According to the article, A Mobile Cure for the Warehouse Blues in Inbound Logistics‘ September issue, the e-commerce market grew 17 percent over the past five years, and shows no signs of slowing down. With this growing trend, supply chains are faced with the question, “What to do with e-fulfillment operations?
For many organizations outsourcing e-fulfillment is an option that can have huge benefits, such as:
- Improved expertise: Working with e-fulfillment experts allows organizations to focus on their core competencies. Outsourcing e-fulfillment allows businesses to focus on developing products, markets, obtain new customers and retaining customers.
- Managing order volume fluctuations: “Outsourcing allows businesses to easily scale operations to handle spikes and lulls ins order volume due to seasonality or volatile economic conditions.”
- Better Technology: Outsourcing e-fulfillment allows merchants access to complicated and expensive technology that improves order accuracy, visibility and processing efficiencies.
- Heat/Data/EDI Mapping
- Propriety Optimization
- Warehouse Management System
- Transportation Management System
Once an organization has decided outsourcing is right way to go, finding the right 3PL is the next step. When a business is looking for an e-fulfillment provider they must consider the 3PL’s geographic location, workforce availability, economic support and business climate.
So where should companies outsource their e-fulfillment? According to 3PL Wire, Missouri is the best state for manufacturing and logistics for several reasons:
- Geographic Location:
- 18 Interstates including: I-44, I-64, I-70, I-29, I-35, I-55, I-435, I-645, I-470, I-270 and I-170
- Five Class I railroads: Burlington Northern and Santa Fe, Kansas City Southern Railway, Norfolk Southern, Union Pacific and CSX Transportation
- 13 public and one regional port authorities on the Missouri River and the Mississippi River
- 131 airports serve Missouri
- Eight major intermodal facilities
- Workforce Availability:
- Missouri State, The University of Missouri and St. Louis University all have bachelor’s and in some cases, master’s degree programs in logistics or supply chain management.
- Missouri Works is run as a statewide training program that provides training resources and assistance to businesses in order to help them cut training costs and boost productivity.
- Missouri is the 18th most populous state in the United States and one of the largest in the Midwest.
- Economic Support:
- Missouri has low personal property tax and no inventory tax.
- Tax Foundation ranks Missouri the seventh best state in terms of corporate taxes.
- Business Climate:
- Forbes magazine ranks Missouri as the ninth best business environment in the country.
- The Saint Louis Regional Chamber is dedicated to making the area one of the top most prosperous regions in the United States.
- Missouri offers locally designated enterprise zones and the capability for foreign trade zone designation.
The quicker products get to customers, the quicker they consume it and reorder it. Fast shipping simply reduces customer service issues. e-fulfilling out of Missouri ensures products are delivered around the country in a timely manner, which reduces customers negative feedback toward brands.
Not matter what, “retailers have to consider the e-fulfillment promise they are making. If they keep their promise, they lower the order abandonment ratio and return rate. To support their promise, companies must have the technology and infrastructure in place to ensure sufficient response time between when the customer places an order and when the fulfillment center dispatches it.”
FW Warehousing is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri with Midwest warehouse distribution centers in Kansas City, Indianapolis and St. Louis totaling more than four million square feet. Founded in 1949 with a focus on food-grade storage, FW later broadened its services to include contract warehousing, dry storage, hazardous material and chemical storage, temperature-controlled storage, product distribution and B2B and B2C fulfillment.
FW Warehousing has more than 50 years of experience in third-party 3PL logistics and has been ranked in the top 100 Third Party Logistic Companies in the country by Inbound Logistics magazine.
1. Evaluating Ecommerce Order Fulfillment; 6 Factors (Web Marketing Today) http://webmarketingtoday.com/articles/evaluating-ecomm
2. Third Party Logistics News – 3PL wire (best state for manufacturing and logistics – Missouri) http://www/3PLwire.com/2008/07/31/best-state-for-manufacturing-and-logistics-missouri/
3. Ecommerce DC Site Selection: Connecting the Dots (Inbound Logistics) http://www.inboundlogistics.com/cms/article/e-commerce-dc-site-selection-connecting-the-dots/