Most companies start out managing their own logistics, but when should you start thinking about outsourcing responsibilities such as warehouse management, fulfillment or distribution?
Every year, the holidays tend to make things busy in retail stores and warehouses across the country. There’s an upswing in activity just from people buying and shopping for gifts, both in stores and online. Usually, warehouses and distribution centers are able to plan accordingly for these upswings, because they’re consistent every year.
Here’s a riddle: do you invest in technology that will allow you to hire fewer employees, or do you spend that money on your employees and count on training and experience to make up the differential? A quick answer: both. Working in distribution, you have to determine if an investment in technology is going to benefit your employees or not. But that’s the key. To focus on your employees benefit rather than technology that’s trending.
Amazon already towers over all other providers when it comes to the B2C side of distribution, but now it’s making further strides to monopolize and become the world’s largest 3PL for B2B. Should you, as a business owner, be leery of that kind of relationship and involvement? How do you know if working with Amazon for order fulfillment is the right choice for you, or if their growth limits your specific needs?
A partnership with a 3PL should be about more than simply handling e-commerce and store deliveries. A good 3PL partner will offer you other services as well, simply to add value to the relationship. Essentially, if they’re capable of doing small projects that you frequently have to do in house—and they should be—then they can do it for you, allowing you to focus on other aspects of running the business. Let’s explore value added services.