To say that the way we do business has changed in the past few years would be an understatement. The truth is, businesses across the board and across the globe have transitioned with technology to meet new consumer buying habits and demands. The emergence of smartphones, tablets and cloud-based, subscription-driven programming (Netflix, HBOGo, Hulu, etc.) is forcing a shift for networks and cable providers. Spotify and Pandora are also disrupting the music recording industry. The truth is consumers are less concerned with owning an item as long as they have access to it. They are willing to pay a smaller fee and forego the tangible good (CD, DVD, etc.). This now even extends to retail outlets that are now operating in ways that weren’t even conceived 15 years ago. This is opening new opportunities for businesses to gain advantages on the retail fulfillment side as well.
E-commerce and the corresponding need for omni-channel fulfillment have compelled the retail market, across all sectors, to reconsider how they operate. One major challenge is finding a way to make your warehousing space work to meet the needs of an evolving supply chain. Here are three items to keep in mind as you reconfigure your own infrastructure or leverage the resources of a 3PL.
1.) Transportation Accessibility: One of the most expensive elements of your supply chain is transportation. To address more demanding shipping preferences from shoppers, your warehouse’s location should place a high priority on access to major thoroughfares. Near and easy entry to interstates and highways can make a big difference in speed and cost.
2.) Ease of Scalability: The trajectory for the fulfillment and logistics needs of many retailers is raising due to the scope that e-commerce provides. With this being the case, new and existing warehouse space will ideally be scalable. Having the ability to expand means you can handle more and new inventory without a major infrastructure overhaul. It can also allow for the replacement and advancement of equipment and other resources to streamline your supply chain.
3.) Technology Implementation: It’s no secret that consumers are expecting to receive their orders quickly and inexpensively. This means that your fulfillment center needs to be faster and more efficient. Technology is helping supply chains meet these increasing demands. Automation, RFID, sortation and conveyer systems, WMS, TMS and voice activated picking are only a few examples of how technological resources are increasing accuracy and speed while lowering costs.
The disruption of e-commerce and with it, growing competition and new obstacles, is not slowing down. This makes the implementation of an omni-channel strategy that much more important. Leveraging the locations, resources, experience and expertise of a 3PL can answer the three needs above, as well as provide a wide range of other benefits. For over 75 years Barrett Distribution Centers has helped retailers across an array of sectors and concentrations meet their logistics and fulfillment needs. With locations from coast-to-coast and an emphasis on technology and visibility, Barrett designs customized supply chain solutions for e-commerce and traditional retail.