Globally, the third-party logistics (3PL) business is booming, thanks to the escalating rise of eCommerce. In the next 5 years, it’s predicted that the market for 3PL will be worth more than £1,100bn (1). And with the opportunity that presents, 3PL businesses are bound to face operational challenges.
If you work in the industry, you’ll know that these will range from storage issues through to packaging bottlenecks, rising labour costs and even service diversification. So, how can you prepare your 3PL business for this future opportunity?
Maximise your storage space
The rapid expansion of the eCommerce market and in turn 3PL means warehouse space is at a premium. There’s simply not enough to go around! In fact, it’s expected that upwards of two million square feet of warehousing will be built this year (2).
So, you may consider investing in new warehouse space, but financially, this might not be viable or practical. Therefore, why not outsource your storage needs?
Businesses, like ours, can offer stock holding. Here at Network, we can manage your packaging stocks. We drip feed in only what you need – saving you space and improving your cash flow.
Upgrade your packing equipment
As demand for efficient 3PL services grows, you need to make sure your operation can cope. If you’re picking and packing for eCommerce, you should consider automating certain parts of your packing process – such as boxing or bagging. Another practical consideration would be investing in labelling systems or effective pallet wrapping equipment if your business also offers repacking services.
If you really want to step ahead, looking at Robotic Fulfilment Vehicles and Smart Material Handling Equipment can help you manage picking & autonomously fulfil orders (3).
Making investments in technology now will future-proof your operation for several years. In addition, efficient packaging equipment can help you reduce labour costs and increase productivity – helping you create an optimal supply chain.
Prepare with delivery-proof packaging
Is the packaging you’re using fit for your delivery methods? As your 3PL business develops and expands, you’ll need to make sure your packaging keeps up.
For example, if you win a contract that involves exporting, you’ll require packaging that will survive the journey and protect the products you’re packing. You’d also need to be aware of any packaging requirements or regulations in destination countries.
Another thing you should consider is the delivery method. Technological advances mean packaging may need to weather drone deliveries, as well as more traditional click and collect, drop boxes and regular postal deliveries.
Specialise to survive
If you’re a smaller or independent 3PL business, you might not be able to compete with logistics giants in terms of price, reach or market share. However, providing niche or specialist services could set you apart.
In this instance, if you choose to specialise, you’ll need packaging to suit. This could be packaging to match a specific commodity or region or working with a packaging supplier who is as flexible as you.
We can support you with intelligent packaging solutions for 3PL
At Network Packaging, our Smartpack team is dedicated to working with 3Pl business like yours. Book an appointment to find out how we can help you future-proof your 3PL business with intelligent packaging solutions. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or complete our contact form today.