warehouse distribution services

A Complete Guide to Warehouse Distribution Services

During the pandemic, businesses everywhere struggled to keep up with consumer demands as supply chain issues created nightmare situations for everyone. The way people shop and buy merchandise changed dramatically as stores closed or had no inventory. E-commerce sales endured many of the same problems, but some of those businesses came through the past couple of years relatively unscathed while others failed. What was the difference?

In some cases, raw materials, labor, and shipping issues were minimized as the supply chain was short and workers remained available throughout the pandemic. Other business owners saw their source of materials or finished products cut off as international (and even domestic) production and shipping came to a grinding halt. Ecommerce business owners saw a dramatic increase in business as online shopping became the only real option for locating and buying many products. So, just how did those online companies manage to survive in such a hostile environment?

How E-Commerce Companies Thrived During the Pandemic

First, it’s important to note that not all e-commerce businesses experienced dramatic growth during the past couple of years. However, global online sales grew by almost 28 percent during 2020. At the same time, brick-and-mortar sales saw a slight decline as many businesses closed and others failed to draw shoppers afraid of being infected. 

In most instances, the organizations that thrived did so by keeping expenses low and finding ways to meet consumer needs quickly and efficiently. Of course, shipping delays plagued virtually all businesses, but how those businesses responded determined which ones saw growth and which ones floundered. 

Strategic details always make a difference, and companies that used third-party warehousing and distribution centers often generated profits even during the worst periods of the pandemic. Warehouse distribution centers provide efficient services for e-commerce businesses in a wide variety of niches. Those services proved to make the difference between generating a profit and losing money. So, how can a solid, established warehouse distribution service solve your warehousing needs?

Understanding E-commerce Warehouse Distribution Basics

Many e-commerce companies, especially those just starting out, don’t really understand how warehouse distribution services work and why they make life easier for e-commerce businesses everywhere. As a first step, it’s crucial to understand the scope of e-commerce warehouse management. 

Warehouse distribution services focus on handling all basic daily warehouse operations for client companies. That means they take care of all personnel issues, including hiring and training staff members. Warehousing experts track inventories for clients, handle all security issues, handle packaging and shipping, and work with clients to scale inventories to meet expected consumer demand. 

As you might expect, handling all the details related to inventory, staffing, real estate, and record keeping is demanding. If all the details aren’t handled properly, client companies may not see the profits they envision. That’s why it’s vitally important that business owners work with established warehouse distribution centers that already have significant experience working with e-commerce companies. 

Discover the Benefits of Working with Warehouse Distribution Services

Far too often, services make promises they can’t keep. However, there is no need to exaggerate the benefits of e-commerce businesses working with warehouse distribution services. The benefits are proven daily as companies of all sizes look at their bottom lines. Here are just a few ways e-commerce companies benefit when they use warehouse distribution services.

  • Fast Shipping. Customers everywhere now expect fast, courteous service when ordering products from an e-commerce business. Even during COVID-19 lockdowns, many distribution centers picked, packed, and shipped products quickly.
  • Efficient, Accurate Tracking of Products. Distribution services routinely work with numerous clients, which means all inventory must be properly organized within the warehouse. Modern distribution services have the experience and expertise to track your products and make sure all inventory is accounted for.
  • Shipping Services Reduce Stress for Clients. Operating an e-commerce business isn’t always easy, as there are countless details to address every day. When the responsibility for shipping products is removed from the equation, business owners have more time to devote to marketing and other profit-generating activities. 

Those are important benefits but still tend to be somewhat general in nature. E-commerce business owners know there is more involved once a customer hits the “Buy Now” key and places an order. 

Meeting Today’s Challenges Takes Teamwork

Warehouse distribution services operate in the background, and few customers ever know what the role of those services is. However, e-commerce business owners quickly get a feel for just how important these logistics services are. Here are just a few additional benefits e-commerce business owners discover when they work with warehouse distribution services. 

  • Automation Works. Distribution services use systems designed to speed up functions once an order is placed. The days of handling paperwork manually are gone. Today, virtually all documentation is computerized, which significantly reduces the odds of errors as the order is processed and shipped.
  • Shipping is Crafted to Meet Each Client Company’s Needs. Warehousing experts understand getting an order out the door is only part of the process. That order must then be shipped to the customer quickly and be in good condition when it’s delivered. The distribution services work with proven shippers who have the experience and reputation that customers trust.
  • Scaling is Handled Flawlessly. Demand for specific products tends to vary from month to month or seasonally. Experienced warehouse distribution services understand those cycles and work with clients to ensure inventory levels are always where they need to be to meet consumer demands.
  • Quality Services Speed Up the Entire Process. Every order must be handled as quickly as possible to meet the expectations of today’s consumers. Next-day delivery is now common, which means customers won’t be satisfied if their order takes two or three weeks to arrive. That’s just one more reason e-commerce businesses are encouraged to work with shipping experts who already have experience meeting the needs of e-commerce business clients.

E-commerce businesses also compete with similar online businesses, which means moving orders quickly will be crucial for staying ahead of the competition. If you currently operate an e-commerce business or are starting one, take the time now to discuss the benefits of working with an established warehouse distribution service that understands the ins and outs of handling e-commerce orders.

Andrew Kirk

I am an experienced logistics and supply chain executive with over 15 years in the global end-to-end logistics field, including retail, direct sales, and B2B. I leverage strong relationship skills, a team-oriented management style, and a focus on talent development to drive results and lead change for our internal team and clients alike.