[Guest Post by Sameer Bansal]
Sitting inventory in warehouses is not just a massive drain of resources, but also the biggest fear for any retailer. At the same time, overseeing supply chain management is highly demanding, leaving you with little time to focus on strategic priorities.
People view outsourcing inventory management as a discernible solution to escape the miseries of handling these complexities.
But, how prudent is it to outsource? Before you question your decision about outsourcing, let’s go through
Some of the risks of outsourcing inventory management
1. Complete Reliance on the Vendor
Warehousing and distribution may not necessarily be core competencies of your business, but these activities are vital for any retailer. While outsourcing your inventory management, you tend to repose your faith on vendors.
Unfortunately, complete reliance on your vendor may do more harm than good in the following situations:
- Unforeseen Circumstances – The uncertain nature of work in this sector, leaves endless possibilities of risks, which requires you to be in control at all times. Any minor lack of communication can lead to delays or mishaps, and there’s little you can do to fix issues when you’ve outsourced inventory management. The potential for setbacks is greater if you do not partner with reliable vendors.
- Adverse Impact on Quality – Any risk adversely impacts your quality, which may not bode well for your business. Being on the back foot can be frustrating when your quality is in question.
- Customer Satisfaction at Risk – In scenarios where your vendor fails to meet customer demands on strict timelines, you risk the wrath of customers, resulting in major revenue losses.
- Access to Sales Data – When you hire a company to manage your inventory, they have complete access to your sales data, which is confidential commercial information! The cut-throat competitive world we live in calls for discretion and privacy when it comes to relying on vendors with such sensitive information.
The advent of eCommerce has increased stakes like never before and simplifying e-retail businesses needs magic indeed! During these testing times, could you trust vendors with the most essential aspects of your business? That’s definitely a tough question to answer.
2. Massive Financial Investments
Outsourcing inventory management would require paying money for the service (obviously)! But how much do you need to pay can be deceiving at first?
This leaves you competing for tighter margins, where you spend more than you can save. Leaving inventory management at the hands of a third-party enhances the possibility of hidden fees, in the form of increased shipping costs, associated taxes, and et al.
Additionally, when you integrate your business with a third party, you end up investing more on the transition processes, which requires strong financial backing. Even after investing a fortune to smoothen operations, there is no guarantee that there will be no mishaps or delays.
The lack of solid guarantee is quite a risk, which is why outsourcing inventory management is not always a prudent choice! Outsourcing makes you lose control over production costs. Often unanticipated costs creep up, rendering you helpless because of your dependencies on the vendor.
3. Loss of Expertise
When you look at the long-term scope of your business, losing the essential know-how and skills is not the best idea. You tend to lose control over a fundamental component of your business, giving you very little room to take corrective measures and fix issues as they arise.
The scope for technical innovation, quicker actions and flexibility in your businesses is heavily curtailed when you outsource inventory management. On the other hand, the performance of the entire value chain increases if your inventory is managed by dedicated employees who focus on their core competencies.
Outsourcing decisions directly impact corporate strategy and core competencies. Before outsourcing your inventory management, it is important to ask yourself – Can innovation be outsourced? If you could answer that with a yes, outsourcing inventory management may perhaps work in your favor!
Today, tools and automation make it possible to manage inventory yourself with far lesser investment in time than you would even a decade ago. If you’re looking to learn more about inventory management, this guide can help.
About the Author
Sameer Bansal is a digital marketing enthusiast with a strong affinity towards growth hacking strategies, which have helped several startups supercharge their revenues and become large enterprises. Singing is his parallel passion, which he nurtures every day by practicing each morning. It would be fair to say that Sameer is a singer by day, and a writer by night, who loves to voice his opinions about how technology is impacting the business world.