Before jumping into the water with OceanX or any other fulfillment partners, listen in on the problem and fix scenarios for popular logistic questions.
Companies specializing in FaaS (Fulfillment-as-a-Service) have encountered these problems or designed specialized plans to avoid them. To prevent these complications, they must have the know-how and desire for the most pleasing outcomes.
Even if these problems sound intimidating, remember that 3PLs (third-party logistics) are an uprising tool that some companies have deemed a business necessity.
Keep these 3PL benefits in mind as we are discussing the conflicts later on:
- 75% of shippers say the use of 3PLs has contributed to logistic cost reductions.
- 86% say their use of 3PLs has improved their customer experience.
- 73% of brands say they interact with their 3PL on an hourly basis.
Want to get your feet wet before diving head-first? We understand as industry lead professionals! We listed popular problem scenarios and OceanX’s approach to combating them.
Problem #1: High-Demand Carriers “Dropping the Ball”
We saw this problem occur in 2020 when the uprising of COVID-19 hit. Carriers had never seen an unexpected increase in demand. Once in-person purchasing threw out the window, online retail became the new normalcy and turned the fulfillment world upside down.
Our Solution: One thing we needed was the utilization of regional carriers rather than national corporations. One of these, of course, is the USPS (United States Postal Shipping). Incorporating regional carriers is never a bad idea. And, in the circumstance of national carriers unfulfilling their duties, having regional carriers is the best backup solution.
Problem #2: Keeping Regional Carriers Accountable
In follow up to our previous problem, we have this tidbit. How do 3PL professionals keep regional carriers accountable? Because regional delivery is not only harder to track but trust.
Our Solution: When the circumstance of integrating a regional carrier is applicable, OceanX has monitoring networks between 3PL clients and carriers. 3PLs, in almost every situation, is the dignified middle-party for brands and carriers. No shock that the 3PL negotiates and resolves shipping issues in this manner. OceanX pairs with trustworthy regional carriers, but it never hurts to weave in technology.
Problem #3: Jumping on the 3PL Train Later
The question remains for many brands, when is the right time to partner with a 3PL? Once reaching outside the comfort zone for a company, how many sales, inventory space, etc., many companies will find themselves longing to be with a 3PL after the damage has set.
Our Solution: So, the short answer would be, the sooner the better. But, the more detailed appropriate response would be to discover the growth capabilities of the company and the current challenges that the brand needs to overcome. Would a 3PL assist those issues? If the answer is yes, perhaps reach out and say hello to 3PL professionals.
Problem #4: Heavy Port Congestion
The first thing a brand owner does is panic when hearing the words, heavy port congestion thrown in. Their initial reaction is shipping their inventory into a separate 3PL facility. For OceanX and many other 3PLs, this action is hard to execute if the facilities are far in-between.
For example, the brand owner may want to ship the inventory to a West Coast facility if the East Coast becomes packed.
But, do you remember Hacky Sack? That game many of us played as children? A small fabric ball was kicked around amongst many players, beaten, and battered. Imagine that for products but on a larger scale. What happens when the West Coast port frees up, meanwhile the East Coast becomes full in transit? Like the hacky sack game, this may happen back and forth. The results of Hacky Sack distribution are crucial to the business. The brand will see cost increases, wear and tear amongst equipment, overworked employment, and unhappy customers.
Our Solution: First things first, to prevent port congestion amongst the brands is upfront forecasting. We understand that life happens, and sales may increase or decrease in a drop of a hat, but overall, businesses can hire a professional for a sales forecast and what the logistics can handle.
Another alternative, though not preferred, would be to consider other fulfillment arrangements such as air shipping the parcels. Yes, this route is expensive and inconvenient for brand owners. But, if customer relationships are at stake, sometimes the upfront investment weighs out better than the consumer loss.
Problem #5: International Shipping Transparency
International shipping is one of the most oversized conflicts amongst logistic companies. The problems we face with international shipping are more than to count. However, the rewards of widening a demographic and supplying products in different areas may be the best business decision ever made. One big concern we hear the most is shipping transparency, how to keep those international shipping teams reliable and upfront.
Our Solution: Thankfully, as a tech-first company, we have top-of-the-line programs to ensure transparency. If we cannot go beyond borders to each doorstep and ensure quality first-hand, tracking numbers and open lines of communication may be just as efficient.
Problem #6: Staffing Issues Causing BackOrders
When there’s limited staffing, backorders are common. The entirety of the backorders process is complicated from end-to-end and requires in-depth navigation. However, in this specific problem, we’re reviewing insufficient staffing. Quite frankly, backorders may happen at a point in time, but it’s about how to navigate backorder management that lessens the blow.
Our Solution: Going the extra mile for prevention, even if it means working on weekends and becoming more inclusive with carriers. It’s about understanding the capabilities of fulfillment before backorders occur. If there are shared lines with another logistics company, forecasting sales and distribution is another significant part of preventing backorders. Having the through-put beforehand is a wise decision all around. Our heavy port problem section mentioned other forms of fulfillment like air shipping, which also can be practical in backorders.
Problems Can Feel like Drowning in an Ocean. Need a Life Raft?
Negatives and positives attract. Science taught us that. Whenever there are problems, remember that there are solutions. These problems examples (and more) are a drop of water in the OceanX. If you feel like you might drown in them, it’s best to consider a 3PL like your life raft.
Assessing 3PLs like a life raft makes it an indispensable tool for business survival. If a shipwrecked and you were a passenger, we bet you would want life rafts and life jackets. The same can go for a 3PL partnership. Because, when disaster strikes, it’s always best to have third-party dependability.
Don’t let fulfillment problems drift you out at sea, see why partnering with a 3PL today is the best way to combat fulfillment problems.