Blog postsFebruary 28, 2017

Inventory Overflow “How-To” Guide for Shippers

Karl Siebrecht, Co-founder & CEO, FLEXE

Seasonal inventory peaks. Expanding to new markets. Product launches. Sometimes you need more warehouse space. But that doesn’t mean you should have to source space and invest in long-term leases. That would be expensive, tie up valuable capital, and leave you with more space than you need.

Instead, with on-demand warehousing from FLEXE, you gain a network of vetted professional warehouse providers nationwide that have room for your inventory. There’s no lease, no long-term commitments—just the space you need when and where you need it.

We’ve put together a “how-to” guide for shippers interested in solving their inventory overflow challenges.

In our guide, you can:

  • See what it takes to get up and running with FLEXE Inventory Overflow services
  • Learn about one-and-done legal contracts
  • Find out how to get the most out of your FLEXE network
  • Discover that FLEXE is the right solution for you

1. On-demand warehousing 101

You need warehouse space

When your warehouse(s) is over capacity and in need of extra space, FLEXE will help you find short- or long-term warehousing solutions. You join our network and we connect you with the right warehouse operators.

Warehouse partners are searchable by location and need

Warehouse operators with extra space list their services on our online marketplace. You simply enter your specific needs (space, capabilities, and location) and search the database for a match. You can also give us a call and we will do the search for you.

FLEXE connects you with the right partners

Once a match has been made, we’ll work with both parties to ensure it’s a good fit and successful partnership. You get the space you need—when and where you need it.

2. Getting started with FLEXE

Step 1: Connect with the FLEXE team

Give us a call and we’ll talk through all of your options. Together, we’ll identify if FLEXE can help solve your overflow challenges and determine the best path forward.

Step 2: Identify and define project scope

We work with you to understand the full scope of your needs—identifying both operational and technology requirements. We then use this information to find you the right warehouse partner.

Step 3: Find and select your warehouse partner(s)

We start by identifying a handful of “best-fit” partners based on location, service capabilities, and project fit. Then we send your project to bid within that network. You are notified of which potential partners accept your bid and we work with you to make the decision.

Step 4: Get the teams trained

We train relevant personnel on each side how to use the technology, so the project runs smoothly from start to finish.

Step 5: Go live

We develop a project plan, identify key team members, and conduct pre- and post-go-live monitoring. We have an operations team and project management process to make sure the implementation is successful. We then monitor the project before and after to ensure the highest level of operational performance.

3. One-and-done legal contracts

One contract, as many providers as you need

Through FLEXE’s contracting process, you and the warehouse partners sign and acknowledge the same set of terms and conditions. Once you have gone through FLEXE’s one-time, up-front contracting process, you are free to do business and transact with any and all providers within the FLEXE marketplace.

Manage contracts online

We aim to take the never-ending back and forth of redlines out of the equation. All contracts are managed and reviewed through our online portal, and can be securely signed and accepted with the click of a button. Scope and pricing exhibits are managed at the reservation-level, and get reviewed by both parties online before agreeing to move forward with live operations.

4. The FLEXE technology platform

Cloud-based, no hassle

The FLEXE platform is cloud-based—no subscriptions, no software to download. Access your dashboard with a simple login. With an intuitive interface, it’s easy to get started and easy to use.

One platform, multiple partners

Manage multiple warehouse partners in varying locations from a single dashboard. The entire network is connected and standardized through the same “WMS lite” platform—giving you total visibility into your inventory and operations across all of the partners with whom you’re working.

Automated tracking and billing

Automated tracking and billing makes it easier to manage pick-ups, deliveries, and operations. All billing is handled through our platform and all your inventory details and history can be seen online, in real time.

5. Leverage the FLEXE network

Make overflow challenges a thing of the past

Once you’re set up in the FLEXE network, it’s fast and easy to solve immediate and future overflow challenges. Better manage and plan for peak seasons by leveraging the FLEXE team and our network of warehouse partners.

Add fulfillment centers

If implementing your own fulfillment centers is a part of your strategy, you can use our network of fulfillment partners to reduce shipping times and costs, test new markets, accommodate special product promotions, or test same-day delivery—all without sacrificing any long-term capital commitments.

Manage returns

Returns happen. Once an item is returned to the warehouse, operators can easily mark the item as returned in the application, send it for repackaging, and restock it in the inventory to be sold.

Become a supplier

Because each party agrees to the same terms and conditions upon joining the FLEXE network, it’s easy to become a supplier as well. Take advantage of our network when your business has space available to generate revenue on otherwise dead capital.

Keep in touch with FLEXE

Let us know how you’re doing and keep us aware of upcoming peaks and valleys. By staying in touch regularly and keeping us informed, our team is better equipped to offer suggestions and help you plan for future needs.

6. See how others do it

A fully integrated network

One of the world’s largest consumer product goods companies used on-demand warehousing to build a national network of warehouse partners. The company can add capacity instantly—anywhere across the country—and manage all its warehouses and track its inventory from a single dashboard. Overflow problems used to take one to two months to solve. Now, they take two weeks.

  • Overflow problems can be solved in two weeks
  • Supply chain management is streamlined with one dashboard and a single point of contact
  • A proactive and fully integrated warehouse network has resulted in significant savings

Swift solutions for Ace Hardware

One of the world’s largest hardware retailers solved an urgent and costly overflow problem in two days with on-demand warehousing. They saved $30K/day in detention fees by solving the problem fast and getting product moving immediately.

  • Problem solved in two days
  • Saved $30K/day in port detention fees
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