The lateral applications of the social sharing economy are becoming exceptionally interesting. Commonly, in any given market and at any given time, there are various companies that have more warehouse /distribution space than needed, while others are struggling with little room and are constantly seeking additional space. So why is it so difficult to transition from residential room, board and Uber services to commercial warehouse space, operational accommodations and related transportation services?
The idea of using one's customer space and services is nothing new at Land-Link Traffic Systems. On a number of occasions, we have become the catalyst to bring two customers together – generating a relationship between a customer who had excessive warehouse space and another customer who was in need of space. Land-Link then strategically managed the operational side in supplying the human and additional resources needed.
The difference between finding an effective strategic partnership with new social media sites and a program presented by Land-Link comes down to one simple element: There is an existing relationship with both companies in comparison to dealing with an unknown commodity.
Airbnb is an online marketplace organization that connects travelers looking for a place to stay with dwelling owners that have a home or room available for rent. In addition, Airbnb is now connecting companies in need of warehouse space with those companies or facilities that have some extra space to spare, in which they can profitably rent out.
Although the aforementioned transactions are all relatively simple and easily executed, this approach is by no means something to incorporate into one’s supply chain as a daily exercise. However, it can certainly be a handy way to incorporate a plan the next time a shipment is rejected by your customers for one reason or another. Existing technology is out there. Again, not in any sense a new idea, but the precise nature of the information flow and the “on demand” world is coming together to generate even more efficient options.
It's Just an Idea
Airbnb was a rather rudimentary idea (develop an expeditious and efficient way to bring together those who need lodging with those who have excess lodging) even if they didn't realize it.
That is the thought-provoking point. Those who had the unrealized available and valuable space didn't realize it until they were given the opportunity to rent it out. It's the same principle with ride sharing services, such as Uber. So why not give your supply chain a little shot in the efficiency arm by taking advantage of some underutilized space and relatively underutilized labor as well? Especially if it fits your program.
Flex-space is Nothing New
No. Flex-space is not a new concept. Truckers have been sharing docks since the beginning of trucking time, as it was always an operational necessity. What has changed dramatically, however, are the transit times of the customer.
The catalyst of change was perhaps the JIT inventory system introduced by the automotive industry in the 90's. Ever since then, the industry has evolved to wanting products now in comparison to the yesterday’s acceptable standard of a 2-3 day delivery. We went from days of delivery to hours of delivery and the transition since then has been a whirlwind.
Shouldn’t we, as a company, be looking at shared services as an opportunity to increase sales by using shared space available down the street from one of your demanding profitable customers? The only way to ensure your organization can keep its supply chain up to par is to seek the guidance of a professional 3PL.
Call Land-Link for a sit-down, brainstorming session on how shared customer resources might work for your company and click the button below for some friendly guidance.