Meeting consumer expectations during a period of prolonged supply chain volatility calls for sustained investment in e-commerce efficiency.
With social distancing in full swing and governments limiting which businesses can and cannot operate during quarantine, many companies are grappling with what appears to be — at least for now — the new normal. In fact, a survey from the Institute of Supply Management (ISM) found that 95% of firms expect to see some kind of disruption due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
For resilient companies looking to invest in business continuity during this time, it’s essential to evaluate what you can do to meet customers where they are. Increasingly often during city, state, and national lockdowns, that’s proven to be through e-commerce platforms. Indeed, as consumers rely on digital marketplaces and businesses’ websites in order to meet many of their needs, shippers are facing more significant to serve their patrons as efficiently online as they would in person.
Accordingly, shippers and supply chain managers need to consider how they invest in e-commerce efficiency in order to satisfy customer expectations while also laying the groundwork for business continuity during uncertain times. By partnering with the right third-party logistics partner (3PL), for example, businesses can leverage existing infrastructure and hard-won logistics expertise to streamline their e-commerce operations.
Strategic Digital Operations
As consumers turn to e-commerce platforms while on lockdown, businesses must be prepared to handle a steady stream of orders and requests coming in from multiple channels. This means that maintaining e-commerce efficiency depends on deploying the digital tools necessary to handle omni-channel logistics. These tools, such as order management systems (OMS), streamline online orders from multiple channels and ensure a smooth and effective fulfillment process.
With a 3PL, small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) can leverage these tools to manage orders better and exercise end-to-end visibility over their e-commerce operation. Equipped with more accurate information about their online business, companies can also improve the quality of their customer service by providing patrons with more up-to-date details on the status of their orders and expected fulfillment timelines.
Improved Warehouse Management
An effective fulfillment operation depends on effective warehouse management. From the strategic placement of warehouses across the country to streamlined work within them, fulfillment facilities are the make-or-break distinction between businesses that excel in the e-commerce economy and those that struggle to break through.
With a warehouse management system (WMS), SMBs that invest in their relationship with their 3PL can reap the benefits of industry-leading warehousing infrastructure as well as the digital technology needed to make the most of that infrastructure. From streamlining the picking, packing, and shipping process to strategically controlling inventory to meet shifts in demand, 3PLs with advanced infrastructure — and advanced logistics software — can help shippers punch above their weight in the e-commerce economy.
Domestic and International Logistics Partnerships
In the end — to effectively manage a surge in e-commerce fulfillment demands — shippers need to have access to reliable partnerships. Working with experienced logistics providers with domestic and international reach can help businesses locate inventory closer to critical points of business, predict and adapt to unexpected logistical obstacles, and deliver on demanding customer expectations.
While large corporations may have the capacity to maintain this level of fulfillment infrastructure on their own, SMBs working to establish their place in the market likely do not. Accordingly, they should consider how working with a 3PL can extend their logistical reach and support them as they seek to maintain business continuity in an increasingly digital marketplace.
With a proven track record of e-commerce excellence, Primary Logistics has the infrastructure and expertise necessary to streamline your online fulfillment operation. If you’re looking for targeted e-commerce support or help with warehousing and distribution, our award-winning customer service team is standing by. And, with locations across the country, we have the logistics footprint needed to support growth in a critical time.
If you’d like to learn more about how award-winning shipping and logistics services from Primary Logistics and Primary Freight, contact us today at (800)-635-0013.