There’s a global gold rush in e-commerce right now, and 3PL companies are caught up in a race to fill up warehouses as brick-and-mortar retail stores are closing.

In China alone, the local logistics sector is worth $2.2 trillion a year out of the global total of $9 trillion. Together, the big three delivery companies — UPS, FedEx and DHL — take up almost 80% of the market share in the region and drive up competition for everyone else.

Source: Financial Times

Meanwhile, other big players like Amazon are buying up warehouses all over the world and hiring thousands as they go. But compared to the number of jobs being created, it’s getting more and more difficult to fill up those vacancies at the same speed.

Warehouse employees have more options than ever before, and even good wages aren’t enough to keep up retention rates when other warehouses offer higher ones.

Here’s where on-demand staffing can be a valuable way to get ahead of the competition.

Why On-Demand Works

While not a replacement for full-time work, on-demand staffing has many benefits that are unique to the gig economy. Utilizing on-demand staffing on top of steady employee recruitment efforts can get warehouses ahead of the curve due to certain advantages, including:

  • Direct access to workers
  • Decreased lead times
  • Cost reductions

Direct Access to Workers

While temp agencies are a reliable source for finding temporary workers, they serve as the middleman between companies and workers, making the process more time-consuming as well as costly.

On the other hand, on-demand apps like Wonolo give warehouses a direct connection to workers they may not be able to reach otherwise, such as through traditional staffing services or recruitment tactics, since these workers may only be looking for temporary holiday work or to pick up a shift on a free weekend.

Often, workers will be able to pick up shifts with more information about the company, while companies can hire workers directly through the on-demand platform. Bypassing the middleman offers a more streamlined process that can be highly valuable when positions need to filled on very short notice.  

Decreased Lead Times

One of the benefits of on-demand staffing is that you can fill up positions immediately on short notice. During peak holiday seasons when warehouses need more hands on deck, access to on-demand workers solves the problem of coming up short and negatively impacting the supply chain.

According to Richard Wahlquist, CEO of the American Staffing Association, it often takes at least five days for temp agencies to fill positions: “Tomorrow is tough … Next week is easier. I would say that it would be good to expect at least five days.”

Compared to that, on-demand can have same day turnaround and can fill positions much faster, making it especially useful for those days when there’s an unexpected shortage, whether due to sickness or emergencies.

Cost Reductions

Not using staffing agencies can also mean reducing service fees. Compared to traditional agencies, on-demand platforms charge lower fees. To gain even more leverage, some of the saved costs can go towards increasing the hourly wage to attract more on-demand workers during a busy season.

Given the right context, it’s a mutually beneficial relationship for both parties that allows warehouse managers to hire the hands they need quickly and at minimal cost.

For Maximum Advantage, Use On-Demand Year-Round

It’s important to note that on-demand staffing don’t need to replace full-time warehouse staff. Rather, on-demand workers pick up the gaps when they come up, whether due to unforeseen circumstances or during predictably busy seasons.

For this reason, utilizing on-demand platforms year-round is the best way to gain leverage against competitors. Attracting temp workers on an ongoing basis ensures that warehouses are fully staffed at all times, thus reducing any costly holdups in the supply chain.