As entities responsible for brokering appropriate carrier rates, ensuring accurate quantities of orders, and guaranteeing high quality of products, third-party logistics providers are extensions of companies brands. The functions 3PLs perform help shape their clients outwardly facing reputation. Here are the most effective ways to become an extension of your clients brand.

COST SAVINGS

Carrier Brokerage Save your client money so it can pass along savings to its own customers. Your 3PL can do this by brokering the best possible carrier rates for your client, whether your business uses an effective, built-in Transportation Management System (TMS) that automatically sets up auctions for carriers to bid for business, uses load planners to broker carriers, or some combination of both. Carrier brokerage is a win-win for your 3PL and client, adding profit to your 3PLs bottom line, saving the client on overall transportation spend, and securing future business with the client, provided the carrier performs well. Regarding carrier performance and accountability, a TMS with capabilities to track and report carrier performance, including actual delivery and pickup times, can provide value for both your 3PL and your client. Consider a TMS with these functions.

Deliveries and pick-ups made on time, accompanied by a friendly demeanor and professional attitude, reflect your clients ability to handle last-minute and well-ahead-of-time requests.

Storage Space Be willing to accommodate a clients need for multiple pricing options, such as storage costs by the pallet, square foot, linear foot, or pound. The flexibility might make the clients rate contract more complicated, but it will allow the client flexibility it can pass on to its own customers when fulfilling orders. Todays competitive retail market demands that companies fulfill orders rapidly and accurately. Allowing a company latitude in their storage space options helps it remain competitiveand well-brandedin the e-commerce industry.

EFFICIENCY

Product Put-away A 3PLs greatest asset is its employees. Material handlers who care about their jobs will commit to putting products away safely and accurately, using First-In, First Out methods, directed put-away technology, advanced barcode scanning, or some combination thereof. Treat your employees well, providing them with a fulfilling, safe, and profitable workplace, and they will treat your customers products as if they were their own. Equally important is the concept of instilling in your employees the urgency with which products need to be put away in safe storage spaces. Careful handling results in high-quality products shipping out to the clients customers, cementing your clients reputation as a reliable brand.

Order Fulfillment Similar to careful product put-away, quick-acting and motivated employees will work hard to ensure the clients customers receive their retail products as soon as and in the best condition possible. Provide employees with the technologies they need, like hip-mounted shipping label scanners and printers, RFGen, touchscreen tablet inventory systems and more, to fulfill orders. Some e-commerce companies promise customers same-day shippingor even same-day delivery! These changing expectations in the retail industry put additional pressure on 3PLs and their employees to fulfill orders in an organized and appropriately prioritized fashion. Your e-commerce customer will thank you when its customers write glowing online reviews praising the companys prompt delivery times.

CUSTOMER SERVICE

Saving your client money and fulfilling its business rules arguably are the biggest components of the companys customer service, allowing your client to brand itself as a competitively priced rapid responder in its respective industry. However, your 3PLs own face time with the client is important, too. Provide your clients with dedicated client service representatives, account managers or both. These professionals can help your client change aspects of its supply chain that are not working, such as observing flaws in its order entry system or noticing defects in shipping materials the client uses to ship orders. Communication and a pair of human eyesor severalwatching over clients inbound and outbound products, whether virtually through an Order Management System or in person as a warehouse facility manager, add personal touches to your relationship with your client. Additionally, automated programs can catch mistakes but lack the analytical ability to determine why mistakes are happening and prevent them from occurring in the future. Less shipping and storage mistakes deeper in your clients supply chain, starting with your 3PLs services, mean happier end customers touting your clients name as a leaderthe bestin its industry.