3 Challenges Facing Modern 3PLs

Challenges Facing Modern 3PLs

Everyone loves a sale. And since we are fast approaching the holiday season, sales are occurring on nearly every eCommerce website available. And while a sale can mean fantastic things for the retailer’s business, they can prove challenging for even the most prepared and organized 3PL companies. Here are 3 common challenges faced by 3PLs during a sale:

Sudden Increase in Order Fulfillment

Many times, sales events are planned well in advance, often coinciding with particular retail seasons. Other times, especially for smaller e-retailers, sales are developed and announced on the fly, with very little notice to anyone. If an e-retailer’s distribution center isn’t given proper warning about an impending sale, the influx of orders awaiting fulfillment can cause everyone to scramble to get everything done. If the sale is large enough, or if multiple companies utilizing the same 3PL have sales, the distributor may not have enough staff on-hand to process all the orders in a timely fashion. This can lead to an increase in overtime, a sudden hurry to hire temporary employees, and a lack of branded shipping supplies. Allowing a 3PL a little notice can make a world of difference in order processing time during a big sale.

Increased Staffing Needs

Because a sale usually means an increase in the amount of orders that need processing, many 3PLs with already tight staffing schedules may be required to hire temporary workers to help process orders and returns. This process takes time, even under the best conditions. This issue can be a difficult one to avoid, as no one truly can predict how successful a sale will prove, but it’s best to give your 3PL some extra lead time if you estimate a major increase in order processing requests that may require more staffing for distribution.

Additional Return Requests

Though 3PLs work very hard to avoid the need for returns through the use of sophisticated inventory-control software, extra care in packing and shipping, and staff training, a percentage of overall sales coming back as returns is unavoidable. When the amount of orders increases, so does the amount of potential return requests. Returns require extra man hours to process and, if a customer is exchanging an item, there’s the additional shipping supplies and cost that comes along with that. The cost of returns can add up quickly, but helping your 3PL be prepared to handle them can decrease frustration for you, your 3PL, and your customers.

Sales can be great for everyone – The customer gets a reduced price, the retailer gets increased sales, and the 3PL gets increased revenue from additional order processing. To help your 3PL ensure successful order processing during a sales event, communicating your distribution needs early and often can make the whole sales process more pleasant for everyone involved.

For sales event order processing, and all other routine distribution and logistics needs, contact Cannon Hill Logistics. Our experienced logistics experts can help you design a plan to fit your needs.

4 Tips for a Great RFP

Logistics Warehouse Frederick MD
You’re finally ready to partner up with a stellar 3PL company, and you’ve sat down to write your request for proposal (RFP). Take your RFP from OK to fantastic with these 4 tips and you’ll find your company’s perfect partner in no time:

Be up-front with your requirements

Nothing is more frustrating to a potential business partner than going through a lengthy RFP process only to learn, late in the game, they’re missing some crucial element. It’s akin to being in the midst of making a beautiful cake, with the batter all mixed, only to realize you’re out of baking powder and the store is closed. Frustrating, annoying, and a waste of perfectly good ingredients.

To avoid this scenario, draw up your RFP with as much information about your business’s needs as possible. Include information such as turn-around time requirements, preferred location area, and staffing needs. Without giving away the complete weighting of your eventual evaluations, provide your potential partners with a rough estimate of what items on your list are more important than others. This will help companies provide you with the most complete picture of how their solution can solve your problems.

Ask questions that allow companies to differentiate themselves

Companies, like people, enjoy the opportunity to talk about themselves. Give a company the opportunity to talk about its history, its values, and what makes it unique, and you’re likely to get a much more detailed, informative proposal.

Make sure the questions you ask are open-ended enough to encourage answers that showcase what the company has to offer your business. Having details regarding the ways they handle your business’s unique situations, way of doing business, and philosophy will allow you to differentiate more easily between proposals to select the one that’s best for your business’s needs.

Give company background for better proposals

On the other side of the getting-to-know-you coin is giving out information about your business and what makes it unique. Giving prospective partners an idea of who you are, what your business does, and what your goals are can help the proposals more closely align with your needs.

In describing your business’s goals and values, and putting the very specific problem you’re looking to solve, you will be more likely to find a partner whose specialties and work will match your desires. Giving potential partners an idea of who you are also allows them to make specialized recommendations, and you may receive solutions you didn’t even know were possible but that will be perfect for your situation.

Align your questions to your strategic objectives

Having your potential partners answer irrelevant questions just wastes everyone’s time and can take an otherwise great proposal down a few notches. Always keeping your RFP’s goals in mind when deciding what questions you asked is important.

Begin by sitting down with all the key players in your RFP process and drawing up a list of the key purposes of your partnership. From there, draw up a list of questions that will go into your RFP, making sure each question lines up with at least one project goal.

Whether you’re new to RFP writing, or are crafting one because you’re on the hunt for a new 3PL partnership, these 4 tips can help make the whole process go much more smoothly.

If you’re looking for a 3PL company that knows how to deliver the results you want, on time and under budget, contact Cannon Hill Logistics today.

Client Spotlight: The Adventure Park

We are excited to welcome one of the newest members of the Cannon Hill Logistics team: The Adventure Park!

Outdoor Ventures Group, LLC, started in 2008, inspired by outdoor adventure parks in Switzerland. They design, build, and operate seven adventure parks that aim to connect people with the outdoors. The parks consist of a series of platforms constructed at various levels throughout the trees. The platforms are connected by bridges of various types, and participants maneuver from platform to platform together. Each course is color-coded based on difficulty. All participants wear safety harnesses for protection.

There are Adventure Parks located in these cities:

  • West Bloomfield, MI
  • Sandy Spring, MD
  • Long Island, NY
  • Virginia Beach, VA
  • Bridgeport, CT
  • Storrs, CT
  • Cape Cod, MA

All the courses are constructed to make a minimal impact on the natural environment. The trees are all well-cared-for by the staff of OVG. The beauty of the natural landscape and the outdoor activity promotes ecotourism, which focuses on responsible travel and sustainability.

Here’s what OVG’s customers have to say about them:

“We took our boys here yesterday. All of us were new to zip-lining and the short training session was perfect. There was plenty for my 7 and 12 year old to do, as well as my husband and I. The staff was great too. I will be sharing my awesome experience. Thank you for a great time.” – Alisha B.

 

“Took our summer camp there for a field trip and wasn’t sure what to expect. Our kids ranged from 2nd to 5th grade and each and every one had a blast! None of us had any previous experience but the staff did a wonderful job explaining everything. I would highly suggest visiting! I also think it could make a great date night!” – Nik H.

 

“I had an amazing experience at the adventure park yesterday! The staff was so helpful. It was my first time and they walked me through everything and were so nice! I recommend this place to everyone!” – Kayla B.

We love the philosophy behind everything  The Adventure Park does – promoting the natural world, encouraging spending time together, and getting people out and moving! At Cannon Hill Logistics, we are proud to help them grow their business!

5 Signs you may Need a 3PL Company

Getting your products into the hands of customers and distributors is a vital part of your business. Processing these transactions efficiently and in the most cost-effective manner are crucial to maintaining and growing your profits. However, the logistics of moving all your products can prove challenging as your business grows. How do you know when making the switch from in-house to a third-party logistics (3PL) company is right for your business? Here are 5 signs to look for when deciding if 3PL is right for you:

You’re struggling with seasonal scaling

If your business is seasonal in nature, or you experience seasonal cyclical fluctuations, making sure your warehouse is staffed properly can be difficult. In fact, maintaining a seasonal or part-time workforce may end up costing your business money, eating into your profits. Outsourcing your packing and shipping to a 3PL allows you the flexibility of having workers when you need them without worrying about hiring, training, or payroll costs.

Some aspects of your business are taking the sidelines

As a small business owner, it’s easy to get bogged down in the tasks of everyday operations. Some of the things that are important to making sure your business grows can take a backseat, such as finding new markets for your products and building vital relationships with new partners. If you notice that these crucial activities are being superseded by processing orders and returns, or making sure your warehouse is properly staffed, bringing in a 3PL can free up your time for these important tasks.

You’re running out of warehouse or storage space

Storing all your merchandise is expensive. As your business grows and you develop the need to store more products, it may become clear that your current warehouse space isn’t going to cut it much longer. Rather than hunt for more storage space, which can easily eat up your extra budget space, a 3PL has the capability to store more products than any small business can manage.

You want to be able to expand your offered products

Innovation is important for any business, and developing and marketing new products allows your business to grow and diversify. If you already feel bogged-down by packing and shipping the products you currently carry, adding new ones can seem out of the question. Also, if you’re spending late nights making sure orders go out on time, you’re not left with much time to spend on activities that grow your business. Tasking a 3PL with the day-to-day management of your inventory gives you more time to do what you do best – Create products people love.

You’re getting mired in returns and exchanges

Returns and exchanges are just a part of doing business, though a frustrating and time-consuming one. If you’re spending a lot of time and manpower tracking down replacement items for your customers, it may be time to consider extra assistance. A 3PL has the staff to hunt down mislabeled merchandise and process returned products, saving you money.

While hiring a 3PL may seem like a big step for a small business, it’s one that many face when experiencing growth. There’s no magical time that’s right for every business, but it is important to consider multiple factors and needs when thinking about bringing in an outside group to handle packing and shipping. If you believe the time is right, contact Cannon Hill Logistics to find out how our quality third party logistics services can help you make your business the best it can be!

Questions You Should Ask When Hiring a Logistics Service Provider

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Why Is Supply Chain Management Necessary in the Current Market?

Supply Chain Management

Supply chain management (SCM) is a very important part of any organization as it deals with the effective management of supply chain activities to ensure and maximize customer value and achieve a competitive advantage. Companies who use strategic SCM are able to function at their best capacity to provide and distribute their products and materials efficiently.

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The Benefits of Warehouse Kitting Services

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The Importance of Subscription Box Fulfillment Services

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Factors to Consider When Outsourcing Your Apparel Fulfillment Services

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