The surge in online shopping is prompting many businesses to outsource their picking, packing and shipping activities in order to save money, achieve operational efficiencies and improve the customer experience. Businesses need to take care when choosing the right partner as fit, flexibility and capability are the most crucial aspects of any logistics service.
What are the factors to consider when a logistics partner?
Here are a few tips for businesses on how to choose the right logistics provider.
References and business performance
Do your homework and seek out references and information about your preferred third party logistics provider. It is important to assess the competency of the third party logistics provider. A firm with a passionate approach to customer service will provide you and your customers a great service. Read the customer reviews to get a good idea on how well the firm has built and maintained their customer relationships as well as logistics management.
Explore how they address and resolve issues. Find out what their performance targets are like and their track record in meeting them. At B dynamic Logistics we have two hour turnaround times for many activities to ensure immediate service. Targets and KPIs are critical when it comes to logistics and all providers should be transparent about these.
Scalability and adaptability
Not all businesses are the same. While a third party logistics provider might have a full range of logistics, your business might not need access to all of them right now or ever.
The right provider understands the importance of creating a custom plan specific to your business needs and vision. As you grow and your needs change, your provider will be there to help accommodate your business’ expansion. We all look forward to business growth and expansion, so you should be forward-thinking when choosing a third party logistics provider.
It is also important to choose a provider that can efficiently handle both your current and your future volume of stock. Particularly if your industry experiences large fluctuations such as huge sales volumes over the holiday periods. Your provider needs to be able to cope with sudden surges or sales spikes. Service should never slip despite surges in demand.
Consider what type of customisation and flexibility the provider offers. The provider should be able to deliver complete end-to-end logistics for bespoke project-based requirements and their solutions should be fully customisable and tailored to match your needs.
Streamlined technological expertise
Your chosen third party logistics provider should help your business streamline your processes and automate tasks. You should always ask these two questions of your provider, firstly, how does their technology connect to your online store or existing software systems?
And secondly, how will their software use your data optimally. Ideally, your chosen third party logistics provider should have a cloud-based warehouse management system and electronic data interchange capabilities. Having a third party logistics provider that is at the forefront of technological innovation will help you with your inventory management and order tracking.
Large businesses often struggle to adapt to changes swiftly, which in turn can negatively impact their business operations. Their existing supply-chain often lacks the agility they need to solve these challenges. B dynamic Logistics’ mission is to provide flexibility and work innovatively to solve these challenges and achieve success for our customers.
When choosing a third party logistics provider, the firm will try to sell on their efficiency, competitive pricing and timeliness. But what about safety? This is rarely a selling point. When choosing a third party logistics provider a good safety record should be a priority.
This factor will come into play if goods are ever stolen, or a carrier is involved in an accident that damages your stock. Safety of the stock is critical for you to store your products at a third party logistics provider’s warehouse. And safety of the staff and visitors is paramount in the logistics industry. A provider with a good safety culture will ensure all employees, visitors and their business partners are safe and customer goods are in safe hands.
Making sure that your chosen provider’s insurance is up to date is equally important. Another point is that you should investigate their carrier safety ratings. Make sure that the firm you go with has strict guidelines and only use reputable and safe carriers to transport your stock.
A good third party logistics provider will offer you an integrated warehouse management system. As an example, B dynamic Logistics’ proprietary Warehouse Management System platform provides clients with real-time traceability of orders, inventory and delivery tracking.
Having access to the full suite of analytic and reporting tools gives firms invaluable insights into the business operations. With a good inventory management system in place, you will even be able to identify potential issues before they become a problem, setting you ahead.
Many businesses start small and that’s ok. But whether you stay small is another thing entirely. Are you limiting your potential by operating out of just one region. With the right third party logistics partner, you could cast your nets much further and have access to more locations through a huge expansive network for fulfilment centres. This is especially important when you are selling your products to all parts of the country, or even overseas.
Diversity and inclusion
This is such an important issue for all businesses. Not only must our people be reflective of the community, we must also ensure that we offer opportunity and access for all. Choose a provider that is ethical and supports and promotes diversity and inclusion. Did you know that the logistics sector employs mostly men. Women make up two percent of the workforce.
At B dynamic Logistics, women make up some 50 percent of our workforce and are also in management and leadership positions. We are serious about diversity and inclusion.
Third-party logistics is about finding the most efficient, ethical and sustainable way to deliver parcels to shoppers with the ability for them to have visibility over the whereabouts of the parcel at all times. To be the best at what we do, we must continually innovate with better technology, systems and capability. A provider that is always innovating is always trying to find ways of creating better service experiences to benefit businesses and their customers.
For example, we (B dynamic Logistics) are implementing new tech that allows us to pack more products into warehouse space with enhanced compartmentalisation and robotics. Ultimately this reduces the cost for our customers. Innovators are winners.
The choice of your third party logistics is not something that should be taken lightly. What works for one company may not work for you, so take the time to conduct your research. Whether you’re a new business starting out or you’re an established firm looking to change providers, the tips I have provided will help you eliminate some of the less suitable options.
Mal Siriwardhane is the Managing Director of leading ecommerce enabler and third party logistics provider, B dynamic Logistics.