5 Strategies for Ensuring Growth During the Covid Era
Every business across the world, no matter how unique the product or service, currently shares something in common: the monster, obstacle, and monkeywrench of COVID. That being said, this shared challenge has pushed brands to adapt, grow, and drive their industries forward through innovation and a desire to triumph.
Ruby Has Fulfillment (a ShipMonk company) has been doing that in the 3PL space, and as a result our clients have not only survived, but thrived during this tough time. Here are 5 key strategies to help your business do the same.
1.) Embrace “Fight” Not “Flight” Mentality
In the middle of the pandemic, while other warehouses were locking their doors, Ruby Has (a ShipMonk company) acquired a fulfillment facility in Kentucky, launched a brand new distribution center in Nevada (tripling the company’s space there), and doubled its footprint in Canada. Why? Because challenges offer a chance to become better.
Nobody knew how Covid was going to play out. Ruby Has founder and CEO Rafael Zakinov (Rafi) only knew that his customers needed somewhere to keep their inventory. Retailers were cancelling purchase orders, shipping was at a standstill, inventory was being sent back, and his customers needed a place to put it. It was that simple. So even though it was a huge risk to double, even triple-down on efforts and capacity, it needed to be done and so it was.
Rafi chose to grow, and to get through this incomparable time in an uncompromising way. The company never has “stood still,” and the Covid pandemic was no exception. Under Rafi’s leadership the Ruby Has team took on the extremely steep Covid growth curve with determination, innovation, and efficiency. As a result of that “fight” not “flight” mentality, year over year growth from 2019 to 2020 was an impressive 30%.
2.) Maintain Safety Guidelines to Ease Your Team and Customers
Doing the right thing is good for employees, customers, countries at large, and your business. By following the best health and safety regulations, your company can curb the spread of the pandemic while encouraging a strong work environment your employees can continue feeling secure coming to, thus keeping your productivity up. For example, ensure personnel work diligently to maintain a sanitized, appropriately-spacious environment across all facilities. Safety isn’t just about masks, gloves, and disinfectant though. Keep in mind it’s also about conversations, financial support, and adaptability that make people feel looked after.
In addition, as a fulfillment business, we know that during this time clients and customers may have added worry about the protection of their direct-to-consumer products, and the people who handle them day-to-day. By being a business that strongly enforces and emphasizes appropriate health and safety guidelines for your internal team, as well as your third party providers and their teams, clients and customers alike can continue to feel assured.
At Ruby Has Fulfillment (a ShipMonk company) for example, while continuing to deliver for customers and grow the business as fast as possible to keep up with demand, Rafi made sure employees were protected and well taken care of. Ruby Has distributed PPE to employees before Amazon did, and gave employees lunches and flexible hours. As a result, Ruby Has clients and partners continued to grow and meet consumer needs during the Covid surge just as effectively as before 2020.
For some ideas on how to stand by your safety regulations and offer support to your teams, visit the Ruby Has Covid Response page to learn more.
3.) If You are Self-Fulfilling, Partner with a 3PL Fulfillment Company
Self-fulfillment has always been a challenging path. Between the time, demand, and multifaceted levels of operation, managing and executing your brand’s fulfillment yourself can be a taxing, costly distraction. Working with a third party fulfillment provider like Ruby Has Fulfillment (a ShipMonk company) can lift that burden off your back. Now, in the wake of the Covid challenge, there are even more reasons to make a shift, including:
- Shifts in demand are even steeper; a qualified 3PL allows for you to scale your business effectively and efficiently.
- Conditions in different regions/countries can differ and change quickly. A substantive 3PL can store your inventory in multiple regions to diversify your options and reduce risk.
- Fulfillment companies are designated as essential services and will continue to be, so if you have any doubts about whether your facility will always be designated as such, going with a 3PL provider can ease your mind.
- With a plethora of significant integrations, a strong 3PL can handle everything you need today in one place, as well as the things you will need in the future as you evolve your brand, like ecommerce platforms, EDI systems, returns software, OMS systems, and ERPs.
- An established 3PL can maintain the order fulfillment accuracy and transparency your business relies on, while also helping you achieve more cost-effective, faster shipping.
4.) Be Ready to Move Fast
Any pre-existing indicators that once forecasted the growth that was expected to take place in the ecommerce industry over the next few years have been accelerated and compressed since Covid hit the scene. Between that, and the normal need to always be shifting and growing to survive, it has never been more pivotal that brands are ready to scale, produce, and ship rapidly.
Even in normal times, digitally-driven companies such as direct-to-consumer brands do not grow linearly. Rather, they grow in a “hockey-stick” curve pattern. It’s clear why that model is tricky for self-fulfilling brands to maintain. After all, they are dealing with a capital investment. It is a heavy undertaking to begin with, and expanding that suddenly is costly and difficult.
In order to move as fast as possible while keeping your orders safe and accurate, it’s prudent for many brands to switch their fulfillment needs over to a professional 3PL. Failing to do so can, unfortunately, cause many companies to drown in a flood of orders amidst a world demanding them to scale upward faster than their systems allow.
If this is a turn of events you’d like to avoid with your business, look for a 3PL that specializes in scaling with its customers. Once you’ve narrowed down companies, ask for specific examples of how the 3PL handles sudden increases in demand. If they’re just “okay” at it, keep looking. One of the worst things that can happen is your brand suddenly finds great success, only to have your fulfillment system fail you.
5.) When Working with a 3PL, Ensure They’re a “Partner,” Not Just a “Provider”
Your brand’s relationship with a 3PL should not simply be transactional; close collaborations between both sides of this equation translate to maximum success. The more you communicate, the more you’ll experience excellent results. Therefore, when choosing a 3PL to handle your inventory, make sure it will be a real partnership.
Ruby Has Fulfillment (a ShipMonk company) is a fully-integrated 3PL trusted across the world for its reliable, accurate, and speedy order fulfillment. From our advanced systems to our wide array of bicoastal and international distribution centers, we are a team you can count in your corner. Visit our quote request page now to handle all your fulfillment needs in one place while kicking Covid in the keister!