10 Reasons To Outsource Delivery For Self-Distribution
When it comes to running your small business, it can be a tough call as to whether and how much you can outsource.
Especially in the early stages of running your business, you may feel that it’s easier and more cost-effective to take care of most of your needs in-house.
However, as you grow, this approach may no longer be practical for everything.
One task that you might consider outsourcing is delivery.
If you’ve reached the point where your delivery needs are beginning to drain your resources of time, money and personnel, then the time has come for a new approach.
Here are ten reasons to outsource delivery for self-distribution.
Today’s consumers have come to expect deliveries that arrive promptly. Your ability to meet this expectation will make a huge difference in the number of happy customers you can attract and retain.
To stay competitive, you’ll want the ability to fulfill customer orders within a day, possibly within an hour or two.
However, as your business grows, meeting the expectation of speedy delivery will become increasingly challenging.
Moving a high volume of product in many different directions simultaneously is a major logistical undertaking which will quickly absorb all your company’s resources if you let it. As these demands ramp up, you may find that too many deliveries slip through the cracks, arriving late or maybe not at all, resulting in frustrated customers.
A professional delivery service has the vehicles, the drivers, and the logistic capabilities to make all your deliveries on time, so you don’t have to worry.
They might even have multiple locations nationwide, allowing you to provide speedy delivery over a wide radius which you wouldn’t be able to handle in-house.
Whether you’re delivering sweaters or staple guns, the most important service you can provide your customers is reliability.
At the end of the day, the quality and affordability of your product mean nothing if you can’t deliver when you say you’re going to.
Unfortunately, reliability often takes a hit when you try to make deliveries using an in-house team.
If your business is really taking off (which is the goal, right?), you’ll find yourself taking orders from large numbers of customers, potentially spread throughout your region or even the entire U.S. All of these customers will want fast service, ideally within a day.
As much as you might want to fulfill all these demands, it’s inevitable that you’ll miss something. After all, that’s a lot of balls to keep in the air.
By outsourcing delivery service to a reputable company, you can ensure the level of reliability that your customers expect.
Flexible volume for growth and seasonality
Recruiting and hiring your own drivers may seem like a good idea, but it can backfire in a big way.
The challenge is that all these drivers must remain on the payroll whether you’re using them or not.
This may pay for itself during your peak times and seasons, but will just become a waste of your valuable resources the rest of the time.
On the flip side, it can hinder your growth if you don’t have enough drivers on staff. After all, who wants to turn away potential customers? It’s not a good move; but if you don’t have enough drivers to meet demand, this is exactly what can happen.
By outsourcing deliveries, you ensure that you’re paying only for those services that you need.
You don’t have to worry about paying people for waiting around, and on the other side of the coin, you don’t have to worry about an inadequate number of drivers during peak times, like holidays.
If you’re hesitant about outsourcing delivery, one of your main objections is probably cost.
It can be tough to justify the initial cost of hiring a delivery service, especially if you’ve been managing the demand on your own.
However, this is one of those circumstances in which you have to spend money short-term in order to save money long-term.
Eventually, as your business grows, you will need more personnel to meet your delivery needs. If you don’t outsource, the only other option is to add drivers to your payroll.
And this involves so much more than simply paying them wages for the time they work. It also means all the hidden costs associated with recruiting and training, with maintaining proper certifications, and with managing each person on your staff.
In short, the more people you keep on your payroll, the greater the cost.
When you outsource, the delivery company assumes responsibility for driver compensation along with all the hidden costs associated with it.
As a business owner, it’s fair to say that you have a lot of demands on your time. Meetings with potential clients, responding to email messages, formulating and implementing marketing campaigns, and so much more.
All of these tasks and projects are integral to your success as a company. But managing the logistics of deliveries can divert your attention away from these essential concerns.
So what happens when delivery management eats up every free moment of your time?
Think about it. Keeping track of every driver and every package. Communicating with customers about when their order is going to arrive. Troubleshooting errors, accidents and traffic tie-ups.
Take all these issues together, and you almost have an entire full-time job devoted to delivery management.
That means if you don’t do it, one of your employees has to. And was that what you hired your employees to do?
We didn’t think so.
You want your employees to be working within their core competencies. After all, you really need all hands on deck if your business is going to be successful.
By trusting a competent delivery service, you can take away the burden of overseeing logistics so that you and your employees can focus on other things.
These days, customers expect to be filled in with up-to-the-minute details on where their package is and how soon it is going to arrive.
The good news is that there is now software available which can fulfill this need. The bad news is that this technology is quite expensive to purchase and maintain.
Purchasing this technology for your business is almost certainly an expense which will take you far outside your budget. However, it’s tough to please your customers without it.
Fortunately, any professional delivery service already has this technology in place, so you don’t have to pay for it.
Your customers will be able to see exactly where their order is from the convenience of their laptop or mobile device.
They (and you) will know about any potential delays right away.
It also allows you to quickly troubleshoot any errors to ensure that nothing is lost or misplaced along the way.
With barcode tracking, you will be instantly aware of each order’s status so you can address any customer concerns with transparency.
Speaking of transparency, there’s no better way to build your customers’ trust than keeping them informed as to the status of deliveries.
And here, technology is your best ally, too.
Fortunately, most professional delivery services have the technology to provide automatic receiver notifications.
This means your customers will get immediate alerts or messages informing them of any changes in the delivery status of their item.
They can make real-time corrections to their address, or even adjust the time and place of delivery to be more convenient.
This is a huge convenience not just to your customers, but also to you, because it means fewer errors and fewer delays. It can mean fewer returns as well, greatly reducing cost and hassle to both you and your customers.
And you get the added perk of customers who genuinely trust you and know that you will follow through.
Route optimization tech
Another kind of technology which is truly indispensable to any company handling deliveries is route optimization.
This technology facilitates a smooth path from the storage facility directly to the customer’s door.
Drivers simply enter in the addresses which they need to visit and the technology effortlessly plans their route for them.
In some cases, a manager at the delivery company enters these addresses and creates a schedule for each driver.
In doing so, you get the assurance that each driver is making the maximum number of deliveries possible within the minimum amount of time.
Needless to say, this is a huge saving in both time and money, and greatly enhances customer satisfaction, too.
Flexibility with package types
When you’re first starting out, it’s likely that each delivery is pretty much alike.
But as you grow your business, you’ll want to offer a variety of items, some of which may need special treatment.
It could be that some packages contain food or medicine which require refrigeration. Or you may send out furniture and appliances which are heavy and bulky.
A professional delivery service has experience in transporting packages of all kinds, so they are not limited by what you have always done before.
Additionally, you can offer special delivery options like one-day or same-day delivery without any exorbitant added cost.
A professional delivery service is accustomed to special requests and can accommodate them with no problem at all. So you are free to branch out into new products and services which you don’t presently offer.
By now, you’re getting the idea that there’s a lot more to delivery management than you had anticipated.
It’s not just the actual driving and deliveries, either. It’s the sheer monumental brain drain of managing large amounts of drivers, vehicles and packages.
It can all become very daunting very quickly, especially if you’re a small business without the staff to spare for such a large endeavor.
Thankfully, some delivery services now provide access to a dedicated operations manager.
This is a person whose role is to manage deliveries for your company. They can focus their entire effort on this task so you don’t have to worry about it…and neither do your employees.
Some companies keep a delivery operations manager on staff just for this purpose. But of course, this represents significant payroll costs.
Working with a delivery company that provides this service brings you all the benefits without the ongoing financial burden of paying for an additional employee.
Long story short, access to your own dedicated ops manager will amount to huge savings of time and money for you and your company.
A Few Disadvantages
Is there a downside to outsourcing delivery? Sure, there are a few.
For one thing, if you’re still in the early stages of starting your business, you may not yet have enough order volume to justify the additional cost. At this stage, it may be more cost-effective to manage deliveries in-house.
However, over time as your business grows, this is something you should reevaluate.
Once you decide to outsource, you’ll need to choose a delivery company carefully. Not all of them are alike. If you choose a company which is limited in the services it can offer or the geographical region it can cover, outsourcing may do more harm than good.
If you’ve taken all this information into consideration, you may be thinking it’s time to outsource delivery for your small business.
So what’s next?
It’s important to do your research. Investigate various third-party companies which offer delivery services for businesses. Ask the right questions about locations, speed, and professionalism. This is a big step for your company, so proceed with care and thoughtfulness.
The right delivery service will free up time for you and your staff to focus on making your business better and better.
Once you’ve made your decision, you’ll find that you’re well on your way to take your business to the next level with the help of an exceptional delivery service.