How 3PLs Can Evolve Their Business When Peak Season Lasts Year-round
Each weekend I like to go to the farmers’ market. Regardless of time of year, the farmers show up every weekend with a continuously rotating assortment of foods. Even during the peak of harvesting one crop, they still must prepare whatever crop comes next. That way, they can harvest year-round. In a world where peak season may now extend virtually throughout the entire year, how can third-party logistics (3PL) warehouses make sure that they plant new seeds even while they're harvesting?
Numerous 3PL warehouses have experienced rapid expansion of their ecommerce operations this year. For many, it has felt like a never-ending peak season that just continues to grow. With unprecedented order volumes, 3PLs have faced challenges implementing process improvements, new technology, or even adding new customers while still maintaining their current operations.
Investing in New Technology
Based on our research, nearly 70% of small to mid-size 3PL warehouses currently operate with either paper, Excel, or using home grown systems for inventory and warehouse management. In a year when brands must rely more heavily on their fulfillment partners rather than retail operations to hit annual sales targets and to meet holiday demands, those 3PLs' manual processes might not suffice.
Warehouse management systems (WMS) enable 3PLs to manage their warehouses, workers, and workflows at an optimum level of efficiency, with unprecedented order accuracy, while providing transparency and visibility to customers and end consumers. Whether implementing basic functionality to manage inventory and track order processing or launching more advanced tools like mobile barcode scanning, 3PLs realize significant savings and benefits (including attracting new customers) from implementing WMS software.
Additionally, in recent WMS implementations, Extensiv has seen a proliferation of integrations with shopping carts and marketplaces. 3PL warehouses must have robust, real-time technology in order to provide these integrations that their customers need to succeed.
However, scaling without warehouse automation technology can prevent adding new customers at the exact time when more brands need 3PL warehouse partners. But is it worth the risk to implement new technology and integrations at the exact moment that order volumes have hit their highest? Or can 3PLs find creative solutions to plant while they harvest?
In short, when demand is at its highest, that often signals the right time for positive change and investment. We all know the vicious cycle 3PLs live in. Cash flow gets tight, so you limit investment. Cash flow gets better, and you can fund investment, but you don’t have time to actually invest and make change. Order volume slows down, then you no longer have the dollars to invest. What can you do?
Extensiv has created three solutions to help 3PLs ease the burden of technology change: system administration support, technical consulting, and developer enablement.
Easing the Pain of Change in Peak Season
With Extensiv’s System Administration support, 3PLs can get access to an expert to support, maintain, or configure their WMS and to set up new customers, manage users, create and manage billing and invoicing, and train new personnel. With Extensiv’s Technology Consulting offering, 3PLs can also get direct access to technical and professional services resources to deploy complex custom workflows, facilitate the design and deployment of custom integrations, and assist in the launch of new warehouse facilities.
With Extensiv’s Developer Enablement, warehouse developers and third-parties can get the guided support they need to quickly implement integrations and complex solutions in record time. Hear the story of how one 3PL, NEXgistics, leveraged Developer Enablement in order to build out their integrations and technology infrastructure in an upcoming webinar.
Let us help you plant the seeds for your future 3PL warehouse growth by scheduling a discussion with an expert today.