Today’s consumers expect A LOT. And we hate to break it to you, but demand is only rising. From perfect orders to quick, on-time delivery, meeting (and exceeding) customer expectations is a must if you want your business to remain competitive and successful.
As an e-commerce business owner, an integral piece of meeting this demand relies on your relationship with your 3PL warehousing partner. Maximizing your relationship through regular communication, the solutions you leverage, and the strategy you implement can help fuel forward momentum for your business.
Here are four ways to maximize your relationship with your 3PL warehousing partner.
Get Aligned on Your Vision and Your Values
Rather than a separate service that needs to be micromanaged, consider your 3PL provider as an extension of your team. Your 3PL has the resources and expertise to elevate your supply chain management, but they need a thorough grasp of your values and vision as a business to do so. Sound too high-level for day-to-day logistics? Spoiler: It’s crucial!
From your current initiatives to your challenges and long-term plans, regularly providing a 360-degree view of your business is imperative for scalability and driving tangible results. When you and your 3PL partner are aligned on your business’s vision and values, you’re aligned on your goals.
These insights provide valuable context and allow your 3PL warehousing facility to craft solutions tailored specifically for your business. Your 3PL partner is adept at problem-solving and can help rectify bottlenecks preventing your company from reaching your goals. The bottom line? Expand your focus beyond the execution of day-to-day tasks. Leverage your 3PL’s expertise and creativity to move your business forward.
Stay Connected: Communication Is Key
Would you start a new position, go through onboarding, and then expect to go on your merry way without further discussion with your colleagues about performance, priorities, or big-picture business goals? We certainly hope not! The same is true for your relationship with your 3PL warehousing partner. The relationship simply cannot function optimally without regular communication. As your needs evolve, everything from your logistics strategy to your operational workflow will need to be aligned with changing priorities.
Syncing up with your 3PL on a weekly or monthly basis is an effective way to keep dialogue flowing. During these meetings, you have the opportunity to address anything and everything – new product offerings, upcoming market expansions, challenges or workflow issues, inventory forecasting, you name it. Quarterly, you should consider dedicating one of these meetings to reviewing big-picture objectives with your 3PL warehousing partner. This will allow you to truly maximize your 3PL relationship and continue updating your strategy to accommodate where you are today and where you plan on going tomorrow.
Actively Manage Your 3PL Relationship
As with any vendor, assigning a manager or team to adequately cultivate the relationship is important. Make no mistake: outsourcing your logistics will relieve the daily burden of handling these tasks in-house. However, your 3PL partnership simply cannot thrive without the right resources in place to nurture and oversee the relationship.
For instance, your manager or team would be responsible for organization and planning. Ensuring a cohesive and seamless supply chain requires your company to oversee workflow, develop business goals, factor in variables like upcoming deadlines or seasonality, and convey what deliverables need to be completed. Think beyond a simple point of contact for real success. Similarly, this team would be tasked with relaying shifting priorities to your 3PL, ensuring operations continue running without a hitch. Lastly, having a dedicated resource to manage your 3PL warehousing partner is vital for establishing and monitoring Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
Dig Into the Data
Leaning on your 3PL’s warehouse management system (WMS) will supply you with operational visibility, forecasting metrics, inventory insights, and more. It’s crucial to establish KPIs designed to measure the performance of both you and your 3PL warehousing partner, including metrics that influence customer service, revenue, and productivity.
Think about it: regularly assessing metrics and digging into the data can play an instrumental role in identifying opportunities for improvement, as well as provide the ammo you need to make data-backed decisions. From a long-term perspective, having a firm grasp of your analytics will allow your business to scale, seamlessly navigate seasonal fluctuations, and improve the customer experience.
Uplevel Your 3PL Warehousing Relationship
From improving efficiency and reducing costs to increasing customer loyalty and propelling your business forward, your 3PL warehousing partner should play an active role in helping your company succeed. All it requires? Building a strong relationship with your 3PL.
At Smart Warehousing, we’re passionate about making your logistics as smooth and seamless as possible. With a wide range of customizable solutions, including nationwide 1-2 day shipping, omnichannel integrations, and completely transparent inventory visibility, you can trust your logistics are in safe, smart hands.
Contact us today to learn how we can help your business move closer to achieving your logistics goals.