"We are offering a fully functional end–to-end RFID distribution center," Scherer says. "The technology incorporates label applicators, conveyors, readers, testing devices; WMS links and a variety of middleware linked to support live customers and test scenarios in RFID technology. We are selecting multiple SKU orders from inventory that require RFID tags. We are writing the tags, applying the tags, testing the tags and shipping the orders with ASN confirmations via EDI to the shipper and to the consignee."
Progressive companies are planning to meet the challenges coming up, such as food safety and security at the forefront. For some PRWs, facets of warehousing that will be universally employed include order fulfillment, case picking and cross docking.
Tippmann of Interstate Warehousing/Tippmann Group sees, "taller warehouse facilities, which reduce capital and operating cost, a more expensive real estate market that demands better site utilization and tight labor markets that will open the door for more automation in public warehousing."
The specialized arena of providing PRW services will become even more complex and therefore even more specialized in the future, according to Scherer of USCS. "The huge increase in the number of SKUs handled and stored combined with the high rate of product turn will challenge the best to perform at a high service level consistently. In addition, security issues, governmental regulations, labor availability and higher energy costs make for a tricky business environment, especially in light of corporate America's laser focus on lowering logistics costs."
Hudson of IARW tells the story of ConAgra which built a DC, but then discontinued several lines of product. Since it didn't need much of its DC, ConAgra sold it to a PRW. "So it is better to use a flexible network of PRWs that is established," he says. "PRWs are in demand because of their flexibility and wide array of services."
Ampuja agrees with the prediction of flexibility on the part of PRWs in the future. "Third-party logistics is growing very fast and is out-striping what the economy is doing," he says. ""PRWs will offer more services like increased trucking and drop-trailer service. There's no limit to what they can do."