The rise in e-commerce transactions has drastically changed how supply chain managers have helped companies organize and dispatch their products. More specifically, e-commerce has placed unique burdens on transportation as the number of home deliveries and returns has skyrocketed over recent years.
3PL Fulfillment: Transportation
These strains on transportation require more efficient and reliable route planning that takes into account not only the number of deliveries a driver must make but also the location of each final destination so as to save time and fuel. But other factors must be taken into consideration as well. Traffic patterns throughout the day obviously affect the amount of time it takes the driver to complete all of the scheduled deliveries. Furthermore, unexpected delays, such as severe accidents or inclement weather, can throw a wrench into a carefully planned route.
Many supply chain managers have adapted to use route planning software. These programs allow transporters to quickly input addresses, and the software generates an ideal route. This takes away from the tedious and time-consuming process of manually creating delivery routes. Route planning software can also flag users when an address seems out of place or inconsistent with other data. Such notifications can bring attention to potential typos in addresses.
3PL Fulfillment: Storage Space
Transportation is just one area that needs adjustment as e-commerce continues to surge. As reliance upon e-commerce and home delivery continues to escalate, the supply chain’s need for storage space grows as well. Increases in online orders coupled with rises in returns requires companies to have plentiful storage space or warehouses, as well as an efficient system for organizing and locating products as they are turned around for delivery. Without such a system, products become misplaced and shipments miss delivery deadlines.
3PL Fulfillment: Meeting Consumer Expectations
E-commerce has not only had an effect on the process by which supply chains operate, but also has modified consumer expectations. Nowadays, customers anticipate their packages will arrive on the predicted arrival date and rely on tracking notifications to follow the route of their merchandise as it travels from the warehouse to their home or business. Additionally, several customers elect to have their goods shipped the same day or may request that the goods purchased be shipped to multiple addresses. All these new expectations present additional challenges for supply chain managers as e-commerce continues to become a more popular form of consumerism.
Moving forward, 3PLs must continue to adapt to the change presented by the growing e-commerce market. Capitalizing on innovative ways to address the notable transformations and challenges that e-commerce present will continue to ensure a successful and relevant logistics management company. By embracing the various modifications in supply chain management that e-commerce brings about, 3PLs can continue to serve retailers in these modern times.