Q: What trends are you seeing with customers and their warehousing need?

A: We are seeing a larger number of existing and prospective customers looking for space in short time frames. They might be looking to outsource their warehousing at the end of an existing lease or they may have short-term warehousing needs. Customers do not want to sacrifice visibility, even for a short time frame, to their inventories while transitioning to a new warehouse. They do not want to incur higher costs of labor to track the inventory during the transition period or have a manual process while their product is in a short-term warehouse space.

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To find the right solutions to today's complex warehousing, real estate, and supply chain challenges, growing companies have three options: hire someone with the expertise you need; train someone on your staff; or enlist help from someone outside your company who already has the skills you need.

Shippers should consider seeking that outside help from a third-party logistics (3PL) provider—but only one that demonstrates the ability to truly understand your unique needs. To develop strategic solutions, 3PLs need to be subject matter experts in multiple areas. They must understand elements of the marketplace shippers don't have the resources or time to focus on.

For example, one critical area of expertise should be a deep understanding of the real estate market. In the past, a company could lay out its needs for a warehouse broker, then practically dictate both terms and price.

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Two of the most common concerns we hear from new clients and prospective customers are “loss of visibility” and the cost associated with technology solutions by outsourcing logistics. Many 3PLs offer a wide variety of technology tools to enhance visibility, but they often come loaded with a fairly steep price tag and long lead times to implementation. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Just what do we mean by visibility? When companies outsource warehousing, packaging, fulfillment and/or transportation, they want assurance that they will be able to virtually monitor their product after it leaves their facilities.

While there are many factors to consider from the operational and service delivery perspective, there are just as many from the technology perspective, especially when it comes to visibility and cost. Here are a few examples:

You can read the entire article here.