When your organization’s continuing educations programs are relatively small, filling orders out of the office makes sense. Shipping a few orders of books a day doesn’t seem like a major imposition on staff time, whereas outsourcing print and fulfillment does feel like it would have a big impact on the organization’s budget.
Even as the training program grows, increases in books printed and staff time spent packing boxes don’t necessarily register as pain. Print and fulfillment is something you do in-house, as you always have, and in many cases, a second thought is never given to it.
We find that some associations first come to us for help with print and fulfillment of their continuing education training materials when their reach begins to extend beyond United States borders. Only when the complicated processes involved with international shipping enter the picture do these organizations understand that they need help. Even filling Canadian orders can be a headache.
When is the right time to bring in the experts? That depends on your organization’s goals and your particular situation. If you want your staff to be focused on mission-critical work for the majority of the time, for example, the tipping point might be when one person is spending more than four hours a day packing and shipping boxes.
We have found that many people don’t realize how much time and effort is being spent on order fulfillment of CE training materials. It’s common for us to hear that organizations wish they would have started working with us months—or even years—ago.
If your training program is going international, this might be the right time to consider using a trusted partner for print and fulfillment. But even if you don’t see that in the cards for your association, there’s no reason you can’t also consider outsourcing fulfillment. The process is different for everyone. By the time you start thinking about it, it may already be time to make a change. Reclaim your staff’s time and ease the stress of getting orders out the door.