How to Select the Right Fulfillment Partner
Doing your homework is the key to establishing a successful fulfillment partnership. Knowing how to internally prepare, what to look for, and what questions to ask a fulfillment center will set you up for success. We’ll cover everything you need to select the right fulfillment 3PL partner.
When you outsource fulfillment services, you’re essentially entrusting the customer experience to a third-party. Poor service reflects directly on your brand – not on your provider. In fact, a recent study found that 94 percent of consumers blame the retailer for poor delivery, while only 42 percent blame carrier provider.
While it can be unsettling to entrust a 3PL with that level of responsibility, outsourcing can actually have a positive impact on the customer experience. In the 2017 Third-Party Logistics Study by John Langley, Jr., Ph.D., and Capgemini, 86 percent of shippers said that the use of 3PLs has contributed to improved customer service.
Preparing Your Search
Whether you’re exploring the benefits of outsourcing third party logistics for the first time or just looking to change order fulfillment and 3PL partners, starting the search for a fulfillment partner can feel like a daunting task. Luckily, we’ve simplified the process.
First, define and document your 3PL requirements. What are your priorities? What results do you want from a fulfillment company? What does your supply chain require to function at its highest efficiency? Also, determine what logistical responsibilities will remain in-house and handled by staff.
Teamwork is key for your supply chain. Since your logistical partner impacts multiple stakeholders, build an internal multi-functional team to select your 3PL candidate. Switching to a new 3PL partner or outsourcing fulfillment is a big change which is why there will be wider acceptance and higher compliance if everyone concerned is involved from the start.
Questions to Ask a Fulfillment Center
Once your third party logistics needs are defined, documented, and understood by your selection team, it’s time to find candidates. What should you look for in a fulfillment center? Use the information gathered during your preparation stage to build a list of possible providers. You can use Google to search for order fulfillment partners that focus on your specific needs such as shipping, automated inventory management, and high-volume capabilities.
Before you make final selections, you’ll want to contact each of the potential fulfillment centers you’ve shown interest in. Below are questions to ask your potential 3PL partners. Read More
1. Do you offer solutions in multiple segments of the supply chain?
The more solutions available to you from a single fulfillment provider, the more seamless your supply chain operation will be.
2. Do you have the capacity to upscale operations?
When your company grows, warehouse storage needs will increase. A long-term partner should have the capacity and ability to expand warehouse storage based on your needs.
3. What is your national presence?
A strategic national footprint reduces time to market and shipping costs. You need to know if the fulfillment service you’re being offered can warehouse, fulfill, and ship close to the customer.
4. How do you manage domestic and overseas suppliers?
If sourcing product is one of your requirements, your fulfillment companypr will need the expertise, knowledge, and connections to manage domestic and overseas suppliers.
5. Do you offer customization, systems integration, detailed inventory management, and custom reporting?
A one-size-fits-all template may not always be the ideal solution for your business.
6. Are there client references available?
An existing client’s feedback is the best indication of the performance and reputation of the fulfillment service.
Does Your 3PL Deliver Service Excellence?
A strong 3PL recognizes their role as an extension of your brand. They understand the magnitude of this responsibility and take the commitment to uphold your reputation seriously.
When building your list of potential partners, contact BR. Here at BR Printers, we’re committed to partnering with companies and brands like you. We have the warehouse space, expertise, and connections to build you a fulfillment solution that delights your customers and saves you time, resources, and money.