In a post earlier this year (Is Your Business Model Safe?), I asked the following question: Is there an opportunity for third-party logistics providers (3PLs) and supply chain software vendors to innovate their business models to deliver greater value to clients, differentiate themselves from the competition and gain market share, and achieve greater financial success? My response was, “Of course there is, and it’s already happening.” enVista’s announcement last week is the latest example. According to the press release:
enVista…has launched a joint venture with Fredman Design Group (Fredman), a nationally recognized interior design firm. Together, enVista and Fredman created and launched 350West, an ecommerce site to showcase and sell Fredman’s upscale line of home goods and furnishings. enVista Commerce, a division of enVista, will manage 350West’s ecommerce omni-channel platform and operations.
This 350West project marries enVista’s deep supply chain consulting expertise, Magento experience, and omni-channel technology platform to provide a seamless customer experience.
enVista calls itself “a leading supply chain, omni-channel retail consulting and IT services firm,” but I view them as Exhibit A in the convergence of business models I’ve been talking about. To me, they’re a 3PL, software company (with its own, internally-developed omnichannel software platform), and consulting firm all rolled into one. And you can view this ecommerce joint venture as a Vested agreement, where both parties are sharing the investments, risks, and benefits associated with the launch and success of 350West. It’s also an example of how technology and service providers can help entrepreneurs — who often lack the skills and expertise in logistics and supply chain management — launch and scale their businesses (for related commentary, see Choosing the Right 3PL and IT Partners: An Entrepreneur’s Perspective).