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How to Determine if You Need a Fulfillment Partner

August 14, 2017
Debbie Schwake, VP Marketing

As banking technology keeps innovating, do you need outside help to manage it?

The future is very bright in the world of financial hardware and technology. It seems with every few years there’s a new, easier-to-use and safer way to manage all the data required when dealing with the movement of funds. It’s exciting; and sometimes, exhausting.

Whether you’re a part of a large, multi-national institution or a local branch office, you want the best hardware, technology, and experience for your customers as possible. The promises of new technology are potentially game-changing.

By offering the right combinations of benefits, security, and convenience, any business could be poised for a giant leap forward. But how do you manage it all?

When it comes to hardware fulfillment for your bank or financial institution – such as Remote Deposit Capture—providing excellent service to either your branch locations or your business clients, you must be able to effectively manage these five key elements.

1. Purchasing

Fulfillment starts with purchasing. Having the right hardware and staying on top of new technologies as well as product upgrades is a full-time job. Not every organization can afford the staff needed to properly fill this need and realize full efficiency.

Questions to ask of your organization:

  • Do we have the fulfillment staff needed to effectively do this?
  • Can we budget to meet the staffing needs if we don’t?
  • Is our current purchasing staff knowledgeable about technology innovation and trends?
  • How can we provide our purchasing staff with the right tools and information to analyze our technology needs and recommend the best hardware and services?

2. Storage and Maintenance

Warehousing equipment can require a lot of space, and having staff on hand that understands it and keeps it running can be a luxury. This is the how those closets of lost technology start, where you can go today and find the top-of-the-line telephone systems from 1982. Don’t let this happen to you.

You also need a system in place for dealing with maintenance and repairs. Customers and internal groups alike will ultimately come to you wearing their frustrations on their sleeve when the piece of technology they’ve come to depend on has malfunctioned. For internal issues, it’s important to have all business parts up and running in good order. This is also true of equipment you supply your customers, but this is a situation where your good name is on the line. Having a fulfillment group managing these relationships is vital.

Questions to ask of your organization:

  • Is our current fulfillment space large enough to house the technology we deal with now as well as the technology we think we’ll need in the future?
  • Is our staff able to repair and maintain our current hardware?
  • Do we have an educational plan in place to make sure they can continue to maintain our hardware into the future through technology upgrades and staff?
  • What is our process for reporting a maintenance issue?
  • If we have SLAs with clients, what are we promising them and can we fulfill those promises?

3. Delivery

At the heart of fulfillment is delivery. Hardware comes in and it needs to go out. Getting the exact right piece of technology into the hands of correct branch or customer requires trained technicians.

Questions to ask of your organization:

  • Is our current delivery system sustainable?
  • Do we have both the people and the system in place to manage delivery effectively?
  • Considering the size of our organization, how many hours a week will need to be devoted to delivery?
  • Can we afford this time?
  • What is the current wait time on delivery and is this considered acceptable?
  • Is our current hardware ordering system working across our organization?

 4. Installation and Training

There’s no back-of-house detail more crucial than the customer-facing installation and training of equipment. The most direct line from “good idea” to “turnkey solution” is through knowledgeable installation and the training of staff. Without these, that perfect piece of hardware may wander into the closet of lost technology without ever being plugged in.

Questions to ask of your organization:

  • Can this work within our existing IT staff or will it require its own place within our company hierarchy?
  • Do we currently have someone who can spearhead the development of this group within our organization?
  • How can we best incorporate new technology use into our staff training program?
  • How do we develop a customer training program?

5. Billing

It’s likely you don’t just provide equipment for free. Whether internal groups or external customers, you probably have either a charge for the equipment they use or the need to track the transaction at some level to comply with contracts. Billing systems can be incredibly useful and easy to use, if you have one in place.

Questions to ask of your organization:

  • Do we have an internal system for cross billing business units?
  • What is our procedure for billing clients?
  • Are purchases, delivery, maintenance, installation and training all billable in the same manner?
  • Do we have a system for monitoring billing and payments for accuracy?
  • Are these systems scalable as our business grows?

Fulfillment Help

Look at your answers, particularly your “no” answers. Are these things you can easily fix? Are they processes that fit within your area of expertise – or are they additional tasks one of your team members has to add to their already heavy workload?

If your organization already does this and does it well, then look at ways you can adjust to make what you currently do better. If, however, your no’s outweigh your yeses, it may be time to consider a third-party fulfillment vendor.