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Contract Assembly Services Leverage Web-Based Apps to Improve Fulfillment

Any CEO that struggles with the outsourcing dilemma will describe a double-edged sword:

  • Keep control of inventory and fulfillment but sacrifice the overhead that comes with staffing and storage
  • Allow a third-part contract assembly services vendor to assist at the risk of losing some of the companys identity

However, new trends and technologies in the product fulfillment industry are taking some of the edge off of these issues.

Assembly Service Industry Moves Online

The product fulfillment industry is a market on the move. With new companies establishing themselves every day, the demand for assembly is reaching a fevered pitch. In his TAWPI 2008 Forums andamp; Expo Review, CDS Global writer Dennis Luther describes a burgeoning assembly services industry that is increasing its pertinence--and presence--on the Web.

  • Increased Versatility. Such as remote payment capture, Explanation of Benefits (EOB) processing and document management
  • Hybrid Outsourcing Relationships. Clients perform immediate-needs tasks while a processor handles the remaining
  • Core Competencies. Businesses can leave process-oriented tasks to vendors and focus on emerging business opportunities

Assembly Services Leverage New Technologies

Perhaps the most comforting aspect of outsourcing fulfillment is that vendors are beginning to use the same Web-based technologies that companies are using. This breeds a certain level of familiarity that CEOs are more comfortable with. According to Curt Barry, president of F. Curtis Barry andamp; Company, several developing trends in contract assembly technologies should pave the way for new opportunities in communications and sales.

  • Electronic and Physical Fulfillment. Offering products in both modes to satisfy multiple customer needs
  • Innovation in Information. Access to information and speed of delivery
  • Value-added Services. Getting away from the "price" factor and concentrating on lead qualification

Contract Assembly without Boundaries... or Seams

Of course, outsourcing is most viable when the partnership is beneficial to all involved in the sales process--the business, the customer and the fulfillment provider. Bloggers Steve and Jennifer of MyWifeQuitHerJob.com--both entrepreneurs of Web-based businesses--believe that it is possible to outsource both inventory and product fulfillment operations if the partnership is based on the following parameters:

  • Increases Scalability. Removes the boundaries of doing business across the nation and the globe
  • Decreases Fulfillment Times. Time is of the essence and often dictates whether a customer will repeat business
  • Refocuses Management. The essential reason to outsource--releasing the company to do what they do best

CEOs should look for partnerships that fit naturally. That means finding market-specific fulfillment vendors and proceeding through a long courtship process to ensure an agreeable match. Following the tech trends should make that process easier for all stakeholders.

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