Decentralize Your Supply Chain to Improve Efficiency

 

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Decentralizing your supply chain can drastically improve several parts of your online business.

It can provide flexibility, better decision making, and improved customer satisfaction.

ShipBob is an international 3PL that offers fulfillment solutions, so you can outsource logistics operations to the experts and focus on growing your business, saving you time and money in the long run.

We focus on improving fulfillment, warehousing and shipping processes by automating workflows and implementing advanced technology, which ultimately builds the infrastructure needed to streamline your brand’s ecommerce supply chain.

How to decentralize your supply chain with ShipBob

With ShipBob, you can decentralize your supply chain by outsourcing fulfillment and other logistics initiatives to us. 

Read on to learn how ShipBob works and how we fit into your brand’s internal ecosystem. 

1. Using multiple fulfillment centers

ShipBob offers multiple warehousing locations, so you can store inventory closest to your customers and launch into markets. By distributing your inventory, you can offer affordable shipping and faster last-mile delivery for customers across the globe.  

As you grow your business, partnering with one warehouse may not be enough for you. No matter where your customers live, they most likely expect orders to be delivered fast and affordably.

By storing inventory across ShipBob multiple fulfillments centers , you can make better decisions on where to store inventory based on demand, as well offer affordable 2-day shipping options for qualifying customers. 

“We are growing really fast and won’t slow down anytime soon. With ShipBob, we have the option to use more of their warehouses to further reduce shipping costs.

Because ShipBob has a lot of people to handle our orders and additional warehouses we can expand into, we can scale up with ease as we continue to grow quickly. If we ran our own warehouse, it would be much harder to hire people and we’d inevitably outgrow the space.”

Oded Harth, CEO & Co-Founder of MDacne

2. Implementing real-time inventory management

Outsourcing fulfillment doesn’t mean you lose control over operations.

The right inventory management system can help you prevent stockouts, optimize freight shipping, and speed up customer deliveries. With a decentralized approach to inventory management, you can expect faster, more accurate fulfillment turnaround. 

ShipBob makes it easy to track inventory in real time with built-in inventory management tools. Once ShipBob receives your inventory, you can view inventory levels by location, oversee SKU management, view historical order trends, and forecast demand.

3. Access to data across warehouses

Warehouse inventory management is one of the most important parts especially as your business starts to take off. 

ShipBob’s international fulfillment network is operated by the same warehouse management system (WMS). This provides merchants with full visibility, transparency, and accurate data that can be accessed through ShipBob’s dashboard. 

As your business becomes more successful, managing your inventory becomes more important, therefore having all of the data in one place and accessible at any time will drastically help the efficiency of your business.

“We are very impressed by ShipBob’s transparency, simplicity, and intuitive dashboard. ShipBob’s front-end software was the primary decision-making factor for me in choosing them over other fulfillment solutions. Their software is so simple and intuitive, especially as so many 3PLs have either bad or no front-facing software, making it impossible to enter orders, keep track of what’s leaving or entering the warehouse.

It’s fun to see orders shipping out instantaneously. I love how fast and efficient ShipBob is. Their shipping costs are very reasonable, and their platform makes fulfillment feel so easy.”

Harley Abrams, Operations Manager of SuperSpeed Golf, LLC

4. Adds increased value to your customers

By implementing decentralized supply chain procedures you continue to add value to your customers with faster shipping times, higher order accuracy rates, and easy returns.  

Improving and maintaining a high order accuracy rate is very important to the success of your business because it strongly impacts the relationship between your customers and your brand. 

With ShipBob’s proprietary technology, you will have access to your own dashboard where you can see real-time updates on all customer orders at every stage. Once an order is shipped, you’re given order tracking info to send to your customers.

From the ShipBob dashboard, you can find data you’ll need to determine how well your supply chain is running.

“About a year and a half after building out our business, we figured it was time to optimize some of our processes, including returns. The ability to work with one of the co-founders of ShipBob to launch a new, custom returns process was awesome.

Returns were taking a lot of time and resources to process on our end, but ShipBob was super helpful and critical in creating a solution for us.”

Nikolai Paloni, Co-Founder of Ombraz Sunglasses

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Decentralized supply chain advantages

There are many advantages to a decentralized supply chain such as overall flexibility, decision making, and customer satisfaction.

These are only a few of the several advantage to a decentralized supply chain. 

Reach a wider customer audience

When you work with a 3PL that has distributed warehouses you can offer better shipping options and incentives to a wider customer base.

Inventory distribution is very important when considering where you deliver too in a timely manner. With scattered warehouses in several different locations, it will make it easier for your business to reach a bigger range of customers across the globe. 

Faster shipping times

Decentralizing your supply chain means faster shipping times with warehouses spread across several states.

Since customers are getting used to fast shipping, having multiple storage locations across shipping zones for inventory distribution helps you significantly reduce transit times. The faster you can get orders shipped at an affordable rate, the happier your customers will be. 

Reduced shipping rates

With warehouses closer to your customers, you have the ability to offer them reduced shipping costs. Decreasing the shipping distance will not only reduce the cost of shipping, but it will also help your customer get their product sooner leading to higher rates of customer satisfaction.

If you partner with a 3PL, you also can take advantage of negotiated shipping rates with major and regional parcel carriers. That way, you can save on shipping and offer better shipping options for your customers, such as free shipping. You can even set a minimum order amount threshold to qualify for free shipping as your average order value will offset the costs in the long run.

Better customer service

Working on decentralizing your supply chain improves customer service as you have a better-streamlined ecommerce supply chain that meets customer expectations.

As mentioned earlier, the advantages of a decentralized supply chain such as faster shipping times and reduced shipping rates will strongly help streamline your business and make happier customers. 

By outsourcing logistics to a 3PL like ShipBob, your team can spend more time improving customer service workflows, all while decreasing the amount of inquiries related to inaccurate orders, delayed shipments, and more.

Best practices for a decentralized supply chain

Ranging from inventory management to your fulfillment strategy, there are a few key things you can do to make the most of your business when decentralizing your supply chain.

1. Maintain healthy stock levels

Inventory trends across warehouses will vary and so it’s important that you use demand forecasting methods to make sure you have the right amount of stock at the right places.

By optimizing inventory levels, you reduce the risk of common inventory issues, from high storage costs to out-of-stock items.

By ensuring that you don’t stock up on too many or too few units, you improve cash flow, optimize warehousing capacity, and consistently meet customer demand, building brand loyalty and trust. 

ShipBob’s retail fulfillment solution provides you full visibility into inventory levels across locations from one dashboard. 

“Our B2C and B2B order volume changes month to month. Between shipping new collections for wholesale earlier in the year and Q4 madness for direct-to-consumer sales, we’ve been able to get through our heaviest seasons while staying ahead of production using ShipBob’s inventory forecasting tools — even as our order volume more than quadrupled in less than a year.”

Ryan Casas, COO of iloveplum 

2. Implement a warehouse management system

With so many internal and external processes taking place across distributed warehouses, you need to have the right tech stack that can keep up with them all.  Warehouse management is key to making sure there is a flow to your distribution process.

ShipBob’s entire network is operated by the same WMS that provides a full overview of the entire supply chain.

Thanks to ShipBob’s technology, ShipBob helped Black Claw move from three 3PLs in 3 countries to one centralized 3PL (ShipBob), which has drastically improved their fulfillment process.

“ShipBob has multiple fulfillment centers and all locations filter back into one centralized warehouse management system, so everything is under the ShipBob umbrella.

By distributing our inventory across these countries and regions, all of our customers are able to get their orders much faster while paying reasonable domestic shipping rates.”

Wes Brown, Head of Operations at Black Claw LLC

3. Automation potential

Keep an eye out for processes that can be automated in order to save you both time and money.

Warehouse automation processes, such as goods-to-person (GTP), pick-to-light /(PLT) systems, voice picking systems, and box selection algorithms using Cubiscan are few systems that can help you automate your ordering process.

Proper warehouse management can even increase worker satisfaction by removing the more mundane, repetitive tasks. At ShipBob, we use warehouse automation systems to optimize our fulfillment centers, improve processes, and automate fulfillment.

“My favorite aspect of ShipBob is how easy it is. The software is pretty intuitive, and everything is where you think it would be. The ease of access and automation has helped us sell on our store.”

Josh Hollings, Founder & CEO of Drop FX

Between our WMS that’s used in all of our fulfillment centers that can track and route similar orders in the same part of the warehouse to a single picker, or the real-time updates sent back to merchants to view fulfillment performance and inventory levels, it’s a fulfillment solution unlike any other.


Learn how ShipBob has helped thousands of ecommerce businesses and how they can help you. Request a quote today.

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Decentralized supply chain FAQs

Decentralizing your supply chain can really help your business and its efficiency. Here are the common questions related to decentralized supply chain management. 

How does a 3PL help with decentralizing a supply chain?

A 3PL can help with decentralizing your supply chain in numerous ways. For instance, ShipBob is an international 3PL that offers fulfillment and automated shipping solutions. With ShipBob, merchants can outsource fulfillment and spend less time on logistics decision making. By decentralizing your supply chain with 3PL, you can easily expand your distribution network and branch out into different sales channels all while spending less time on inbound and outbound logistics

What is the difference between centralized and decentralized?

Centralized means that the main decisions of a business are made by the person or persons at the top of the organization. Whereas, decentralized means businesses delegate decision-making authority through a third-party. With ShipBob, you can worry less about logistics operations by leaving warehousing, fulfillment, and shipping up to us. You still maintain control and visibility through ShipBob’s dashboard, so you can view and manage inventory, pull data and analytics, and get insights on fulfillment and shipping performance. 

What is decentralized distribution?

Decentralized distribution brings the product closer to the end customer and further away from the corporate office. For instance, online brands often hold inventory in different warehouse locations based on where their customers live, so orders can be shipped out closer to their destination. 

How does a decentralized supply chain benefit ecommerce?

A decentralized supply chain can really help an ecommerce company reach a wider audience. With the ability to distribute from multiple fulfillment centers, their shipping times will be expedited and they will be able to reach more customers in a shorter amount of time leading to great customer satisfaction. Warehousing, fulfillment, and shipping processes and time-consuming tasks are all delegated to a third-party, so businesses can focus on other aspects of a business.