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It may not seem possible but the holiday season will soon be upon us yet again.  For many companies – especially those in the retail industry – it’s the busiest time of the year, with orders coming in and shipments going out at a furious rate.  Before your orders start to really pick up, however, a good way to get ahead of this frenzied action is through spot stocking with a third-party logistics provider (3PL).

What is Spot Stocking?

spot stocking For most of the year, you have your inventory stored at a central warehouse or network of distribution centers.  This setup is well equipped to handle the ebb and flow of normal operations.  But, what about your busiest periods?  Wouldn’t it be advantageous to have your items closer to your customers during this time?  Enter spot stocking.

With this method, you can store inventory at a warehouse during a specific time period and distribute it from that temporary location.  This allows you to keep products near certain customer bases during times of high demand without having to pay for that space year-round.

Let’s say that sales of your product really pick up in the Northwest during the months of October, November, and December.  The problem is: you don’t have your inventory stored in the region so you incur the higher costs and slower speeds of shipping there from your regular distribution network.  With spot stocking, you can partner with a logistics provider in the region to store and distribute your products during those months and then return to normal operations in January.

Why Use a 3PL to Spot Stock?

Third-party logistics providers are uniquely qualified to handle spot stocking for a number of reasons.  First, many 3PLs are public warehousing experts , handling warehousing and distribution duties for a wide variety of companies within a wide variety of industries all year round. Second, many 3PLs have the capacity to take on new stock when you’re ready to give it.  Third, 3PLs have the technology (e.g., warehouse management systems [WMS]) to seamlessly integrate your operation and inventory into its system, provide visibility to every function, and then simply un-integrate when the spot stock period ends.  Lastly, many 3PLs offer value-added solutions in addition to warehousing and distribution.  These can include rework projects, pick and pack services, kitting, packaging, and returns processing.

Now, while many 3PLs are great spot stock options for you, you want to make sure that you properly vet your prospective partners to find the right one.  For starters, you’ll need to ensure that they offer a flexible solution that can handle the unique needs of your operation.  To do this, you’ll need time.  So, prepare in advance and give yourself adequate time to pick the right provider for your busiest – and likely most vital – time of year.

Why Kanban for Spot Stocking?

Kanban is a spot stock specialist that you can turn to for all of the reasons listed above – and then some.  Our 5-facility warehousing campus in Eastern North Carolina gives your operation an efficient and reliable foothold exactly halfway between Boston and Miami.  This location enables you to reach 70% of the U.S. population within one business day.

Whether it’s food grade warehousing you need, or rail/transload capabilities, we’ve got you covered.   Contact Kanban today to learn how we can help you get closer to your customers during your high-volume periods.

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