Inbound Logistics | July 2022


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. Fast Expansion Into D2C: Top 3 Considerations for 3PLs to Attract New Business

M ost 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 fulllment companies instead. However, such a partnership can strain 3PL operations and models—because the pathway needs to be scalable, easily congured, API friendly, and robust to meet the uctuating demands of multichannel fulllment operations. It’s due to the new-style customer

should be easy to read, interpret, and act upon. IT-heavy systems can also necessitate expensive and unnecessary headcount diversication from other parts of the business. 3. Does it oer speed-to-value? Leaner cloud-based solutions, like SnapFull, 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 congurability. This translates into bespoke 3PL features like tailored billing software, specic workows and processes to meet individual customer needs, multiple picking/packing approaches to ensure the application can support efcient approaches in structuring and prioritizing work, plus an information- rich portal for enhanced visibility. Clients benet from tiered rates of charging and economies of scale and value, while traditionally manual tasks become fully automated, providing greater accuracy and transparency.

Here are my top three WMS considerations for 3PLs looking to quickly expand into fast-paced D2C, but requiring maximum operational exibility to save time, money, and resources. 1. Is it flexible and scalable? Organically built solutions can accommodate all workows 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 exible 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

requirements being repeatedly introduced that are difcult to systemically accommodate and

therefore hard to perform efciently, 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 congurable 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 fulllment operation—and at the very foundation a functionally rich WMS will seamlessly manage the ever-changing demands of the e-commerce landscape.

—By Brian Kirst

VP Sales & Business Development Synergy North America Inc. 720-372-1250

July 2022 • Inbound Logistics 35

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