Is Your Fulfillment Company Part of the Problem or the Solution?
Natural Disasters and Other Business Interruptions
When you think about all the things that can disrupt your
business operations, you probably think of hurricanes, floods,
earthquakes, fires, power outages and computer malfunctions.
Companies should be concerned about such events, given the
enormous losses left in the wake of disasters like Hurricane
Katrina in 2005, and – more recently – 1,000-year floods in
Tennessee, Kentucky and Mississippi; several blizzards along
the Atlantic coast; and the annual outbreak of wildfires in
California and Arizona.
Your bottom line can also be affected if your vendors experience a business
interruption or financial instability. After all, your company doesn’t operate in
a vacuum. You depend on other companies for raw materials and/or services
to produce, promote and deliver what you sell. And the reality is, unless you
have a truly one-of-a-kind product or service, a competitive version is just a
phone call or mouse click away. If you can’t meet your customers’ needs due to
your own or a vendor’s downtime, you may lose short-term sales and revenues,
as well as market share, and risk being out of compliance with your legal and
regulatory obligations, if the interruption is long enough.
For this reason, your company’s business continuation planning should include
a hard look at interdependencies with your suppliers. For marketers, one of
your most critical relationships is with your fulfillment partner.
Your fulfillment partner plays a key role in presenting your company’s “face”
to customers and prospects. At the very least, you count on them to get your
materials to the right people in a timely fashion and in good shape. If you
work with a fulfillment company that offers more extensive marketing services,
you may also rely on them for some creative design and production of your
materials, as well as business intelligence obtained through the data they
capture and retain for you. Ask yourself:
– If there’s a fire, flood or hurricane, can your fulfillment company protect
your collateral and other assets in their facilities?