Fast Expansion Into D2C: Top 3 Considerations for 3PLs to Attract New Business
While the e-commerce boom is an ongoing opportunity for B2B companies, they face acute growing pains as they seek to meet B2C/D2C fulfillment demands.
Most providers go from worrying about bulk servicing thousands of units on palletized loads, to managing the throughput of multiple orders requiring additional touches for picking and packing.
Not all B2Bs are reacting with internal changes to their processes; many are aligning with more progressive 3PL order fulfillment companies instead. However, such a partnership can strain 3PL operations and models—because the pathway needs to be scalable, easily configured, API friendly, and robust to meet the fluctuating demands of multichannel fulfillment operations.
It’s due to the new-style customer requirements being repeatedly introduced that are difficult to systemically accommodate and therefore hard to perform efficiently, while also maintaining proper inventory visibility and accuracy.
But most challenging is having to qualify internal limitations or present an unattractive price in order to cover the transactional cost to the 3PL.
It’s about being able to satisfy a variety of customers with differing requirements, without incurring custom coding costs and delays for every new client. Basically, you need highly configurable software to scale and grow at a desired and cost-effective rate.
There is no way around implementing appropriate technology to be a competitive D2C fulfillment operation—and at the very foundation a functionally rich WMS will seamlessly manage the ever-changing demands of the e-commerce landscape.
Here are my top three WMS considerations for 3PLs looking to quickly expand into fast-paced D2C, but requiring maximum operational flexibility to save time, money, and resources.
1. Is it flexible and scalable?
Organically built solutions can accommodate all workflows within one software and implementation. Plus, you’re in business to expand, so as operations ramp up, make sure the WMS is agile and adaptable enough to grow with you and can handle the unknown. It also needs to be flexible and seamless with any future integrations.
2. Is it easy to use and read?
A well-designed WMS should have a user-friendly interface and dashboard with clear directions, so that new workers can get up to speed quickly, while the real-time data it produces should be easy to read, interpret, and act upon. IT-heavy systems can also necessitate expensive and unnecessary headcount diversification from other parts of the business.
3. Does it offer speed-to-value?
Leaner cloud-based solutions, like SnapFulfil, can be remotely implemented in just 45-60 days for rapid ROI. Minimal upfront support costs are built into the licenses, plus expenses are further restricted down the line because of advanced functionality and configurability.
This translates into bespoke 3PL features like tailored billing software, specific workflows and processes to meet individual customer needs, multiple picking/packing approaches to ensure the application can support efficient approaches in structuring and prioritizing work, plus an information-rich portal for enhanced visibility.
Clients benefit from tiered rates of charging and economies of scale and value, while traditionally manual tasks become fully automated, providing greater accuracy and transparency.