Welcome to the ‘Logistics Bulletin’ with Emma Callahan, a Q&A focused on changemakers and leaders in the logistics and e-commerce technology space.
These interviews dig deeper into what differentiates the players in the space and where the vertical is predicted to head in the coming months or years. The industry leaders will share insights into top technologies, changes in the space, and what finding talent looks like in the current market.
This week we have been in touch with Alex Ullrich, Head of Sales at Warehouse Anywhere.
Warehouse Anywhere is a wholly owned subsidiary of Life Storage, Inc (LSI). Founded in 2016, Warehouse Anywhere has become an industry leader in Forward Stocking Solutions and eCommerce Fulfilment. Leveraging the assets of Life Storage, Inc, Warehouse Anywhere is able to provide warehousing and distribution services to meet the needs of organizations of all size.
Explain Warehouse Anywhere further and how did you start with the company?
Warehouse Anywhere is a tech-enabled 3PL (3rd Party Logistics) company. We started in 2016 and as previously mentioned are a subsidiary of our parent company. We specialize in forward-stocking solutions in the medical device, field service, automotive and aerospace verticals, but we really accommodate any organization that has a need to store their inventory in a market for one reason or another. Then in 2018, we started our E-commerce fulfilment division that is geared more towards the SMB market.
I started with our parent company in 2014. They had a small group that focused on national accounts services for organizations that had a need for self-storage nationwide. In 2016, Warehouse Anywhere was formed as a subsidiary of Life Storage. Due to this, I had some familiarity with what we were doing in those early start-up-stage days. Since then, I’ve been fortunate enough to grow within the organization to now oversee our business development and customer success group.
What are the technology solutions you implement?
Our two main 3PL services include Forward Stocking Locations and eCommerce fulfilment. As I mentioned, our start was with forward stocking locations and for this solution we have our own proprietary system that we continue to develop. The system is a combination of both web and mobile applications as well as a WMS that connects all warehouses our customers utilize and keep all transactions and inventory in real time. This combined with our vast real estate footprint has allowed us to become the premier FSL provider in the field service and medical device industries. For our fulfilment customers, we currently use an off the shelf WMS to run our operation. Our advantage is that all our sites run on the same WMS and other systems to keep processes streamlined. This combined with the real estate portfolio of our parent company really becomes our differentiator. We are currently in the development phase of enhancing our WMS that is utilized for our FSLs to accommodate all of our customers, but that is going to take some time.
How have you seen the Logistics and E-commerce space grow across your career?
I would consider the space to be ever-evolving, but with COVID accelerating a lot of change and now battling inflation it is becoming more and more difficult for all companies to operate like they had just a few years ago. From customers looking to either expand their footprint to reduce shipping times and costs, or consolidating based on business requirements, it’s really made it tough for both 3PLs and organizations to stay a step ahead. I think now more than ever, companies are paying very close attention to their 3PL partners and overall supply chain to stay competitive. Data and analytics have never been more available with all the added technologies in the space and for any company this is critical to help make the right decisions for their overall supply chain. Organizations of all sizes are looking for different partners to help become more efficient. This has really paved the way for a lot of startups in the logistics space as well which typically have a niche offering for a portion of the supply chain.
Have you seen any challenges in expanding the sales team or general challenges with the talent market?
Typically, in sales, you don’t have many issues finding candidates. I would say though, to hire the right talent is becoming an increasing challenge. I think top talent is more reluctant to leave an organization in the current climate. For our hiring process, it’s about finding the right candidate with the right experience that aligns with our company.
What changes do you envision seeing in the space in the next few years?
Personally, I believe the space is going to continue to change at a rapid pace. Technology is going to be a main driver of this. There has never been a time where more information has been readily available, and organizations will continue to use this to better their service. There is an abundance of startups that are tackling a piece of the overall supply chain, most of which are tech organizations. With these new tech offerings, it’s allowing organizations to think differently on how they operate their business, and I don’t see that stopping anytime soon. I could see some M&A activity from some of the larger organizations and it becomes a value add to their organization as well as their customers
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