6 Winning Qualities of a 3PL
In today’s marketplace, customer experience is critical. The power of social media and access to online reviews make it easy for your customer to quickly share their experience, their perspective to potential clients in a matter of minutes. Many consumers and B2B customers look at reviews before even starting a conversation with a company, and anything less than 4 stars can be an immediate qualifier for them to drop you from consideration. This is especially true with the fulfillment process. Your company can provide an incredible product that meets the consumer need, but if the package is damaged, late on arrival, etc. this is all tied to how your customer will perceive your brand, your company.
Does Your 3PL Deliver Excellence in Their Service?
A 3PL should realize that they are an extension of your brand, your company. They are your partner in fulfillment. A good 3PL company respects this and understands the gravity and importance of this responsibility. As an extension of your business, they should put the utmost care in ensuring your customer is happy. However, not all 3PL company’s do this.
How can you ensure that your third-party logistics provider will honor their responsibility and measure them? Be sure to confirm that your 3PL partner provides metrics like order accuracy, on-time delivery, inventory levels and availability, as well as tracking ability. There are also qualities that are less quantifiable, but equally important. Here are six winning qualities to keep in mind:
1. Exceptional Customer Service
This is listed first for a reason. Your 3PL is delivering to your end customer. Anyone that has any interaction with your customer should be selected very carefully and give you confidence that the interaction will help your relationship with your end customer, not hurt it. An effective 3PL provider gives great service to you and your end customer. Make sure you 3PL company is flexible, fast, and attentive to your needs, responsive to your customer’s needs, and can meet any challenges with innovative solutions.
2. Consistently Communicates
Anytime you are considering any 3rd party solutions, be sure that the provider meets your needs rather than fits you to theirs. An effective 3PL company will be sure to understand your needs, your requirements, and any challenges that you face. A 3PL should want to know you and your company in-depth and take time to do so. This will make the onboarding process much more efficient and will help you both to align on your logistics needs.
The communication aspect of any relationship is critical. Especially in regards to managing your supply chain, inventory demands, and order fulfillment. Your 3PL provider should be direct, open, and communicate regularly with you. Whether it’s business as normal, working through supply issues, or navigating any natural disasters, political and regulatory changes, etc. – your 3PL should have a consistent line of communication with you.
3. Provides Resources and Flexibility
Flexibility and resourcefulness are key attributes of any successful 3PL. Circumstances such as sales volume volatility, seasonality changes in demand, and fast growth can all pose unique challenges to your company and especially a 3PL. Your 3rd party logistics partner should handle these challenges with efficient and effective solutions, and have the experience to provide peace of mind to you. One key point to highlight is the ability to scale. Your 3PL provider should have the ability to scale with you and help facilitate that growth further so you can meet the needs to your customers. Be sure that your 3PL has the space, labor, and technology to grow with you to meet growth in demand.
4. Offers Fresh Innovative Ideas
Innovation is directly tied to flexibility. An experienced and effective 3PL should be able to flex with you while providing innovative solutions to any challenges your face within your supply chain, warehousing, and fulfillment process. There are baseline solutions like how your 3PL operates, how they pick and pack while reducing handling, as well as having their own fleet for freight delivery. However, when a challenge arises on a specific order, increased demand, opening up an international side of your business, etc. – your 3PL partner should come up with creative solutions. Whether it is re-engineering a process or working directly with your supplies, you name it. Make sure you get creative solutions from your 3PL provider.
5. Values Collaboration
No one knows your business like you. Your 3PL knows this and should be seeking more understanding of your business while collaborating with you on your supply chain and fulfillment process. Find a 3PL partner that takes a consultative approach versus simply wanting your business. An effective 3PL focuses on the key issues with you and adds value through their expertise. This will help build more efficient and effective processes while helping you save time and money on your warehousing and fulfillment.
6. Committed to Continuous Improvement
Customer expectations are always changing, especially in our digital, eCommerce age. Your 3PL should be leading the charge on ways to improve efficiency, reduce costs and handling, improve tracking and inventory management, and adding to their service offering and quality. Your 3PL partner should be an extension of your business, and therefore be thinking of ways to improve your business and facilitate further growth.
Committed 3PLs see their relationship with you as a long-term partnership. They may be willing to invest in the space, technology, and/or equipment to take your business to the next level. Use these guidelines when you are selecting your 3PL provider, it will pay dividends for you both short term and long term. If you have any questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We offer the best practices in warehousing, trucking, and order fulfillment to save you time and money on your order process and supply chain.