When it comes to sourcing, I recommend working with local and overseas manufacturers. The ones from overseas are of higher quality and cheaper, but local manufacturers have a faster production time, so it works better in emergencies. You should work with both manufacturers, depending on the timeframe and the needs you have. For example, I have worked with my local manufacturer to create the product for the first time and with the one overseas for follow up orders. But when the factory in China shut down, I was able to continue working with the one here in the U.S. to manufacture and ship my products. That is why it is important to have redundant manufacturing facilities to be prepared for any unforeseeable issues.
Once you have figured out your sourcing and know which manufacturers to work with, it is important to have backup fulfillment centers. I have been working with a 3PL warehouse and also with Fulfillment by Amazon. Because of the pandemic creating delays, Fulfillment by Amazon’s shipment estimated deliveries between 30 and 60 days. For that reason, I transitioned all our shipment to the 3PL warehouse and was able to ship products in a week or a week and a half time. From this experience, I can advise businesses to have more than one fulfillment center, in order to guarantee that your products will continue to sell, even if one of the centers is operating slower than usual.
In the past, I had prepared a strategy for my eCommerce with multiple sourcing manufacturers and fulfillment center options, so we were able to continue getting our orders shipped in time. This allowed us to keep most of our orders when other businesses got none or their conversion rates dropped dramatically, due to increased lead times or running out of stock. That is why my best advice to eCommerce businesses–and businesses in general that manufacture and ship products–is to have redundancies, allowing you to continue manufacturing and shipping products, even when a global pandemic affects your supply chain.
Mr. Bartnick is the founder of the Five Day Startup, which teaches people how to run their own eCommerce business.