It was a busy time in Denver last week as Pierbridge and Microlistics teamed up at the Gartner Supply Chain Planning Summit to showcase their “Pick, Pack, Parcel” solution.
Well, as 3PLs grapple with the challenge of booming eCommerce shipping, they have increasingly turned to omnichannel shipping strategies across the supply chain. One strategy gaining a hold is to create a warehouse-in-a-warehouse.
The warehouse-in-a-warehouse is a dedicated area exclusively for eCommerce picking, packing, and parcel shipping [ah, so that’s Pick, Pack, Parcel]. Within this area, everything needed to pick an order, pack a carton, and manage the parcel shipment is undertaken while still being integrated with existing systems for inventory, order management, and accounting. This reduces the investment necessary to adapt to the fulfillment needs of individual eCommerce merchants while also providing scalability as the business grows. And with the continuing expansion of eCommerce, growth is key.
U.S. consumers are expected to spend $586.92 billion on eCommerce in a jump of 14.0 percent compared to 2018, according to eMarketer’s Global Ecommerce Report for 2019.
Pick, Pack, Parcel to Profits
While warehouse-in-a-warehouse isn’t the only way to incorporate an omnichannel approach, it is a 3PL strategy that recognizes that one size does not fit all. Fulfillment services need to support the brand promises eCommerce merchants make to their customers. Flexibility is the key. It requires a federated architecture that recognizes and enables multiple workflows, logistics requirements, and delivery options.
- Pick multiple orders by multiple users, at the same time
- Enable crossdocking to increase the order to ship cycle times
- Leverage system-generated directed travel paths to ensure the shortest, most efficient path through a warehouse to save travel time and burnout of employees and equipment
- Implement system-generated and directed real-time replenishments
- Scan product barcodes and print labels in real time for maximum accuracy
- Generate carton selection and packing instructions that help cut DIM fees from shipping costs and reduce damage of products
- Use system-generated advanced packing list and customer labels
- Verify product weight to expected weights in WMS to ensure accuracy of shipment
- Rate shop for the most cost-effective shipping method and transit time across a multi-carrier network of transport providers including LTL, parcel carriers, couriers, and specialty carriers
- Print vendor compliant labels, including return labels
- Maintain complete visibility and traceability of orders in transit
- Advance Shipping Notice (ASN) capabilities of order shipment details
Getting into the eCommerce game—or even just ramping up yours—doesn’t need to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and take several months. The right plan and combination of software such as Microlistics and Transtream Parcel TMS can position eCommerce shippers to reap the rewards of a warehouse-in-a-warehouse as easily as Pick, Pack, Parcel.