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.