Lean on a 3PL to avoid warehouse staffing challenges

For many shippers and manufacturers, warehouse staffing has long been a major supply chain challenge. This challenge has been complicated even further by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it may also be a challenge that you no longer need to deal with. In this article, we’ll examine 4 labor-related benefits that come with entrusting your warehousing operations to a third-party logistics provider (3PL).

How 3PLs can help with warehouse staffing

bigstock-High-angle-view-of-diverse-war-313572391     When you partner with a 3PL for warehousing and distribution services, there are many operations that move from your plate to that of your 3PL partner. As such, the staffing challenges that come along with those operations become your 3PL’s responsibility, not yours. Here are 4 benefits of this outsourcing arrangement.

1) You pay only for the labor you require. When you own and operate a warehouse yourself, you’re responsible for staffing that warehouse. You’re then paying for a set amount of labor whether your volumes are high or low. This can result in unnecessarily high labor costs during slow periods.

When you outsource warehousing operations to a 3PL in a shared warehousing model, however, you’re paying only for the space and services (labor included) your operation actually requires. You’ll pay more in high-volume periods than you will in low-volume periods, and you’ll never pay for labor when it’s not actually performing work on your behalf.

2) 3PLs can scale up to meet demand. In addition to the normal workload ebb and flow described above, your 3PL will likely have a much easier time scaling up for a large project or high-volume period than you will on your own. There are two reasons for this:

  • 3PLs can pull resources from other operations. Many 3PLs operate several warehouses, sometimes near each other. When necessary, the 3PL can simply pull its associates from another warehouse – or another operation within the same warehouse – to assist with the large project. This is especially helpful as no time is wasted in recruiting or training new associates.
  • 3PLs have close relationships with temporary agencies. When in-house resources won’t meet volume demands, 3PLs can lean on their temporary-labor-agency partners to fill in the gaps. 3PLs often have longstanding relationships with these agencies and work with them often to bring in quality associates that can get the job done.

3) 3PLs can attract, vet and train associates. In the current economy, associates can be hard to come by. In many markets, there is very high competition for a somewhat limited labor pool. As such, attracting and hiring new associates can tie up the time and resources of your operation.

For 3PLs, however, recruitment is an essential part doing business, with efforts ongoing throughout the year. When you partner with a 3PL provider, you no longer deal with recruitment and the background checks and training that go along with onboarding.

At Kanban Logistics, for instance, our operations are ISO-9001- and AS9100D-certified, which means that there are standardized vetting and training programs that we must adhere to for each new employee. Additional safety and sanitation practices (and related training) have also been implemented in the wake of COVID-19. Such protocols give you peace of mind that, not only is your 3PL handling recruitment, it’s ensuring that only qualified, well-trained individuals handle your supply chain operations.

4) 3PLs have the operational breadth to retain employees. While it’s hard enough to attract and hire new employees, retaining their services can often be an even bigger headache. A big part of this headache stems from employers having to release associates during slow periods. These companies simply can’t afford to keep associates on when there isn’t enough work to go around, and high-quality employees are let go due to financial constraints.

Most 3PLs, however, offer an array of logistics services and associates are often cross trained to perform many different tasks for different customers within the operation. So, when you partner with a 3PL, you won’t lose the qualified staff that works on your business when you hit a slow period. Those employees will simply be reassigned until your volumes warrant their involvement again.

Lean on Kanban Logistics and leave your warehouse staffing challenges behind

Located in Eastern North Carolina – just minutes from I-95 exactly between Boston and Miami  – Kanban Logistics’ warehousing campuses provide over 1 million square feet of prime logistics space that is staffed by true logistics professionals, many of whom have been with Kanban for decades. Our staffing operations ensure adequate coverage for all our services, while our standardized training protocols ensure that only qualified associates handle your business. Contact us today to learn more about the advantages of working with a true 3PL partner.