Small Order Optimization: Addressing The Greatest Challenge Of Employee Apparel Programs
Ask any uniform company what their biggest headache is when managing an employee apparel program, and you’re bound to get one answer: small orders. When you take it upon yourself to provide an entire company with a consistent set of uniforms, you’ll inevitably start getting lots of tiny orders on a regular basis. These orders, which often consist of one or two items that must be heavily customized, can drive up costs for providers while offering few new revenues. Thus if you want to run employee apparel programs, you must find a way to prepare for these “onsie twosie” orders.
The Considerable Challenges of Small Orders
Small orders create a host of problems for uniform providers, including:
- Inventory Issues– Because you don’t know what will be in these small orders ahead of time, you have to keep a lot of different types of items in stock. But this requires devoting money and warehousing space to items you rarely sell, thus driving up your costs with little increase in revenue.
- Customization Issues– Clients that place low-volume orders often want the items you ship to be customized. But this means you have to go to the trouble and pay the costs of customization, just to sell a handful of items.
- Administrative Issues– Administrative costs tend to be independent of order size. This means you’ll need to spend similar sums of money and devote similar amounts of effort for a small order as for a large one, even with totally different revenues.
These problems lead many uniform companies to avoid employee apparel programs entirely. But in doing so, they sacrifice an opportunity to use one of the best possible strategies for bringing in consistent profits. Thus as a uniform marketer, you need to find a way of using employee apparel programs without exposing yourself to the pitfalls of small orders.
A Solution in Outsourcing
To avoid the problems of small orders while still benefiting from employee apparel programs, uniform companies have the option of outsourcing key functions to third parties. Instead of maintaining their own uniform stocks, embroidery equipment, and shipping lines, you can contract with other companies that do this for you. This lets you focus on coordinating sales, including sales involving employee apparel programs.
This solution solves a number of problems at once. Because independent warehouses do business with large numbers of uniform clients, they can afford to keep every type of gear on hand, no matter how rarely that gear is ordered. Likewise, independent embroiderers can incorporate small orders into larger batches, allowing them to customize your uniforms at a low unit cost. As a result, you’ll have no trouble taking care of all your clients’ orders, no matter what volume they come in.