Date: May 4, 2018
If you’ve heard it once, you’ve probably heard it a number of times by now.
The demand to provide a superior customer experience at every consumer touchpoint will impact every player in the supply chain industry. And as you might already know, brick and mortar retailers are expected to be more affected by this growing expectation.
Empowered by the rise of ecommerce and web-enabled smartphones, customers now expect instantaneous access to a near-limitless selection of products. They also want to be able to take advantage of customized pick-up and delivery options tailored to their own personal schedules. As a result, everyone from Walmart down to your local grocer must now offer a full range of omnichannel fulfillment, pick-up, and delivery services.
While providing a level of painless and satisfying service will be a huge challenge for many of these retailers, it will present a massive opportunity for the 3PL warehousing industry. These omnichannel purchases will have to be fulfilled by someone. Why not make your warehouse the premier choice?
In today’s ever-growing marketplace of selling channels, 3PLs have a massive opportunity to prepare their warehouse with the tools, expertise, and partnership to ensure they have the critical necessities required by retailers. Some 3PLs have already discovered ways to be a partner of choice and help with the surging needs of omnichannel fulfillment. While many aren’t really sure where to start to take advantage of this extraordinary growth opportunity.
To help navigate this demand, we thought it pertinent to outline five steps 3PLs can take in order to capitalize on omnichannel fulfillment and continually delight retail clients and their customers – while still delivering the increased profits you desire.
Of course, all of the visibility in the world won’t help a 3PL if the data flowing throughout the supply chain is dated or inaccurate.
To ensure your information is always correct, warehouses should build, optimize, and frequently test connections with every connection involved with your fulfillment chain. This includes secure, reliable integrations with ecommerce shopping carts, your delivery partners’ Transportation Management Systems (TMS) – and most important of all, your EDI connections with retailers and manufacturers.
Now more than ever, warehouse data must be flawless, uninterrupted, and totally traceable. An unimpeachable record of data integrity will help your 3PL stand out from its competition. Those 3PLs who become known for total reliability will quickly become the go-to providers for smart retail clients everywhere.
While the omnichannel revolution could be quite lucrative, it will require 3PLs to adhere to new levels of speed, efficiency, and accuracy. For there is no margin for error in this brave new world.
3PLs should scrutinize their internal operations to ensure all orders are being fulfilled as quickly, accurately, and cost-effectively as possible. Higher volumes will not translate into higher profits if your processes are inefficient or if you’re not meeting your service level agreements. A 3PL may even wish to implement specialized procedures to support omnichannel clients. These could include dedicated teams, customized picking procedures, high-speed fulfillment lanes, and automated packing and shipping solutions.
Some warehouses may also need to reconfigure their WMS technology to better handle new order and receiving tasks, returns, and automation for recurring storage and shipping calculations. Still others may also opt to invest in new technologies, such as robotic fulfillment vehicles or enhanced material handling equipment (MHE).
While such investments might be beyond the budgets of smaller warehouses, everything you can do to optimize warehouse processes will ultimately improve both performance and final profits.
To learn more about the many new opportunities approaching 3PLs today, we invite you to read our 2018 State of the Third-Party Logistics Industry Report.
Want more? Opt for the downloadable version for bonus strategies and tactics you can implement right away to use these trends to your advantage.
3PL Central provides cloud-based WMS solutions for 3PLs so they can transform paper-based, error-prone businesses into service leaders focused on customer satisfaction, efficient operations, and growth.