Unless you have been stranded on a deserted island, your life has forever been altered by the internet and e-commerce. Gone are the days of having to drive around, endlessly hunting what you want to buy. With that said, many companies have had to grapple with how to sell and delivery heavy, cumbersome products. By leveraging lower cost regional 3PL warehouse and drop shipping fulfillment centers. Companies that ship in freight size quantities, can not only compete in the era of Amazon, but perhaps thrive!
What are regional warehousing, fulfillment and drop ship centers?
3PL warehouse and drop shipping Fulfillment Centers can take many shapes and offer many different services. However, they are essentially public storage and fulfillment centers or sometimes referred to at 3PL warehouses. Companies can essentially contract with these 3PL warehouse companies to receive, store, cross pack, and fulfill their orders. Acting as an extension of the company. Allowing them to store and drop shipping products in regionally advantageous locations, closer to their end customers.
How do 3PL Warehouse and Fulfillment Centers Charge normally?
Although each warehouse may price their storage,
fulfillment, and drop shipping services differently depending on the complexity of
the project. Generally, most warehousing
and fulfillment activities are comprised of the following services and charges.
- Devanning /Receiving
- Inbound handling per Pallet or Item
- Storage Per Pallet or Item
- Handling to build outbound orders per Each or
- Preparing Shipment: Shrink Wrapping, Strapping, Etc. if shipping
- Re-boxing if needed and shipping Ground /Parcel
- Order processing fees per order
- Shipment Documentation Fee per shipping document
- Outbound handling per pallet or per box
- Hourly labor for any activity out of normal SOP
Many warehousing and fulfillment company can try and make it more complex than this. However, these are core processes and billable services for most 3pl warehouse, fulfillment, and drop shipping activities
What are the services 3PL warehouses can provide that are advantageous to companies whom have to ship their products via freight ?
The era of shipping endless truckloads of merchandise directly to big box retail stores has greatly decreased. Discerning clients want more options of how they can buy and acquire purchases. Ranging from quick economical home delivery, to purchasing online with free in-store pickup.
Big Retailers are also demanding more flexibility of manufacturer’s shipping supply chains. Many time’s asking manufacturers to be able to ship smaller LTL quantities to their stores just in time to avoid high retail storage costs. Or simply drop shipping individual orders directly to their end customers from e-commerce orders and avoiding handling and storage of the products entirely.
By leveraging regional 3PL warehouse and fulfillment centers, companies can be more flexible and agile in their shipping policies. Thus allowing them compete and thrive in the changing age of Amazon. Especially when it comes to heavier items purchased, that need to be handled by freight delivery companies. 3PL warehouses can also generally offer less expensive monthly storage than shipping directly into Amazons fulfillment centers. More over, by staging products regionally closer to end consumers. Companies can drastically reduce transit times, transit related damages, and overall cost of shipping. In many cases this can yield freight shipment saving of 20-40% or more!
Example of Drastic Cost Reduction Shipping West Coast LTL orders from a West Coast Warehouse!
Example of Drastic Cost Reduction Shipping East Coast LTL orders from a East Coast Warehouse!
Additionally, they can offer more personalized service (imagine actually talking to a real human being when you need help!). Increased flexibility of picking and packing and drop shipping procedures. Even in some cases accommodating more complex final mile freight delivery. Going beyond what amazon, ups, and fedex can provide at the ground/parcel level. While still being able to provide similar or better tracking information through the order and shipment life cycle, with the help of fast evolving API or (Application Programming Interface) automation.
How can all or most of this process be automated?
As I alluded to early, fast evolving API automation and connectivity can also level the technological playing field. Allowing manufacturing companies to provide a seamless buying and shipping experience, no matter the final delivery or pick up scenario. Not only allowing companies to connect their e-commerce sales platform directly to their preferred warehouse and fulfillment center. But also connecting to their preferred freight and parcel shipping providers. Thus, allowing their e-commerce site to calculate shipping costs. Their clients to choose their preferred carrier and price. Ultimately paying for the complete transaction all in one process.
What are the net benefits to a companies that make and need to ship these heavy products?
By leveraging regional 3PL warehouse and
drop shipping fulfillment centers. Companies can not only compete in the era of amazon, but
possible even thrive! Especially when It
comes to heavier, more complex final mile freight deliveries. Amazon does provide some amazing services,
but it doesn’t mean we need to sit by idly and let them take over the
world. Armed with flexible warehouse and
fulfillment partners, flexible final mile freight delivery partners, and fast
evolving API connectivity and automation we can stake a claim to our portion of
the digital sales future also!