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Posts Tagged ‘Warehouse’

The Ultimate Guide to 3PL Inventory Management

Is your business growing too quickly? While your business growing fast might seem like a good thing, you could be left with burnt-out employees, frustrated supply chain partners, and disgruntled customers.

To avoid these problems, you need a solution that works. 3PL inventory management can help you meet your growth expectations.

Third-party warehouses entail a lot of different services. Keep reading to learn more.

What Is 3PL Inventory Management?

Inventory can sit in a warehouse and keep your company’s cash tied up. Businesses need to fulfill product demand without overstocking warehouses.

3PL inventory management helps you identify what products you need to order and when. They can monitor the inventory you order from when they are purchased to when they are sold to customers.

3PL software can also help with digital inventory management systems so that you can keep an eye on inventory levels as well.

How Do 3PL Inventory Management Solutions Work?

A 3PL inventory management system involves integrated software solutions designed to manage operations, including:

  • Inventory control
  • Order fulfillment
  • Shipment
  • Invoicing
  • Reporting

The software is data functional by providing your business with the analytics tools you need to optimize operations and improve your customer service.

Let’s dive deeper into the key functions of inventory management systems:

Inventory Control

A 3PL software solution will include data on stock levels, goods tracking, and reordering capabilities. These features ensure that your products are efficiently distributed.

Because your stock levels remain in a good place, you won’t be overstocking which will save you money.

Order Fulfillment

manual order fulfillment process is almost unheard of these days. If you can afford 3PL warehouse management and software, say goodbye to manual operations.

A 3PL system automates the order fulfillment process from beginning to end. It includes functionalities like automated packing and barcode scanning as well.

Reporting

For businesses, the most important step in warehouse management might be reporting. A 3PL system provides real-time insights into your inventory performance so that you can identify and address issues.

Customer service levels, delivery time, and product availability are just some of the things you can track.

Integration

If you already use accounting, ERP, or e-commerce software solutions, a 3PL warehouse management system can integrate into them. This eliminates the need for manual entry and makes it easy to continue using other software programs.

With an integrated system, you’ll improve how accurate your data is across the board.

3PL Inventory Management Best Practices

Managing inventory should not be a lackadaisical process. If you choose 3PL inventory management services, it’s important to follow best practices for operational efficiency. Best practices include:

  • Automated replenishment
  • Accurate forecasting
  • Effective warehouse layout
  • Real-time inventory tracking

Automated replenishment can help with optimal inventory levels to minimize the risk of excess inventory and stockouts. Accurate forecasting also helps with inventory levels by reducing holding costs and improving order fulfillment.

Don’t underestimate the effects of an efficient warehouse layout either. A great layout improves overall warehouse operations by reducing handling time and picking efficiency.

Real-time inventory tracking uses barcode scanning to ensure optimal inventory turnover by preventing stockouts and overstock situations.

Benefits of a 3PL Warehouse

Business management is a time-consuming process so don’t add the stress of inventory management to your to-do list as well. 3PLs can take on the responsibilities of cycle counts, inventory reporting, labeling, and more.

In addition to these services, there are major benefits you can experience when you work with a 3PL warehouse:

Speed and Accuracy

Consumers demand speed and accuracy from the businesses they buy from. Hiring a 3PL warehouse that specializes in these processes can help a growing business that doesn’t have the infrastructure needed to take on these operations.

This type of warehouse will use 3PL software and technology to manage inventory, automate routine tasks, and provide your business with visibility into the process. All of these things drive value and efficiency.

Regulatory Navigation

Another reason to hire third-party warehouses is for regulatory navigation. If your business products are controlled by various rules and regulations, your warehousing needs to accommodate them.

For example, some products that have regulations regarding storage are:

Without the right accommodations, the inventory and your business will be in jeopardy.

Industry Expertise

A 3PL will offer an array of expertise because of their years of industry experience. They can combine several warehousing services under one roof.

A great 3PL service will be able to:

  • Negotiate lower shipping rates
  • Manage materials
  • Increase picking and packing efficiency

Although these are things you might think you can do on your own, it is more cost-effective to hire 3PL services. You save even more money if you outsource your 3PL warehousing to China.

B2B and B2C Management

A 3PL system should be able to manage B2B and B2C products through multi-channel distribution.

With a system like this in place, you won’t face duplicates of inventory that could throw your supply and counting cycle off track.

Not only will this save your business money, but you can lower your warehouse footprint. The days of needing to account for inventory surprises will be over.

Custom Solutions

A great 3PL warehouse recognizes that all businesses are different and require custom solutions to succeed. When you choose a 3PL service, make sure they provide all of the services you need.

Your agreement could combine cross docking, dryage, transportation, warehousing, etc.

An integrated and customizable approach enables your warehouse to pull any strings necessary to efficiently move your products to the right location.

Is 3PL Inventory Management Right for Your Business?

3PL inventory management is a great option for growing businesses that want to prevent overstocking and low inventory levels.

Choosing a reputable and experienced 3PL warehouse in China is essential to the success of third-party involvement.

Our British-owned and managed company,  Shield Works, offers a wide range of services, including 3PL inventory management in China. With 16 years of China-based manufacturing experience, we’re equipped to help businesses like yours.

Contact the pros at Shield Works today to get started.

international warehouse

What Are the Benefits of an International Warehouse in China?

Did you know that China’s industrial output rose by over 9% last year? With low labor costs and great infrastructure, it remains the manufacturing hub of the world. So how can you benefit by conducting business in China?

If you are finding warehousing increasingly costly and hard to manage, then this country could have the answers. Read on as we discuss the benefits of an international warehouse in China.  

Global E-commerce Is Competitive

If you want to access a global e-commerce audience, you have to be prepared to work for it. Whatever your product is, you will have numerous competitors, many of whom sell the same items. That means you need to take every advantage you can to get a competitive edge. 

Having a new warehouse service in China lets you speed up your fulfillment process. You can reach audiences in the far east and Australia much quicker than you would do by posting from the US. You also get the chance to cut down on costs, which you can pass on to the consumer or absorb as profit. 

Efficient Processes

There are numerous different challenges when it comes to warehousing. To deliver the most efficient service, you need to manage inventory, fulfillment, and transportation. Doing them properly requires organization, time, and the hiring of a large team. 

By outsourcing to an international warehouse in China, you relinquish these jobs to a third party. You won’t have to manage a workforce or juggle your own team with those handling logistics. Instead, it will all be done for you.

All of this improves the efficiency of you and your team. You can redeploy workers to perform other tasks, and you can concentrate on what really matters: Getting leads and improving conversions.  

Cost and Profits

While you save a lot of time, the financial advantages should not be underestimated either. In the US and Europe, warehousing can cost a lot of money. Once you start paying for the space, you also need to hire the staff to operate it for you.

With this model, you don’t have these incurred costs. Instead, you have to pay the third party for their service, which will work out much cheaper.

In China, the cost of labor is lower, meaning these operations can be performed at a reduced price. Added to this is the fact that a lot of the shipping costs are lower, making it competitive to send items across the world.  

Access to Major Shipping Solutions

If you find shipping challenges to be a constant and recurring headache, then the right warehouse in China can help. By finding the correct one, you can have your products next door to one of the world’s major ports. 

These will often have both land and air routes close by as well, so a whole range of shipping options is accessible quickly. With 24-hour customs clearance as standard at most major ports, your items can be on the way to buyers in an instant. All of this provides a huge advantage when it comes to international trade. 

Easy to Scale Up

A time may come when you need to scale up. However, retail is a fickle business and what may be needed one year or season could drop the next. If you invest in space and staff, once in place, you are left with the ongoing costs. 

It also takes time to put these things in place. If you want to do it fast and with minimum costs, a warehouse in China is a viable solution. The warehouse management will inform you of any leftover products lying in your inventory, so you are not paying for space housed with products that are not converting.

If you ever need to scale back the business, this works in the same way. You can reduce the space and stock you need without cost. 

Human Resources

The last few years have seen what has come to be known as the great resignation. For businesses, this has made it hard to attract and retain employees in a wide range of industries. This process can be long, involving advertising, interviewing, and then the time of settling a new employee into the job. 

China has human resources in abundance. There is a large population who are always looking for work, especially in the warehousing sector. Manpower is easy to hire and lets you scale up much more efficiently, without the long processes. 

For specialist jobs, these people will already be on hand. You won’t have to train people or even put them through courses and certifications. Instead, the company will have what is needed at its disposal. 

Networking and Experience

Once you have a warehousing company, you may need other contacts. It could be a manufacturer, or you may want access to other foreign trade zones. When you don’t speak the language and understand the culture, this can be extremely hard, and making the step is a huge financial risk. 

The operators of warehouses will have numerous contacts. You will be able to ask their advice on who to use and, crucially, trust. As well as this, you can tap into their expertise and knowledge on everything from handling to shipping. 

Finding an International Warehouse

Now you know the benefits of an international warehouse in China, you just need to find one. There are several companies online and middlemen who will help you navigate the cultural and language gaps. 

If you need precision engineering, manufacturing, or warehousing in China, then Shield Works should be your first stop. We can provide a range of solutions, lowering your costs and improving efficiency. Contact us to discuss your needs and let our expert staff begin increasing your company’s efficiency.