The Cure for Seasonal Blues

Many people will choose where they live based on the beautiful nature of the seasons changing. This change might provide them opportunity to enjoy hot sunshine on the one hand and fresh powder-driven skiing on the other. In fact, it seems as though most people enjoy the changes of the seasons.

Unless you run a retail supply chain. In that case, the changing of the seasons can often make you feel the blues – dreading the change from when everything feels right and sunny to when everything is gray and harder than usual.

Why does this happen? Because seasonality intrudes on our well-laid supply chain plans. What happens when you need to account for millions of Halloween masks that needs to storage for a month ahead of time and a place to go when the holiday is over? What happens as warehouses overflow in anticipation of seemingly longer and longer holiday shopping seasons? And just when you get things right, where do you put all those notebooks, pencils, new clothes and everything else that drives back-to-school shopping?

Supply chains structured for stable, transparent and efficient warehousing become easily thwarted by these simple changes of seasons and the challenges they bring. The answer is not as simple as just building more warehouse space. That takes time, fixed costs and a long-term commitment. What if you only need that space for a month or two every year? It also isn’t as easy as giving the problem to your 3PL – more often than not, they aren’t equipped for small, short-time frame problems like these. The reality is that, at least until recently, these fixed warehousing costs are a constant, and the only question is who will bear them – the goods owner or the 3PL?

These challenges have led many supply chain managers to explore a new concept called On-Demand Warehousing. It represents a solution that allows them to gain warehousing space as they need it, then release it without long term commitments. Unlike many other solutions in today’s technology-driven supply chains, it doesn’t require extra investment in new hardware or software. Supply chain managers simply search for where they need space, negotiate rates and details and then use that same browser view reporting on the process. The whole process is on-demand: no long-term investments in new leases, no commitment to expensive technologies and no changing the fundamental processes within their current supply chain infrastructure.

On-demand warehousing opens up a world of possibilities for supply chain managers singing the seasonal blues. They can now contract for short-term warehousing space to augment their current footprint when, where and how they need it. The approach saves money, due to short commitments and ease of set-up. On-demand warehousing expands reach – allowing for good to be stored closer to retail outlets beyond existing footprints. Finally, on-demand warehousing saves time – possibly the most important asset of all. It can be set up at the last minute, it takes only moments to arrange and it is easy to change and adapt as your needs change.

The changing of the seasons is a glorious thing. Now, even for supply chain managers as well. Want to learn more about On Demand Warehousing?

// from Jordan Furdock at Net-Results