Peak Season Playbook

Preparing Your 3PL Warehouse for Optimal Efficiency

 

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Last year transformed the logistics industry.

During the pandemic, supply chains experienced unprecedented and accelerated growth—and it shows no signs of stopping. This is especially true for ecommerce, which grew 44% in the United States last year—nearly triple the 15.1% year-over-year jump seen in 2019.

As with any booming marketplace, this also brought growing awareness and pressure to meet consumer demands. The rapid development of the supply chain industry supercharged manufacturers, retailers, third-party logistics (3PL) providers, and everyone in between to think about new and innovative ways to remain agile and efficient amid a post-COVID boom.

Now, in an already thriving marketplace, 3PL warehouses must prepare for the upcoming peak season while continuing to scale, remain nimble, and meet customer demands.

Peak Season in the Post-COVID Boom. 

Peak Holiday Shipping Seasons

The rise of omnichannel fulfillment has made peak seasons even more critical for warehouses who look to take advantage of an expanding marketplace. Last year, online sales during the winter holidays grew 45.2% year over year despite the many challenges the pandemic brought with it. In addition, peak seasons seem to continually expand and can include other buying surges such as Chinese New Year or Prime Day, which helped third-party sellers make more than $3.5 billion in sales last year. 

With so much business potential riding on peak season, how can third-party logistics warehouses prepare and plan for maximum accuracy and efficiency while remaining focused on current business needs?

Below, please find five areas 3PLs must focus on to prepare and plan for maximum accuracy and efficiency during peak shipping seasons.

 


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Improve Operations

There is no denying it—continuous operational improvement is critical to a warehouse’s success. The first step to ensure workflows and processes are ready to deliver optimal performance is to conduct a warehouse audit. Many 3PLs already do this annually. However, with exponential industry growth, audits should be conducted more often to verify operations are running smoothly and efficiently.

PREPARE OPERATIONS FOR PEAK SEASON

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As a best practice, conduct a thorough analysis quarterly at a minimum and monthly during high shipping times—especially if ecommerce is a growth driver. 

Download the full playbook to receive additional warehouse audit best practices to operate more efficiently and guide future improvements. 

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Increase Profitability

The key to improving warehouse profit margins revolves around a 3PL warehouse’s ability to understand what activities make money—or alternatively, which activities or, in some cases, customers cost the business more than what they bring in.

When thinking about warehouse profitability, predictive analytics have become more and more common as ecommerce and omnichannel fulfillment grow more prevalent. Predictive analytics help warehouses forecast and build statistical models to measure probability and future outcomes.

prepare for profitability during peak season

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One of the best ways to remain profitable and combat rising operating, labor, or real estate costs during peak season is using technology to automate and track operations.

Learn more about where your 3PL can improve profitability and what other warehouses are doing to simplify pricing.

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Invest in Technology

Rapid ecommerce growth has spurred a plethora of new technologies for the logistics and supply chain industry, and COVID-19 sped up this changing landscape. For years, warehouses have pushed around the concept of innovation but have been historically slow to adopt new technologies—that is, until recently.

As reported in the Third-Party Logistics Warehouse Benchmark Report, 3PLs in the highest growth brackets were 200% more likely to invest in system integrations with shopping carts and marketplaces and 50% more likely to invest in ecommerce.

invest in technology before peak season

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Successful 3PLs will need to invest in comprehensive technology to meet demands and handle increased throughput both seamlessly and efficiently.

Learn how technology can play a role in meeting customer demands during exploding ecommerce holiday season sales.

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Boost Visibility

As third-party logistics warehouses become the nucleus of ecommerce and omnichannel fulfillment, visibility is more important than ever. In today’s landscape, 3PLs must be prepared to share more and more information with partners, customers, and consumers. One of the most important is outbound shipments. Last year, more than 3 billion parcels were shipped during holiday peak season—setting a new industry record. And, of course, everyone wants to know where their package is and when it will arrive.

Boost Visibility for peak season

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It is important that third-party logistics warehouses understand the right level of visibility to meet the needs of the business and warehouse customers.

Download the report best practices on where to boost warehouse visibility to increase performance and drive improvement.

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Enhance the Customer Experience

Peak season is all about enhancing the customer experience—which should also be a priority all year round. Historically, third-party logistics warehouses have been largely invested in meeting customer demands and working with their customers to help expand their offerings. The importance 3PLs place on these relationships, and those of their partners, is why so many retailers and DTC manufacturers are seeking out 3PLs to help drive innovation that enables growth.

 

enhance the customer experience for peak season

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When looking to enhance the customer experience, transparency is best in building long-term and trustworthy relationships.

Download the complete report to learn best practices around how to improve customer satisfaction—especially for warehouses looking to build partnerships with retailers and DTC.

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Conclusion

With the exponential growth of ecommerce fulfillment, the rise in peak season orders shows no signs of slowing down. Plus, supply chain disruptions are predicted to continue this year, leading to even more inventory and shipping complexities than ever before. To prepare your 3PL business for peak season, conduct a warehouse audit as soon as possible. To ensure efficiency, prepare for peak season early so warehouse staff has time to implement new technologies, processes, and workflows as needed. By optimizing warehouse operations sooner rather than later, 3PLs will have a greater opportunity to communicate with customers and prepare themselves for a successful and lucrative peak shipping season.

Download the Full Report

 

About 3PL Central

3PL Central is the leader in cloud-based warehouse management system (WMS) solutions built to meet the unique needs of the 3PL warehousing community. Serving as the backbone of our customer's operations, our platform quickly transforms paper-based, error-prone businesses into service leaders who can focus on customer satisfaction, operate more efficiently, and grow faster. Offering a comprehensive warehouse management platform, we make it easy for 3PLs to manage inventory, automate routine tasks, and deliver complete visibility to their customers. As the proven industry leader for over a decade, 3PL Central accurately manages billions of dollars in inventory and processes more than 1 million orders a week from any of our customer’s and their customers’ systems.

Interested in learning how you can partner with 3PL Central to help your warehouse prepare for peak season?

Request a Demo