It usually starts off as a combination of little things, rather than an exact moment. A couple of minor things pop up here and there that makes you think; “Hmmm, I really need to address this and get to the bottom of my fulfillment and warehousing hurdles.”
As the U.S. eCommerce industry grew 15.1 percent in 2016, according to the U.S. Commerce Department, you are not alone in feeling overwhelmed by a dynamic industry. There are many brands and retailers who have struggled to manage the intricacies of the ever-changing logistics and fulfillment world. Luckily, there are resources and teams available that can help solve these fulfillment challenges.
Here are the top 5 signs that it might be time to take a hard look at your current Inventory and Logistics Provider. For a complete checklist of Signs It’s Time to Switch Fulfillment Partners and learn how to make the move, click here.
5. Your Current Provider’s Growth isn’t Scaling with Your Growth Plans:
If your current provider isn’t proactively planning with you for future growth, it might be time to reevaluate the relationship. Good 3PL providers will work with your forecasting models and have a plan in place for Y-o-Y growth, as well as seasonality. Make sure your current provider has the right space, resources, and is committed to your growth plans. By doing this you can avoid headaches down the line when your business reaches its peak performance.
4. Habitual Errors that Aren’t Learned From
The logistics business has been and always will be a bit hectic. With the nonstop evolution of delivery methods and fulfillment strategies, "being a bit hectic" will continue to hold true. So, yes, there will be errors made by both parties. However, be on the lookout for habitual errors; those that seem to be reoccurring every month. If you’ve discovered the root of these issues, addressed it with your provider, but they continue to bubble up, it’s probably a sign of a lack of skill or proper resources to address your specific business needs. Be on the lookout for these habitual errors, they can stunt growth if not dealt with correctly.
3. Massive Unforeseen Price Hikes
Price increases are inevitable in most industries. With the volatility and fluctuation in pricing of hard goods when it comes to the logistics industry, change can literally happen overnight. Your provider is aware of this, and should have planned for how to address these changes with you within the initial statement of work. If your provider isn’t communicating price increases clearly and regularly, you could be left having to pass some of these costs onto your customers. Remember a sign of a great partner is one that shares the bad news as well as the good and helps you figure out a solution.
2. Inability to Learn and Adjust to My Brand’s Needs
There is always a learning curve when taking on new clients. Each has its own unique set of rules. But after the initial onboarding period, if it feels like the team still isn’t catching on, it might be time to take a closer look at the situation. Inability to learn the business might be a sign that your current provider isn’t setup to work with your product.
1. The Technology My Provider Uses Doesn’t Integrate
If you find yourself configuring your system over and over again, or doing more manual work than necessary, it might be time to find a new provider.
Finding a good logistic partner that can help you integrate your existing business technology into a known warehouse management system is crucial. Technology should be used to strengthen your operations, not hinder it.