The decision to conduct order fulfilment in-house, or to outsource to a third-party provider is a common decision faced by organisations all over the world. This paper focuses on the decision for small and medium sized organisations (SMEs), identifying the key decision processes involved with the aim of designing and creating a prototype decision framework, that can be applied to an SME decision, to simplify and improve the decision process, making provider selection an easier process.
Initial research was conducted, identifying key decision theories that define important elements of order fulfilment decision making, as well as key characteristics of existing business frameworks and tools that make for an effective user experience for SME users. A single case study was then applied, utilising a two-stage data collection approach to gain insight and business knowledge as well as test the prototype tool to gather feedback for improvements.
The combination of academic literature and industry experience has resulted in a completed original prototype tool called the Order Fulfilment Decision Making Canvas (OFDMC). A sixstage activity sheet that guides the user/s through the decision process of requirement identification, provider selection and analysis of provider options to measure and compare the suitability of a provider to the organisation.
The paper concludes with the key findings; the proposed order fulfilment decision framework has the potential to become a valuable business decision tool. Having only been applied to one case study business scenario the prototype requires further practical business applications in order to prove the design is fit for purpose. Once this is confirmed the framework should be implemented into software, allowing for increasing accessibility and effectiveness – making the tool more viable to SME organisations.
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