As retailers gear up for one of the most exhilarating and demanding times of the year, peak season, there’s no room for your logistics partner to jeopardize your business’s success. To thrive during this high-stakes season, businesses must work with logistics partners who are not just ready, but who are exceptionally well prepared.
In this blog post, we’ll shed light on red flags that serve as warning signs that your 3PL is not adequately prepared - as well as green flags that assure you that you’re in good hands. Whether you’re a seasoned business owner or a new operations manager, understanding these indicators will be your guide toward a successful retail peak season.
Capacity and Warehouse Space
- If your fulfillment provider is going into retail peak season and is already at or near capacity, this is a red flag. They are not prepared for the increase in volume they are about to face.
- If your fulfillment provider has disorganized or cluttered warehouses, this is also a red flag. Poor organization can cause fulfillment errors, lack of efficiency and delays.
- If your logistics partner has ample space to accommodate the surge in inventory, we expect to see in Q3 and Q4, they pass the preparedness test on the capacity front.
- If your 3PL has warehouses that are well organized and tidy, you’re set for a season of minimal risk and frustration.
- If your fulfillment provider does not have resources to quickly hire and train temporary employees during peak season, they’ll be left with labor shortages, and you’ll be left with order processing delays.
- If your 3PL has plans in place to flex up their staff smoothly, especially when you expect an increase in orders, you’re in good shape this peak season.
- If it takes too long to get new platforms integrated with your fulfillment provider, and simple requests for reporting are rejected, you might want to consider looking for a new one.
- If you have limited or difficult-to-use access to your account and order information, your peak season is going to be full of frustration.
- If your 3PL has up-to-date tech and systems and has integrated quickly with your platforms, this is a great sign that you and your logistics partner are tech ready.
- If you have easy access and user-friendly views of your order management and inventory control, you’re set for a stress-free peak season.
- If your fulfillment provider only provides the absolute basics, you may be stuck scrambling to figure out how to organize additional tasks needed to make your products shipment ready.
- If your 3PL quickly says “no” to requests for services beyond the basics, be ready for challenges during peak season.
- If your 3PL provides an assortment of value-added services such as price ticketing, re-boxing, UPC changes, packaging, updating software, kitting, building displays, etc., you’re in good hands.
- If your 3PL is open to working with you to add new services to this list, even better! This is a green flag that your logistics partner is dedicated to your success and is willing and able to support your growth, through peak season – and beyond!
In the whirlwind that can be retail peak season, your logistics partner is a significant contributor to your success. With these red flags and green flags in mind, you’re equipped to thoughtfully assess your 3PL and decide if you need to find a new partner asap, or if you’re ready to turn this peak season into a triumph.