As the 3PL market is getting crowded, although the market has a huge potential for all of them considering the delivery boom that has engulfed the world, getting visibility and becoming a 3PL of choice is something that you need to care about as a 3PL. With a plethora of options to choose from, how do shippers/manufacturers choose 3PL partners?
Apart from the basic tenets such as cultural alignment, vision alignment and general policy-level partnership criteria, there are a few things that a modern-day 3PL company needs to ensure it has in order to become the 3PL partner of choice.
Service level consistency
74% shippers have a formal evaluation process to choose 3PLs with very standard criteria. One of the things that gets high priority is the consistency of service levels. A proven track record of adhering to committed SLAs is a basic requirement that needs to be met in order to be in the race for consideration to be a 3PL. The reasons for this are not too complex to fathom.
Service level consistency
Brands have a reputation and have their own battles of having to fight for the mindshare and good will of their customers. They are constantly at the edge of stifling competition and the experience they deliver to their customers at every single touchpoint makes a significant impact (or dent) in their brand equity. To a customer, it doesn’t matter who is contributing or hampering the experience. It is imperative that the 3PL shares the same commitment to customer service excellence as the brand is.
This is for the simple reason that, you don’t want your customers to have a 1-time only transaction with you. One of the keys to ensure repeat business is to maintain consistency of service levels. Sticking to committed SLAs to clients and customers is a basic expectation from either sides and is a non-negotiable. The accuracy of the SLAs can give significant competitive edge to 3PLs. At the end of the day, predictability of experience is what makes brands more reliable. When a big shipper has the choose between multiple 3PLs, that would largely depend on the consistency of service levels.
When you are a 3PL, cost is a factor you need to be cognizant of in order to keep your total costs of operation. This is possible through streamlined and data-driven management of job allocation, efficient handling of field operations, saving empty miles, improved collaboration between customers sand field delivery agents.
You cannot control what you cannot monitor. Hence, having real-time and intelligent visibility into the operations is a key step in ensuring efficiency of operations in your system. In addition to helping you cut costs through improved efficiency of operations, it also helps you give better rates to your client as a 3PL vendor which puts you in a more favourable place as against competition. The ability to make your organization more efficient with technology shows so much about your organization as one that is invested in the overall success of all stakeholders. Hence, shippers give more priority and preference to 3PLs that are future-ready and put efficiency on their priority list.
Accountability is an important parameter for 3PL selection where the shipper expects the 3PL vendor to have answers for questions related to where the shipment is at a given point of time. This paves way for a sure shot way to eliminate uncertainties and provide the customer complete visibility into shipment status at any point of time until it reaches the destination. When a 3 PL has all the necessary bells and whistles needed to ensure transparency of operations in a delivery ecosystem, it gives them great deal of competitive edge in the market.
Accountability and transparency to all stakeholders are essential to cut anxiety and uncertainty irrespective of the value of goods that are sent out for delivery. It is a bare minimum expectation from customers to be delivered a predictable experience especially in the Amazon-age. Shippers also need to plan a host of things such as managing inventory, returns and refunds etc. and transparency can greatly help in cutting anxiety levels for operations managers on the shipper side.
With the boom in delivery logistics hitting new peaks as ecommerce is evolving on a completely new scale, this is a great time for 3PL companies to get maximum leverage. It takes getting a few things right to become a 3PL of choice that significantly improves market standing and eventually profitability. Leverage the tools you need to become a 3PL vendor of choice to ensure you have the checklist expectations such as SLA adherence, transparency and improved efficiency.
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