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.