How Can a 3PL Transport Company Better Your Customer Experience
How many times a week, or a day even, do you find your team struggling to keep their heads above water while trying to manage regular operations? Could it be that dealing with logistical and shipping situations and dragging them down? Many organizations deal with this type of problem and in turn it compromises the quality of service they are able to give not just to the company’s overall goal but to its customers as well.
How does it look when you try to do it all?
Especially these days, businesses are fighting to turn a profit and meet their growth goals each quarter, so it makes sense to “run lean” internally and get the most bang for the buck, right? That can look like downsizing a department and handing over additional responsibilities to team members that may or may not be skilled or trained for that specific task. Inevitably this compromises quality of work and creates general dissatisfaction throughout the group.
When it comes to shipping and logistics, your company’s growth can almost always be reliant on how efficient your deliverability of goods is. When you have a warehouse lead that has always been in charge of shipping, but the growth has created nearly a second job for them, this makes it difficult to stay on top of their primary duties. This could be a very small example but the duties that come with additional transportation management trickle down to multiple departments and people.
Whether you are a small business or midsize that find yourselves in the middle of a growth spurt that is forecasted to be sustainable, you would likely want to keep the same quality of service you’ve offered your customers that got you that growth in the first place. Employees that are given more tasks to handle logistical needs, whatever they may be, are not likely going to have the time or capacity they once had to handle a high priority customer issue or the energy to think of innovative ways to problem solve for a particular problem. As this becomes a regular occurrence, over time this will deplete the reputation your company may have once had with your customers and prospective customers may not be as receptive either.
Another notion to think about it what else could your company be doing with all the time spent handling logistics and shipping? Would leaders have more time to nurture their teams? Maybe more time and energy can be spent on innovation and updating outdated processes and SOPs? Time is truly money when it comes to business operations and what you decide as a leader of your organization can make or break the efficiency of that time spent.
But incorporating a 3PL transport company can be risky, right?
Like any major decision made in the company, there is always risk. The goal is to minimize that risk as much as possible without sacrificing your logistical needs while doing so. The best thing to do is first make sure it makes financial sense and ask yourself what you would lose if you were to decide to outsource your shipping operations.
A lot of organizations fear loss of control but if you have done your research, you will know that there are 3PLs out there that have a reputation for open, transparent communication and get to know your business so that your needs will be met with understanding. Another fear is more of a financial one. This can be mitigated by budgeting and a thorough analysis of what it would truly cost the company to utilize a transport 3PL. Doing a deep dive into where your company is at in its life cycle and a detailed forecast of where it will be will also help determine if now is the right time for your organization to outsource its shipping.
The obvious and not-so-obvious benefits of partnering with a 3PL transport company
Flexibility and focus are probably the top-of-mind benefits when thinking of getting with a transport 3PL. Tapping into a long-standing resource that has a network of partners across the country is hugely positive for a company experiencing growth. By using their established connections, you now have access to areas and customers you may not have had before.
Whether your 3PL is asset based or not will also be a factor in determining the control and flexibility you will have when it comes to shipping. If your organization partners with an asset based 3PL, they will have control over all parts of their business. Typically, they will have stronger connections to their partners and have the trusted relationship built already with carriers and agents, so you won’t have to do the heavy lifting.
Your company exist to bring the best of your industry’s products to your customers. Your product is your focus – it is what you are good at. So why try to excel in shipping and logistics if you are not a shipping or logistics company? Your customers are not paying you to be the transportation company to get your product to them, they are buying your product. If the growth of the business has now caused your focus to shift in a more logistical mindset and less of what your product can offer people, it may be time to look into a 3PL transport company.
Why not just hire more people and create a logistics department inside the company? While that could make sense to some companies, if your small or mid-sized it is not likely your organization has the time to turn around a produce an entire department full of experts in the industry that can work alongside your demands and come in under budget. Leaning on a 3PL can ease growing pains without taking on the mountain of work that is building your own internal logistics operations.
Opening up your business to a 3PL transport company typically means getting access to resources you may not have had before like a streamlined returns process and an accurate tracking capability. Maybe you had those before but now less of your time and money will go towards those programs and efforts thus leaving it to the experts. With these resources by your side you would be able to focus more on interaction and spend time listening to the needs of your customers while giving your team the room to grow the company in innovative ways.
Life after partnering with a 3PL transport company and making sure it is “The One”
Knowing that your logistics and shipping are in the right hands brings a sense of security and peace to your organization that goes from the top down. When you spend less time worrying about if the company will be able to sustain growth and more time invested in maintaining and exceeding that growth, good things can happen.
Finding a 3PL that takes the time and gets to know your business is vital. One that is dismissive and pushy to close the contract might be a red flag. Asking questions, negotiating, amending specifics on a term based on your company’s unique needs are all a sign of a promising 3PL transport company. When you have decided on one and begin to work with one, things that may have been a big deal to grapple with are a distant and sometimes non-existent issue that no longer keeps you up at night.
Now that your organization is in rhythm with its 3PL partner, your employees have the time and patience necessary to work on that one customer that may have slipped through the cracks, or maybe they are able to bring new ideas to the table after having the bandwidth to brainstorm freely without logistical fires interrupting them.
Let us help you keep your customer relationships healthy
Meadow Lark is built off nearly 40 years in the transportation industry and we take incredible pride in our teams which has brought us some of the best in the business. Operating with integrity and a culture of problem-solving we continue to bring our customers success and even more growth. We can take your transportation headaches and find solutions that are custom to you and your business needs. Our teams are ready and eager to keep your world turning by using cutting edge software, open communication and a commitment to do the right thing.
Let’s start a conversation, we would love to get to know you and see how we can benefit your business.
Call us at (866) 736-5233 or learn more here.