It’s easy to become hyper-focused on what you’re doing with your business, but it’s equally vital that you keep an ear to the ground about your competition.

Are they implementing new techniques that you should also be investing in or creating new ways to please customers that you’ve not yet imagined? There can be tough competition when it comes to retail sales and order fulfillment, but you don’t have to be left behind simply because your business is small or experiencing a slow, but controlled, growth.

The 3PL Game is Fierce

These days, it’s tough to compete with retailers who seem to be able to do everything in the blink of an eye.

Products ship faster to customers than ever before, often at no cost to them. It’s a popular draw for shoppers, to be sure, but it’s more than a consumer-side draw. Today, any company that’s worth their salt is shipping at break-neck speeds.

Their orders are more accurate and they arrive faster than ever before. If you haven’t updated your processes in a while, you may wonder how this is possible. It’s actually easier than you might think.

Try these tricks to stay ahead of the 3PL game this year:

  • Measure productivity in your warehouse. When you’re looking for data in a warehousing and distribution system, there’s not much you can’t measure. Although many companies and 3rd party logistics companies are trying to cut expenses and get more for their labor costs with the help of data, many are forgetting that it’s also important to measure productivity.Sure, maybe you’re spending more than you were a year ago, but is your team getting more done? Streamlining can have long-reaching effects, improving productivity is just one of many that are worth noting to give you a competitive edge.
  • Invest in efficiency. Years old warehouse management systems can track inventory and shipments, but they’re often not designed to help improve efficiency. In fact, clinging to old ways of doing things in the warehouse can hurt you.The evolution of order fulfillment over the last decade has also managed to spawn an evolution in warehouse efficiencies. What you knew worked two years ago has most likely been replaced with even better processes today, so it’s worth a look at the next trade show or in the latest industry publications.
  • Analyze your freight revenues. Freight is a big part of the order fulfillment package today. Shipping further means more costs and offering free shipping can eat even more of your budget. Careful analysis of your freight revenues can show you where you can improve quality and save money.Sometimes, it’s cheaper to spread your products across multiple warehouses, for example, since it can mean lower freight charges to the door of shoppers. If you don’t have your own facilities for this sort of operation, a 3rd party logistics company can both help analyze your data and to improve shipping speeds and costs.

Your competitors have access to the same kinds of technology, processes and workers that you do. There’s no reason they have to beat you at the 3PL game. Keep your eye on streamlining, data analysis and upcoming changes in your industry and you’ll do great.