It does not take genius to understand that one requires newer solutions to surmount newer challenges. The tendency of some businesses to embrace the easy route of denying the changing business reality and continue using old or traditional ways to tackle 21st century business challenges does two things: one, it first slows down business growth and two, if immediate transformative measures are not taken, it slowly moves a business to a dilapidated state and ultimately sinks it to a point of no return. The business then mulls two courses of action: either raise capital and invest heavily in operations or close down because by then, smart competition (businesses that had embraced technology at the right time) takes over and seems miles ahead in the race.
This golden nugget applies precisely to folks from the 3PL and warehousing business right now, because over the last decade or so, the face of retail has changed beyond recognition and they have started to feel the heat already!
What’s better to embrace? Change or Cost of Lost Opportunities?
My diverse experiences—from running a warehousing business, understanding its unique challenges and facing competition to ultimately running a company that aims to alleviate problems and pain points of warehousing businesses and make the e-commerce and logistics world a level-playing field through cutting-edge SaaS solutions—have given me clear insights into the distinct reasons of why warehousing businesses struggle and what they should do to emerge victorious in the current scene.
The problems of warehouses are simple actually, it’s the fear of change and implementation of the change in mindset that’s complex and that is what holds these businesses from transforming into what the current scenario screamingly demands. The newest entrant—e-commerce—has shaken up the strong pillars of the brick-and-mortar retail industry the world over and with it, ancillary businesses such as traditional logistics and warehousing have also felt the ominous tremors. Isn’t it ironical that retail consumption is growing at a steady pace but the demand and turnover of traditional logistics and warehousing enterprises are dwindling? This simply means one thing: there are abundant of business opportunities for warehousing in the changed retail scenario but e-commerce ventures are not availing services of old-method warehousing players because they simply can’t fulfill the business requirements of the new-age retail. This gap in customer expectations and reality is not only making warehousing players lose revenue generation opportunities, but is also threatening their very existence!
Can We Get to a Solution?
As this challenge is a unique one and has been posed by the newest method of retail, that is, e-commerce, it is imperative that the solution to tackle it also has to be new and innovative! To get to the solution that solves a problem, we have to understand the problem in its entirety. Folks in the warehousing battlefield who are inclined to find a solution can very well start by understanding the basic dissimilarities between traditional and e-commerce logistics. In my opinion, e-commerce is threatening to throw traditional 3PL and warehousing players out of business because of the fundamental differences between traditional and e-commerce logistics. A cursory look at these differences asks for traditional warehousing companies to completely transform themselves and don a new avatar, where they will be able to cash-in on newer opportunities by serving multitudes of e-commerce sellers, marketplaces, and other related businesses. It just needs a change in outlook on the part of warehousing players and they can very well turn their biggest challenge yet in one of their biggest business opportunities ever!
The Solution That Can Change Warehousing Forever!
Brick to click! Yes, it’s just this. E-commerce used technology as its base to disrupt retail. Warehousing can do this too and metamorphose itself into a service that can fulfill all warehousing needs of online sellers, marketplaces, and big brands.
But, how is it possible… do you ask? Well, the solution lies in technology intensive and robust SaaS products such as Anchanto-powered eWMS that can seamlessly transform a Warehouse Management System (WMS) into an e-commerce WMS! Currently, traditional warehouses cannot serve any e-commerce related business because their business model and processes are fundamentally different than what e-commerce demands. Systematic technology intervention can bridge the gap seamlessly and ready these traditional warehouses to serve all e-commerce businesses.
What’s in It for Warehousing?
Plenty! An in-depth study of the current scenario requires a holistic software solution that not only negates the challenge but also focuses on business generation and ultimately leads to robust bottom lines for warehouses.
A transformational eWMS works on many fronts and preps a WMS to be completely e-commerce ready. The best part is that with eWMS, warehouses do not have to invest significant sums in hardware because the software pretty much takes care of all its nagging problems and streamlines processes and opens up new business streams all by itself.
Warehouses should go for an e-commerce WMS that is already integrated with multiple leading online marketplaces. This is a huge differentiator because integration with even a single online marketplace is complex, challenging, cost-intensive, and time-consuming. By signing-up on an eWMS that is already integrated, warehouses save huge amount of time and cost required for integration with marketplaces. Also, more the readymade marketplace integrations that the eWMS has, the better it is for warehouses. This is because by getting such eWMS, a warehouse converts all online marketplaces with which the eWMS is integrated into its customers and gets ready to serve them from day one. Thus, integration with an eWMS changes the business model of warehouses to suit current e-commerce business requirements and helps them to grow exponentially even with the same assets.
Another important feature of the eWMS software which warehouses must insist to have is 3PL integration. This is because integration with 3PLs completely changes the outbound processing of shipments at warehouses. It also enables warehouses to seamlessly print shipping labels and add to their revenue stream. Hence, an eWMS that has ready integrations with leading 3PL players plays a crucial role for warehouses in milking the e-commerce boom. This feature also drastically reduces manual intervention and errors and equips warehouses for last-mile delivery services, making it a lucrative business partner for online sellers, marketplaces, and logistics players.
Apart from integrations with marketplaces and 3PL players, the best e-commerce WMS offers many other benefits that warehouses should not ignore. When a warehouse signs-up with such an eWMS, it becomes a part of a “networked” logistics business community. The biggest benefit of being a part of such a network is twofold: it helps warehouses in finding new customers and makes it easy for new customers to find an e-commerce compatible warehouse. Not only this, such a network also provides a whole network of other e-warehouses, consolidators, and customs and freight forwarders. Also, warehouses open up new ways of revenue generation by charging their customers for various services including storing products, printing shipping labels, and processing outbound shipments.
All in all, getting e-commerce ready with an eWMS can completely alter the business landscape for warehouses. They can not only find a way to survive in the new era, but also seamlessly create a robust platform for growth and business continuity through a strong network of global partners.