How 3PLs Can Prepare with Batch Printing

In the world of logistics, there is always a looming concern for most third-party logistics (3PL) warehouse owner/operators, “Are things about to get busier?” Because it’s hard to correctly assess the entire market perfectly, that leads to unexpected scenarios where a spike in demand for goods occurs, and it’s up to the supply chain to carry the burden. So the few times when you do know a busy season is coming, it’s imperative to make sure your warehouse has made preparations to handle the surge in order volume.

You might ask, why are we talking about peak season in May? Not to sound to ominous, but peak season is coming. It’s getting earlier and earlier every year, so make sure your 3PL is prepared before the rush to better handle it when it comes.

So how can 3PLs prepare?

There are many ways to handle peak season, but the area we’ll focus on today is batch printing for high volume warehouses. One of the most overlooked areas of 3PL operations, but one of the most important as well.

What is High Volume Label Printing?

A business is said to be using high-volume label printing if they print upwards of 300 labels/day. While primarily for B2C goods, it often applies to 3PLs who focus on ecommerce or omnichannel fulfillment.

In order to support high order volumes, a good warehouse management system (WMS) or order management system (OMS) is required. A good WMS/OMS can handle the following:

  • Printing large batches of shipping labels all at once to save time printing.
  • Integrating with multiple shipping carriers to allow rate shopping to find the lowest price.
  • Managing orders that enable warehouses to prepare orders and consolidate packages for shipment.
  • Sending packages through Amazon Buy Label Printing and integrate with their system to quickly process orders and meet the two-day shipping Prime requirements set forth by Amazon.

What Batch Printing Can Do For 3PLs

In 2020, when total order volume rose 46%, warehouses focused on ecommerce and omnichannel fulfillment were sending out packages at a record pace. In order to capitalize on this wave of industry growth, many 3PLs that hadn’t traditionally done omnichannel fulfillment diversified to take on new customers and expand their warehouse offering. But because they hadn’t done ecommerce or omnichannel fulfillment in the past, they struggled to keep up with the orders coming in.
That’s where batch printing came in to assist. Speed, cost savings, and accuracy (when used with a proper WMS) were the three main benefits of batch printing, and have helped many 3PLs scale during that dynamic growth period. To go a little bit deeper:

Labels Printing Speed: When working in a small team, print jobs can be a timely endeavor, and printing them all at once in batches can allow workers to focus on one task at a time instead of switching back and forth between tasks. The Small Parcel Suite from 3PL Central can create print jobs of up to 1,000 labels in minutes, saving lots of time for the warehouse.

Cost Reduction: Another benefit of using batch printing through a proper WMS is that the system is integrated with carriers, so you can always find the lowest price to ship a package. For the high-volume warehouse shipping out hundreds, or even thousands of packages each day, the savings from instantly finding the cheapest shipping option saves thousands, if not tens of thousands each month.

Order Accuracy: The average cost of a mis-pick is $22. By standardizing the process of packing in batches, and then checking the orders through a WMS, user error drops significantly, and when done correctly, can give 100% order accuracy.

Batch Printing and Peak Season Conclusion

Peak season is just around the corner. Just like last year and the years before, those warehouses taking on more and more ecommerce fulfillment jobs might be in a little over their head. Fortunately, there is help. With the Small Parcel Suite from 3PL Central, your WMS can handle all the functions needed for batch printing and creating an efficient high-volume warehouse. Talk to an expert to find out how to save your 3PL time and money while also helping your warehouse scale this peak season. Request a demo of the Small Parcel Suite to get started.

-Written by Daniel Zimmerman

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