2020 offered up extreme challenges. Here are 4 hallmarks of maintaining reliable 3PL services
Fast shipping does no good unless it is also accurate. And vice versa. At WSI, most orders can be picked, packed, and shipped on the same day. Reliability is a central feature of the entire process. And we know how important reliable 3PL services are to the success of companies, whether you run a Shopify business or manage the supply chain at an OEM.
This winter, the pandemic has once again thrown a wrench into operations for some, while sending others scrambling to keep up with surging online orders. Being able to leverage reliable 3PL services in such an unpredictable environment can set your business apart from the competition.
Almost a year into the global spread of Covid-19, it’s clear that organizations that were able to adhere to certain principles were better off than others. Was your third-party logistics provider (3PL) up to the task?
Here are 4 key features that helped WSI manage the crisis on behalf of our clients and offer reliable 3PL services:
1. Safety precautions
At the onset, our Covid-19 Response Team went to work and quickly implemented a set of standardized health and safety protocols across our nationwide network of facilities. Keeping our employees healthy was not only a crucial imperative but also helped us ensure reliable 3PL services for our clients.
The precautions actually served to finetune and even improve our already high service levels as we discovered new and more effective ways of doing business. For instance, drivers who used to come into the office are now directed straight to doors, and paperwork that previously passed through multiple employee hands is now scanned and accessed electronically. Safety results also saw dramatic improvement; for example, we decreased OSHA reportable incidents by over 36%.
From a business perspective, few things stand out about 2020 as the need for flexibility. A 3PL that was nimble and had scale was able to drive significant value for its customers. Since flexibility has always been one of the main benefits of working with a 3PL, Covid-19 drove that message home.
As some customers saw orders drop to zero while others faced skyrocketing order volumes, we leveraged WSI’s coast-to-coast network both from a labor and warehouse perspective. In some instances, we set up short-term projects around the country to help customers get products closer to end-users. Our business model allows customers to make one phone call and have solutions in multiple regions of the country within hours.
The fact WSI was able to set up new operations in Texas, Iowa, and Oregon even during such adverse conditions further underscores the company’s ability to remain flexible at all times.
3. Cost management
The disruption caused by the pandemic reinforced the notion that managing costs are critical in all economic conditions. We had situations where the business grew and locations where we saw business slow down; in both cases, managing costs is critical to staff and to meet customer needs. Losing sight of productivity is simply not an option even in the most difficult of times. Those who let that priority fall by the wayside risk the financial health of their organization and are likely to see service levels deteriorate.
4. Dedicated workforce
Seasonal workers are common in the fulfillment business. And while that strategy works during a normal year with predictable and seasonal ups and downs in demand, it is far from ideal during a time of disruption. WSI, on the other hand, maintains a dedicated workforce year-round and, as a result, is better equipped to handle sudden market changes.
For example, when the Black Friday sale took some by surprise in October, we didn’t have to search for temporary workers to fulfill the influx of orders nor did we need to pass on the cost to our customers of hiring additional people at above-market rates. Our flat organization also means employees are cross-trained and able to perform multiple tasks, which further strengthens our ability to tackle unexpected events.
Are you searching for a reliable 3PL? Contact us today.