Unexpected Order Volumes: How to Deal With It as An  Ecommerce 3PL

The e-commerce fulfillment industry has seen massive growth. E-commerce giants like Amazon are driving this global expansion attracting customers worldwide. Many well-established 3PLs expand their services. This includes reshuffling warehouse employees or offering extra warehouse space with digital capabilities. So, how can eCommerce 3PLs deal with unexpected order volumes? Read on to find out.

Unexpected Order Volumes

How Staffing Can Help Deal With Unexpected Order Volume

Maximizing the efficiency of your supply chain is critical. This is because it provides warehousing, order management, and shipping services. Unexpected order volume is the biggest challenge facing eCommerce 3PLs. But it doesn’t have to be the case.

Ecommerce 3PLs are responsible for delivering orders to customers worldwide. When unexpected demand hits, they need to be able to respond quickly. This can be challenging, especially when an eCommerce business has a seasonal spike. Or if there’s a product launch that goes viral.

Staffing can help eCommerce 3PLs deal with unexpected order volume. They do this by providing temporary labor at a moment’s notice. 

Unexpected orders may pour in at the last minute. Or worse yet, demand may spike due to weather events. Other factors could be holiday events or shopping seasons. So, it can be difficult for staff members to deal with such situations.

Quick read: Warehouse Automation Trends 3PLs Should Be Aware Of.

How Utilizing Part-Time Employees Can Help Deal With Unexpected Order Volumes

It would be best to keep up with your current order volume with a few part-time employees. But if you’re struggling to meet your goals, it’s time to consider hiring new staff seriously. Hiring contractors on a per-project basis can help you deal with unexpected spikes. You will not have to commit to full-time resources for the long term.

When deciding where your staffing needs will come from, think about the duration of each position. It would be best also to know how quickly they need training. For example, if your orders are expected within a day, you can consider order picking.

So, if there is plenty of lead time, that work could probably wait until after opening hours. This will ensure that fewer people are needed during busy periods.

Once these decisions have been made about staffing needs, remember success takes time. It also takes careful consideration and planning!

Updating Workflow Management Systems

When unexpected order volumes occur, you need to update your workflow management systems. This ensures that your 3PL can continue operating and completing orders without delays. Here are some tips on how to do so:

  • Communicate with all team members. This includes warehouse and sales personnel. Ensure it is done as soon as possible after the situation arises. This will ensure that everyone understands precisely what’s going on. As a result, it will lead to more efficient communication during the crisis.
  • Ensure there are clear instructions for handling unexpected order volumes. This will ensure everyone knows their job when it comes time for them to take action. This will also help prevent any miscommunication about responsibilities. Or, better still, other tasks needed around this period.
  • Identify any bottlenecks before they happen. You can achieve this by watching for signs of trouble before they become problems. This way, you’ll have plenty of time beforehand to plan how best to address those issues. 

How Outsourcing Overflow to 3PLS Can Help Deal With Unexpected Order Volume

Unexpected order volume can be a nightmare for any business. You can feel overwhelmed if your company is experiencing an unexpected order increase. But, there are ways you can manage this situation. This is because you don’t want it to interfere with your business operations.

One way is through outsourcing. Outsourcing overflow to 3PLs will help you deal with unexpected order volume. This is possible by allowing you to focus on running your core operations. At the same time, they handle the rest of the logistics process for you. Here are some of the benefits of outsourcing overflow services:

  • They offer a wide range of services. These could include warehousing management and reverse logistics. The services are also known as returns management).
  • They have advanced technology that can optimize resources and improve efficiency levels.
  • They have access to many modes of transportation. This allows them to choose the most cost-effective way for each shipment. And this is based on its destination and the size/shape of goods being shipped.

Outsourcing overflow to 3PLs can be a great way to increase sales. But it’s only effective if you choose the right 3PL partner.

Things to Keep In Mind  During Outsourcing

  • Choose a reputable 3PL. It’s not enough for them to be large and established. You want an organization specializing in eCommerce fulfillment. So, you’ll want someone with experience helping brands like yours. Besides, they should help you to deal with unexpected order volume. Ensure they offer ways to help you mitigate other challenges related to scaling up.
  • Could you make sure they’re trustworthy? A great 3PL will have staff members who know how eCommerce works at every level. This comprises ranges from product fulfillment to customer service and returns management. It also includes all the special procedures involved when dealing with high-volume orders. They should also have flexible policies regarding custom packaging options. This is true if your brand sells fragile items like electronics or jewelry (or if it sells food items).
  • Review their services before signing any contracts. This will ensure that everyone knows what they’re getting into upfront. Some companies offer more than others based on size or the type of business. Make sure there aren’t any hidden fees somewhere down the line!
Unexpected Order Volumes


If you’re a 3PL, your company should be prepared for unexpected order volume. This is by providing enough labor to handle spikes in demand. You can’t hire all workers you need at once. This is because it’s expensive and time-consuming. Instead, consider hiring part-time workers on a seasonal basis, for example, during peak season or when there’s an increase in demand. Besides, these temporary employees must have the right skills. You don’t want them to have difficulty picking up new tasks when needed. For more details, contact sales support.

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