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. However, a great strategy for business owners looking to operate their own warehouses is to optimize efficiency.  A simple and effective way to do this is to invest in warehousing software. The most popular types of software are Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software. These systems are often affordable solutions which offer order integrations from existing shopping platforms (like Shopify, eBay, and Etsy), address validation, pick and pack, and batch printing. ShipCaddie TWMS is one such software that combines the capabilities of transportation and warehouse management software in one platform. You can check out ShipCaddie here.

Partnering for Distribution

Partnering with an existing warehouse network is another great option for both brick-and-mortar stores and e-commerce-native businesses. Partnerships offer the benefit of expanded network reach without the upfront costs of leasing or purchasing property to build distribution centers. Added benefits of outsourcing distribution may include perks such as access to warehouse management software, kitting and bundling services, and an ability to integrate with your existing e-commerce platforms, like Shopify, Amazon, Etsy, and more. It could also be cheaper.  

If partnering with a fulfillment company is what you end up going with, consider iDrive Fulfillment. We’re leading the way with six strategically placed warehouses that can reach 98% of the continental US within two days on a ground service, industry-leading technology with the ShipCaddie TWMS platform, and top-notch talent!

There’s a lot that goes into deciding what option is best for your business. If you’re at a loss of how to proceed and decide what is best, you may benefit from a free analysis of your supply chain, which you can get at the link here. One thing’s for sure: to run a successful business you need to take charge of your distribution strategy.  

With the economic and supply chain woes of Covid-19 appearing to be in the rearview, businesses are looking to 2023 to make a splash. Carefully considering your distribution strategy is one of the best things you can do. Our fulfillment network is one of the best in the nation, especially when paired with our proprietary ShipCaddie TWMS software. If you would like to learn more about how iDrive Logistics can help your business reach its goals in 2023, contact us today!

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