You’ve dedicated yourself to developing your business, and those long hours are finally paying off: you’ve grown exponentially and are distributing more volume than you’d ever imagined. Now, instead of delivering items directly to the customer from a smaller operation, you need to update your logistics to include supplying a warehouse with your product: a third party warehouse that will then be responsible for fulfilling your customer’s orders. The third-party warehouse, or “3PL,” is the physical warehouse that will handle operational processes like freight, warehousing, and distribution. So, what should your e-commerce based business look for in a 3PL?
A Reputation to Build On
As you assess your needs, look for a 3PL with a proven track record—don’t stake your reputation on an “out-of-the-box” broker’s logistic operations. Your company was once fledgling, too: but even a 3PL that’s just starting will have the logistical record to prove that they can be an asset to your business model. You want the most qualified partner available, not a startup that wants to use your company to “test out” their operations model – you’ve spent enough time getting your own “foot in the door”. Partner up with a business that has the transportation capabilities and logistics to match your own company’s excellence.
Working For the Weekend
Even in these tough times, ordering and shipments don’t have the luxury of slowing down. You need a partner that works weekend hours and has a ‘can-do’ attitude. When your customer is calling you on a Saturday night for an update, you’ll want a partner that’s employed the best personnel in fulfillment services available to connect with your customers.
On the Right Track
Look for a partner that provides cellular tracking on every load Macro point, or a “real-time” visibility platform for your supply chain: these are “must-haves,” especially on critical shipments that are time-sensitive. Look for a service that can ping their drivers’ cell phones as intermittently as every fifteen minutes to get a delivery truck’s location.
The Price is Right
The old adage is an adage for a reason: we all get exactly what we pay for. If your business depends on first-rate shipping, you can’t pay a “bottom of the barrel” rate for your freight costs, unless you’re ready to accept an equally abysmal transportation service. As most shipment-based businesses know, “cheap freight” can get left behind: so budget a fair rate for your transportation spend. Does your logistics provider hit the pricing “sweet spot,” that provides the service you need with the pricing that you want? Do your homework as you compare rates, and don’t be afraid to hire an expert consultant from a 3PL to ensure your provider’s optimization.
When you partner with Sequoia Group, you can trust us to provide the most innovative, cutting-edge technologies to optimize your shipping and warehouse needs. Our Warehouse Management Software solutions can help your business optimize its 3PL, manage inventory better, automate routine tasks, and provide visibility to your customers. Contact Sequoia Group today to optimize your business standards, continue its growth, and increase profitability.