Your reputation rests on how your customers experience your product and service delivery. Whether you’re currently outsourcing your fulfillment or managing it in-house, evaluating its performance will give you a glimpse into how you’re doing from your customers’ perspective. With reviews now available online with the click of a button, even a few minor issues can taint your brand.
The other reason to look at your in-house fulfillment performance is that it can be the 5,000-pound gorilla in the room, taking up all the space in your workday and leaving nothing for marketing efforts, new ideas, and customer focus.
What’s So Great About 3PL?
Third-party logistics (3PL) is a fantastic way to leverage scarce resources in a startup eCommerce business or extend resources in a mature industry. Why should you take the time, personnel, and resources to build a fulfillment organization when your profitability comes from new product ideas and marketing?
You can contract with a company specializing in fulfillment and move forward with innovation to advance your business, free of day-to-day logistics concerns. Here are a few things a great 3PL company can do for you:
- Inventory management
- eCommerce order fulfillment and tracking
- Packaging, repackaging, and assembly
- Retail compliance and B2B fulfillment
- Transportation rate shopping
- Returns management
How Do You Know It’s Time for a Change?
Change is hard. It often takes time, money, and risk to move from an insufficient service you depend on daily to one with growth potential. But staying where you are with lackluster services keeps you limited to today’s business level. Taking the risk to move to a more effective provider can supercharge your business and open the gates to an even more prosperous future.
Here are a few things to look for:
1. You’re Getting More Complaints
What are your most frequent customer complaints? While negative comments may be hard to hear, they’re your best gauge for how you can improve and for any gaps in your fulfillmentservices. Once you know, you can find a provider that fills in the gaps.
2. You’re struggling to manage cost
Are your in-house fulfillment cost projections consistently missing the mark? Managing the rising cost of real estate and labor in today’s market is a challenge. This is the time to step back, take a close look, and evaluate other alternatives. 3PLs are not immune to these struggles, but their experience and resources allow for a variety of creative solutions. They can also take advantage of their scale, sharing space and labor between accounts to manage unexpected changes in demand.
3. Your 3PL is unresponsive
Are you getting the customer service you need from your 3PL provider? Are your calls going unanswered? Are you having inconsistent communication? Are problems not being resolved? Maybe customer complaints are mounting. Open, responsive communication is a critical factor in a 3PL partner. Your business has to be agile in this economic environment, and your 3PL provider has to keep in step.
4. Your technology is outdated
Have no doubt that your competitors are searching out the latest technology. They know that technology is changing at the speed of light, enabling enterprises to work faster and better. Having a powerful warehouse management system (WMS) is critical. If your 3PL partner uses outdated technology, you may fall behind.
5. You don’t have cyclical agility
Most businesses have times of high and low demand. Demand may escalate around the holidays, or maybe summer is when customers flock to your products. A 3PL partner must be able to flex with the ebbs and flows of your business.
6. You see too many mistakes
No one is perfect, but a fulfillment provider using the latest technology should be accurate a large percentage of the time. Continued errors without a plan to improve can erode your reputation, and with the immediacy of the internet, negative comments have damaged more than one business.
7. Your global distribution needs are unmet
Let’s face it; we operate in a global economy. The internet now connects all of us, and even if you’re not addressing international fulfillment, your competition probably is. Make sure your 3PL provider can grow worldwide with you.
WSI Has You Covered
The WSI family of companies provides absolutely reliable end-to-end logistics services within the United States and globally. We’ve had a lot of practice. Founded in 1966 with a 30,000-square-foot building, we’ve grown to more than 10,000,000 square feet of rail-served facilities.
From planning to execution, we cover your complete logistics needs.
- End-to-end logistics solutions
- Full-service warehousing and distribution
- Tailored fulfillment service
- Complete transportation service
- Expert chemical logistics.
Are you seeing signs that it’s time to move from in-house fulfillment to a 3PL relationship? Have you outgrown your current 3PL provider? We’d love to hear from you. We’ll design a solution that fully meets your needs and positions you for future growth. Contact us online, or give us a call at 920-690-9037.