Innovation is the hallmark of internet startups. When Karl Seibrecht co-founded Flexe, a company that many call the Airbnb of warehouses, he had recognized a problem for many companies and came up with an innovative solution. Clients of Flexe can add empty warehouse space that they may have to a registry and clients looking for space can search to find a good match. This is very similar to the Airbnb model of people renting out their spare room or their house on a short-term basis.
Karl Seibrecht commented to Fortune.com, “At any given moment there are many, many businesses out there that have too much space, while other businesses don’t have enough.” (Morris, 2015)
Flexe offers many service through their marketplace for warehouse space: Overflow Solutions, Fulfillment Services, Bulk Storage Solutions, Listing of warehouse space, Warehouse management, billing and analytics. These services are part of a growing need for Third Party Logistics (3PLs) businesses that many industries and smaller companies have been utilizing.
By connecting warehouse managers with potential clients through the Flexe software and their online interface, Flexe is meeting the needs of many customers who are trying to meet customer expectations of quick and cheap delivery. The warehouse spaces are located all across the United States and some in Canada. The flexibility that these listings give to those seeking warehouse space an opportunity to grow their business without having to expend a lot of their financial resources on warehouse leases that may not meet their needs entirely.
Lessons for Others
Flexe has recognized a need in the current consumer marketplace for fast and inexpensive shipping. By paying attention to the changes in consumer expectations that have been driven by Amazon, to some extent, Flexe has allowed smaller companies to remain independent and grow their own way.
Industry: Third Party Logistics
Name of Organization Contact: Flexe Website
Authored by: Christina
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Morris, David Z. (2015, October 9). This Start-Up Could Change the Game For Same Day Shipping. Fortune.com. Retrieved November 6, 2017, from http://fortune.com/2015/10/09/flexe-warehousing-startup/.
Patrick, Kate. (2017, September 21). Exclusive: Retailers Don’t Think that Fast Free Shipping is Important to Consumers. Supply Chain Dive. Retrieved November 6, 2017, from https://www.supplychaindive.com/news/retailers-Amazon-consumers-fast-free-delivery-shipping-Flexe/505439/.
Soper, Spencer. (2017, May 11). This Startup is the Airbnb of Warehouses and Has Amazon in Its Sights. Bloomberg Technology. Retrieved November 6, 2017 from, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-05-11/this-startup-is-the-airbnb-of-warehouses-and-has-amazon-in-its-sights.
Pearson Spector, Sara. (2017, October 11). Using Third-Party Logistics Providers to Chase Amazon’s Ecommerce Fulfillment Proficiency. Supply Chain 247. Retrieved November 6, 2017 from, http://www.supplychain247.com/article/using_third_party_logistics_providers_to_chase_amazon/3pl_central?ajs_uid=1805F0483278J9F.
Flexe Home Page (2017). Flexe. Retrieved Noveber 6, 2017, from https://www.flexe.com/.