Back in the day, acquiring a product/service meant waiting for the business to respond. Customers were accustomed to waiting. However, for the modern-day online shopper, patience isn’t a virtue – it’s a hindrance. The ability to click a few buttons and have a company bring the product/service to our doorsteps has spoiled the modern consumer.
But, companies aren’t forcing the modern-day customer to become more patient. Instead, the companies that engage in online services and product deliveries are improving their delivery and order fulfillment capabilities. The top 3PL warehouse companies are helping them achieve these targets.
Here’s how 3PLs collaborate with online retail stores to address changing needs –
eCommerce trends change on a day to day basis. Although it’s nearly impossible to completely alter the supply chain to match the market’s new demands, companies should at least know about the products that are being sold in their competitors’ stores.
To match up to these standards, companies must collaborate with 3PL companies and invest in cross-docking. Cross-docking enables sellers to quickly manufacture and distribute products without having to go through the hassle of storage. The 3PL companies directly send the products from the manufacturing centers to the consumers. There are minimal transportation and storage costs in such processes.
Industry And Global Trends
Customer preferences can change overnight or over a long period. For instance, fidget spinners became a trendy object almost overnight. Almost all the major retail brands started selling these objects after putting their brand information on top.
This shift in customer preferences happened almost overnight. On the other hand, yoga mats became popular in the Western world over a long period. Companies that tie-up with 3PLs can freely make the most of these industry and global trends because 3PLs offer them large warehousing spaces.
Unlike traditional warehousing companies, the best 3PLs don’t have storage limitations. Their warehouses are massive and can store any amount of stock at any given time. Modern-day online retailers must have a balanced approach towards both local and international trends. Understanding customers’ needs aren’t sufficient. Companies need to be prepared to address these needs at any given time. That’s where partnerships with flexible 3PL companies help.
Supply Chain Initiatives
Retail companies cannot react to rapidly evolving customer preferences if their supply chains aren’t flexible. For instance, in 1997, the tech giant Apple didn’t have perfect product pipelines or supply chains. Due to limited capital, the company only had little supplier inventory that wasn’t sufficient to meet the market demands.
Hence, Apple couldn’t respond to the amazing opportunities that the sudden increase in demand for Apple products presented. The company later teamed up with warehousing experts on long contracts. These partnerships reduced the time it took to deliver products from the factories to the customer. Without this flexible supply chain (created by third-party warehousing experts), Apple’s immaculately designed products wouldn’t be as successful.
Making supply chains flexible is all about efficient delegation of tasks and responsibilities. Modern-day 3PLs can look after the warehousing and distribution aspect of the supply chain. On the other hand, companies can now focus on improving their products.
An optimal supply chain is one where there are no ‘bottlenecks’ or clogs. For large-scale manufacturers, dead inventory is a huge problem. Companies can waste up to millions of dollars on inventory that’s never ordered. These ‘dead’ products occupy valuable storage space and drive up warehousing costs. More importantly, they kill the supply chain’s natural flow.
Top 3PL companies have ample storage space, and they can keep storing large amounts of ‘dead’ stock for as long as their clients demand. But, that’s not an effective solution, especially if the ‘dead’ inventory is tied to the client’s cash cycle.
That’s why the finest 3PL companies share all supply chain-related data with their clients. Using this data, companies can assess why some pieces of inventory are nonmoving. They can also team up with 3PL experts to eliminate these products from the core supply chain and store it in off-site locations.
Order Fulfillment Systems
46% of small businesses don’t have automated inventory tracking systems. In a commercial environment where products and services are ordered via mobile apps, websites, etc. the lack of efficient product tracking systems is a huge worry for these businesses.
Setting up product tracking and tracing systems is very expensive, and not all small businesses can afford to invest in such advanced technologies. That’s why teaming up with top 3PL companies makes sense. Order fulfillment is perhaps the most important aspect of online shopping.
If a small business fails to deliver a product on time or if the delivery process consists of various errors, it’s unlikely to attract repeat customers. Companies can witness a 25% increase in productivity if they use integrated order processing and inventory systems.
Top 3PL companies invest heavily in these technologies. They ensure that all online orders are error-free. Error rates usually increase whenever the number of orders and the number of stakeholders in the supply chain increase. However, top 3PL companies use advanced technology to eliminate errors like wrong addresses, incorrect shipments, failed customer returns, etc.