Every step of modern business hinges on having an e-commerce fulfillment center you can trust. Your operations on the customer-facing side rely on clear inventory insights and a seamless delivery process. Your supplier relationships depend on you having insight into your inventory and being able to place accurate orders.
But many 3PLs have disjointed processes across multiple portals and lack 24/7, real-time insight into every corner of the fulfillment process. According to Supply Chain Dive, approximately 60% of e-commerce sellers outsource fulfillment operations, but many of them are frustrated by poor customer service, lack of insight, and a feeling of losing control over their fulfillment processes.
The best fulfillment partners control every aspect of the fulfillment processes so you have more control over your inventory, and ultimately, more peace of mind about your operations.
What are End-to-End E-Commerce Fulfillment Centers?
Third-party logistics partners provide e-commerce companies with complete logistics management solutions so they don't have to worry about inventory and fulfillment. A core responsibility of 3PLs is end-to-end e-commerce fulfillment — that is, controlling every step of receiving inventory, managing warehousing requirements, tracking analytics, and completing order fulfillment.
However, not every 3PL will provide this turnkey service. Part of this is because they only offer partial services and specialize in just one aspect of fulfillment.
In other situations, companies might contract with other third-party providers, such as warehouse space owners or e-commerce cloud software providers, without handling every element in-house.
When your 3PL leases its warehouses and outsources tasks, your company is vulnerable to sudden policy changes and shortages. Also, partial services only give partial insight, and these services can't offer comprehensive control over the entire fulfillment process.
On the other hand, end-to-end e-commerce fulfillment centers and services provide omnichannel management of your inventory and ordering processes so every step is accounted for. This means you only need one point of contact for questions about everything from incoming inventory to customer shipping.
Your 3PL should manage all services internally in its own warehouses and on its own software so there's complete transparency.
Data, Doers, and Dock Doors
As part of our commitment to providing end-to-end fulfillment services at Smart Warehousing, we focus on three factors: our data, doers, and dock doors.
Our in-house personnel, software, and warehouse locations form the backbone of services you can trust to remain consistent and fully controllable to meet the needs of your changing business.
Data (Our Systems)
E-commerce fulfillment is just as much about software as it is about physical goods, real estate, and transportation. You need complete insight into real-time data, both on the supplier side and the customer side, to make the best decisions for your business's growth and stability.
That means you need a platform with 24/7 access to the status of orders, inventory shipments, warehousing metrics, and more. Our inventory management software is designed, owned, and updated entirely by our Smart Warehousing team.
We don't white-label or patch together other company's products (though our tools can integrate with your CRM solutions and hundreds of e-commerce plug-ins). Each of our clients uses a combination of our Smart Warehousing Information Management System (SWIMS) and Bubbles mobile software for real-time inventory insights.
You can see the movement of goods from point to point, be alerted when inventory levels are low, and get the reports you need so you can make SMART decisions to meet demand.
Doers (Our People)
Once you have the right software for your inventory, working with experts is the next vital part of partnering with a reliable 3PL.
However, with many fulfillment services, the relationship can feel opaque — you don't know who you're talking to from moment to moment, and you don't know how qualified they are to make decisions or take actions that impact your business.
At Smart Warehousing, we don't outsource. Every step of physically and virtually managing your inventory is managed by vetted employees that we trust. Our employees are trained on the best practices for inventory management, our software, and aspects of fulfillment services that guarantee both you and your own clients enjoy every aspect of order fulfillment.
Because we don't outsource, we design every step in our warehousing and fulfillment management practices to be efficient. Inventory orders will be received, processed, and safely stored away to your specifications quickly, and you'll have transparent records into every step of the process.
Dock Doors (Our Warehouses)
Lastly, control over the physical space where your inventory is stored matters. That's why we own our warehouses rather than renting or leasing warehouse space from other providers. This allows us to ensure that the space always complies with our high standards and is outfitted for the best possible inventory and fulfillment management.
We don't have to compromise or work with fourth-party service providers. The only people accessing our warehouses and moving inventory from step to step are Smart Warehousing employees. In fact, owning our own warehouses has been a critical step in making sure each of our locations is AIB certified with at least a minimum score of 900.
We're dedicated to providing excellent services along the three core tenets of our brand: data, doers, and dock doors. Each of these areas works together to ensure we have complete control over the fulfillment management process from start to finish — that’s our promise.
Work with Smart Warehousing for Consistent Control of the End-to-End Process
Choosing the right 3PL is a key decision for any e-commerce business. But when 3PLs work with other software providers, contract labor services, and a myriad of warehousing landlords, it's hard to know enough about that 3PL to trust in their services.