It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but also the most stressful if you’re one of the many retailers trying to juggle seasonal warehousing.
Luckily, you have a few options if you want to take advantage of the estimated $630.5 billion dollar holiday market that the National Retail Federation is forecasting this year.
Some retailers will undoubtedly choose to try to manage their warehousing without using any sort of seasonal overflow location in order to save money, but customers won’t tolerate back ordered or shrinking inventories for long. Other retailers will opt for extra permanent warehouse space, signing a long-term lease for storage space they only use sometimes.
A third group of retailers will take the middle road and partner with a 3rd party logistics company to help them handle their holiday season.
3PLs Offer Extra Value All Season Long
Instead of stacking boxes to the ceiling in your office, bathroom and hallways, choosing to outsource your holiday warehousing and distribution gives you a safer workplace and extra staff you don’t have to hire yourself. Partnering with a 3PL for the big holiday rush frees you up to order exactly what you need without having to worry about where you’re going to put it, along with these other advantages:
On-Demand Storage Space. Juggling storage space this time of year is tough — but when you’ve partnered with a 3PL, you’re literally just renting the space you need when you need it. If you expect to start putting back extra stock for the holiday rush in October or November, you can start stocking up in your 3PL’s warehouse at that time and allow your inventories to dwindle until Christmas. You only pay for what you use, and how you use it is completely up to you.
Accurate and Up-to-Date Inventory. Loss is high during the holiday rush. You’re busy, your staff is overworked and no one is really focused on making sure your inventories are perfect. 3PLs use computerized systems to check products into and out of inventory, providing you with an always up-to-date inventory count of the items in the warehouse. You won’t have to deal with backorders when you know exactly when it’s time to restock.
Staff When You Need Them. Hiring for the holidays can be tricky and highly competitive, but you don’t have to worry about seasonal help if you’ve partnered with a 3PL. Instead of hiring your own people and paying for their help — even if they’re just sitting around waiting for orders to pick, pack and ship — a 3PL relationship means that you get to “rent” some extra hands only when you need them. It can save you a bundle in money and time, since these staffers come pre-trained, as well.
The holiday season doesn’t have to be a cannonball run to January if you have the right team behind you. By partnering with an 3PL, you can avoid the nightmare of managing an extra warehouse and new workers and instead focus on providing your customers with the very best holiday shopping service.