Who Occupies All Those Huge 3PL Warehouses?

closeouts, excess stock, inventory liquidation

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, many people took the supply chain for granted. In fact, most people didn’t think of the logistics industry much at all. The New York Times even confessed to not having a logistics newsbeat before the pandemic. Today, manufacturers, warehouses, transportation providers, distribution centers, and retailers are all topics of mainstream media. Times are changing—so is the supply chain. Those of us buying and selling closeouts for a living know first hand how challenging the supply chain market can be to excess inventory buyers, liquidators and closeout distributors.

In recent years, shippers have encountered new standards of velocity, market choice, and cost for their products. Consumers are demanding better variety and greater availability at the lowest possible cost. Closeouts are more popular than ever as consumers demand deals for everything from housewares and toys to sporting goods and lawn and garden closeouts. Liquidators specializing in servicing the discount market are constantly in search of excess inventory buyers who can help them find deals. When a company has too much merchandise on hand, they may have a liquidation sale to free up warehouse space for new products or to raise cash. This creates closeouts for excess inventory buyers and closeout distributors. These goods will make their way into the discount market where consumers can take advantage of distressed inventory at deep discounts. Closeout brokers and closeout wholesalers play a crucial role in moving these goods from warehouse to store shelves or closeout websites.

In order to meet continually changing consumer demands and expectations in an increasingly competitive market, shippers need a fast, efficient supply chain. As a result, many organizations are turning to third party logistics or 3PL providers and enhanced transportation management technology to deliver the velocity, visibility, predictability and control their needs. Liquidators and closeout distributors are often contacted by sellers from 3PL warehouses shutting down their facility and having a liquidation sale. The cost of storing dead merchandise in the warehouse is too high so the better alternative is to get rid of slow moving inventory and obsolete stock that is costing money. If you are not familiar with the closeout process you can do a simple Google search for closeouts, inventory liquidators, closeout distributors, sell excess inventory or get rid of inventory. Any of these should steer to you the right direction so you can begin to work on selling your inventory. The closeout process can be easy and hassle free with the right closeout buyers.

Today's supply chain requirements demand more advanced tools. Fortunately, as the supply chain has evolved, so too have transportation management systems (TMS)—now providing organizations with greater visibility and control over their supply chain than ever before. Companies buying and selling closeouts want to have better transparency so they know where their shipment is at any given time. Occasionally, a shipment becomes lost or it is abandoned freight in a 3PL warehouse, and this is another opportunity for excess inventory buyers and closeout wholesalers. Basically, anytime there is a buying opportunity where something has be abandoned or is getting liquidated, this is an opportunity for closeout buyers.

This next generation TMS technology provides a comprehensive, graphical view of all shipments and dynamic dashboards of key performance indicators, while also incorporating relevant information from the web, including weather and traffic alerts, to give organizations a 360 degree view of their entire transportation network at all times. This practice makes it easier to track freight at all times, reducing lost freight and abandoned inventory, closeouts, or obsolete products that have to be liquidated from the warehouse below cost. When a shipment or container goes missing, the contents are often sold to closeout brokers, excess inventory buyers, closeout websites or just at a general warehouse liquidation.

The need for this next-gen technology has contributed to the continued growth of the 3PL market. While 10 to 15 years ago shippers would engage with 3PLs as a means to access technology, that technology is more ubiquitous and readily accessible today. As the cost of technology has come down these tools are available to both large scale closeout companies as well as smaller inventory liquidators. There is so much inventory from Amazon sellers wanting to shut down their FBA warehouse that it is more important than ever to track these closeouts and know where everything is at any given time.

Technology, however, is only part of the solution. I could put a piano in my home, and have noise instead of music, as I have the tool but not the expertise to create the music. Today’s 3PLs provide a deeper understanding of the key closeout process that is necessary for supply chain excellence within the specific verticals in which a shipper resides. Getting rid of excess inventory and selling closeouts is the easy part; the bigger challenge is actually finalizing the shipment for point A to point B. This specialized knowledge of closeouts and inventory reduction are as critical as advanced technology. Furthermore, their ability to truly leverage the strength and depth of their 3PL warehouse network os shippers is how maximum value is delivered to any business buying and selling overstock and excess merchandise.

While a TMS can have a significant impact on your supply chain operations and closeout process, it's not automatically going to "fix" your entire network. You need the right strategy and liquidation process behind it. Shippers looking for technology to incorporate into their transportation operations should first take the opportunity to benchmark their network around service, customer experience, and cost. This exercise will provide specific intelligence about opportunities in their network and whether a technology solution, or outsourcing to a 3PL, is best for their business. 3PL’s often sell closeout inventory that has been abandoned by customers who went out of business due to excessively high storage costs. Sometimes it is better to do your own Amazon fulfillment or handle your own closeout distribution to save money. Abandoned freight is becoming a big problem for 3PL warehouses wanting to get rid of old inventory.

For shippers, a 3PL should not just be prescribing a technology for your transportation network, but must truly have the ability to offer the operational expertise and ideas for continual improvement necessary to drive supply chain excellence. Transportation optimization is more than moving freight at the lowest cost; it’s about continuous improvement delivered through smart, data driven planning and efficient execution at both the lane and network level. Shippers should find a partner that has a demonstrable ability to deliver and execute throughout the entire supply chain, creating both enhanced velocity and a high level of service to customers.

Merchandise USA buys closeouts, overstock and excess inventory for any reason. We specialize in buying abandoned inventory and obsolete stock that is no longer needed or wanted. The closeout process is easy and stress free and we buy everything from closeout lawn and garden to inventory of toys, housewares, home accessories, sporting goods, domestics, closeout pet products, and more.