When looking back at last year’s holiday season, we were talking about the rise of ecommerce fulfillment and how the “holidays” now include Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, back-to-school, and Halloween, in addition to Black Friday and Christmas. Now, warehouses are looking at how to accommodate the 2.05 billion online shoppers all year round and not just during the holiday rush.
Just like almost everything else in 2020, nothing is quite the same as before. This is especially true for third-party logistics (3PL) warehouses looking to prepare for peak season. Some might even say that peak season already started back in April. Regardless of whether your warehouse is already crushing ecommerce orders, or you are looking to prepare for the holiday rush now, it is never too late to prepare your warehouse operations to handle max capacity for improved efficiency.
So, is your 3PL prepared with best practices to meet your customer and consumer demands?
Peak Season Priorities
Today’s warehouses must provide a seamless experience for every person they serve. To do so, they should use best practices to meet these requirements consistently. I like to suggest warehouses begin by creating a checklist of everything they must evaluate to ensure operations are running smoothly. As a 3PL ramps to increase efficiency for peak season they must flawlessly deliver on orders, inventory balances, or other critical shipment information crucial to their customers.
Integrations and Connections
From your customers’ Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, to their ecommerce shopping carts, order management, EDI integrations, shipping partners, or any other platforms they use, the proper testing always pays off in the end. Begin by reviewing, testing, and confirming all connections to your warehouse management system (WMS) are in perfect working order. Today’s 3PL warehouses must have total connectivity.
From pallet racks for slower moving inventory to pick lines for convenient pick paths, having the right workflow stations and warehouse layout can save a 3PL a lot of time. With more ecommerce fulfillment, many warehouses also utilize inventory best practices like all-in-one pack out stations with handsfree workflows. Having the right picking and packing processes helps to achieve 99% accuracy to reduce charge backs and returns.
Customer service is at the heart of a 3PL logistics business. As the epicenter of the supply chain for your customers, check in with all your partners from transportation to last mile delivery to ensure quality service and expectations are met. Your customers count on you. And you count on your partners.
Many 3PLs are working with staff to protect their safety during the peak season rush. Have a contingency plan in place in addition to best practices for pre-screening, regular monitoring, and disinfecting and cleaning procedures. In many cases, warehouses also use multiple shift schedules where workers never cross paths to safeguard employees. Safety first is the motto for this year’s peak season.
Peak Season Expectations
Many Extensiv customers are already seeing increased order volumes—especially for ecommerce fulfillment. In fact, some are seeing an increase of order growth more than 5x. Now is not the time to strain staff with limited resources. With the right technology, processes, and trained teams, warehouses can successfully meet customer expectations. Maintaining efficiency operations is crucial for 3PLs looking to have a successful peak season and beyond.
To learn more about Extensiv’s best practices to deliver repeatable and scalable solutions to enhance performance and accuracy, request a demo today.