3PLs: How do you adapt to a world of e-Commerce?

As a 3PL, you can already provide flexibility for your customers, but as more venture into e-Commerce, how can you make sure that your warehouse still gains the competitive edge?

E-Commerce is a 24/7 market, and you need to make sure the systems you have in place can handle customer order demands.

Existing systems and processes

Many 3PLs operate with a WMS already in place – helping them take care of purchase orders, picking orders and general route picking. However, lots of ‘out of box’ WMS solutions don’t come with the ability to integrate with a customer’s online marketplace platforms. This is where something like an Order Management System (OMS) would be perfect. These can usually ‘sit’ on top of your existing WMS to allow seamless integration with these platforms.

For 3PLs that don’t currently have warehouse management software in place, an Order Management System with warehouse map capabilities helps you to get a foot in the door of e-Commerce without large upfront costs.

Not only does this make the whole process cheaper than having to invest in costly integrations for your existing software, it also gives you time back. Your customers can be safe in the knowledge that their stock levels are accurate, order labels are automated and that couriers are booked, with dispatch updates automatically going to the end consumer.

 

Win the online business

Of course, the main difference between traditional 3PL and those venturing into e-Commerce is the type of order. Usually, you would be fulfilling orders by the pallet, whereas e-Commerce orders usually require several pallets being broken down to fulfil an order.

Fulfilling e-Commerce orders can take up to 4 times longer than whole pallet orders. To make sure your business not only fulfils on time, but still turns a profit, an Order Management System does the paperwork and customer communication for you. Not having to manually choose and distribute tracking information, or updated comms means that your business wins back more time to fulfil the orders.

 

Address warehouse layout

As mentioned, the types of orders you’ll be fulfilling will vary greatly. Evaluating your current warehouse setup to accommodate for this will also greatly improve your fulfilment times. If you already have a WMS that has a ‘heatmap’ of the floor, this would be a great tool to utilise as part of this. As an added benefit, evaluating your warehouse usage and layout gives you an opportunity to identify your SLOB (Slow and obsolete) stock to help you get the most out of your valuable space.

 

Why wait?

Moving into e-Commerce shouldn’t be difficult. Access MintSoft is easy to use and will get you up and running in no time. Whether you have an existing WMS or not, Access MintSoft can help you efficiently manage your existing warehouse functionality and give you the tools to succeed in the e-Commerce market.

E-commerce and fulfilment: now and the future

This infographic brings together statistics from the past year giving you insight into how the market currently looks and what changes you can expect in the next year and beyond.
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