So you’ve decided to go with a Third Party Logistics Provider (3PL). It’s a growing trend in the retail industry, and for good reason. There are many benefits, all resulting in a better business model for you, as well as more satisfied customers. But you need to choose your provider well. There are more than a few out there, but only a few really good ones. And logistics can make or break a retailer. Here are a few guidelines to help you on the way.
Choose a 3PL with a Proven Track Record
Everyone was once a startup, but you don’t want to saddle your reputation with a company that is still experiencing growing pains and figuring out their way in the logistics world. You want a company that has refined their processes, knows who they are, and are only getting better. Nothing can replace experience. An experienced provider will have a far deeper understanding of current logistics and the tools accumulated along the way (think fleets, warehouses, staff, and technology) to consistently fulfill your needs at a high level.
It seems like a nice, sweet, and often cheaper alternative. But some logistics providers are just too small to be able to fully service many retail logistics needs. Whether the continuing fluctuations in logistics, the multitude of professional services necessary, or just the sheer staff and resources required, they may say they can do it, but can they prove it? And what pennies you save in the short haul can pound you in the end delivery.
Consider the Breadth of Services
Often overlooked, a 3PL provider should do more than just deliveries or warehousing or transportation. Establish your relationship with a partner that can do it all so that, as your needs grow your partner can grow with you. The ideal 3PL provider will be able to take care of everything imaginable in after-sale logistics. This should include complete warehousing, cross-docking, delivery including same-day capabilities, installation (including complex and high-end) and after aftermarket service, through removal, returns, and reverse logistics.
Your Customer Should Be Their Primary Concern
Arguably the most important characteristic of all is how your 3PL provider perceives and treats your customers. Your customers—the very people your 3PL will interact with on your behalf—should be viewed and treated as you would. With everything hinging on the end experience this quality cannot be overlooked. From a simple drop-off, to a custom, white-gloved installation, the center of your 3PL provider’s business philosophy should be the happiness of your customer. It’s the consummation of your sale, and should be treated with at least as much care and respect as you did when the sale was made.
At Diakon Logistics, we’ve been an industry leader for more than 20 years. Continually growing and diversifying, our intent since our inception has been customer satisfaction, for every one of your customers, the happiness of your “Mrs. Jones.” Contact us today to see how our 3PL solutions can be the right choice for your company.