Frustrations with 3PLs happen. Here’s how to avoid them.
In theory, partnering with a third-party logistics (3PL) provider means you keep your inventory organized, fulfill orders, and cost-effectively get your shipments out on time. But working with a 3PL isn’t always easy. If your 3PL isn’t functioning as it should, you might see misplaced inventory, incorrect orders, and delayed or lost shipments. And it’s highly likely these issues put a dent in your bottom line.
Dealing with these frustrations isn’t what you signed up for when you partnered with your 3PL. Take a look at some common 3PL frustrations below, and read on to find out what to look for in a good 3PL partner.
1. Lack of experience with big retailers
Big-box retail stores have stringent requirements for the shipments they accept. Often, retailers have their own individual requirements about pallets and labels so they can automatically scan all deliveries quickly when they arrive at their distribution centers. To work with big-name brands, companies need to ensure their 3PL has experience shipping to these retailers, and that they’re well prepared to handle the amount of freight that comes their way.
2. Little to no customer support
As your business evolves, you need to know your 3PL has your back — and that they’re ready and able to help you overcome the challenges that come with growth. However, 3PLs often serve a vast number of clients and don’t offer expert account managers who know you and your business as if they are part of your team. Your 3PL should make customer support their first priority. After all, you should expect excellence from your order fulfillment partner.
3. Lasting impact on customer satisfaction
Customer satisfaction and opinion are extremely important for your company, not only to increase sales but also to extend the life of your business. If orders aren’t getting to customers the way they should be, your customers might lose faith in your company or your products. You could accumulate negative reviews, or even lose customers for life. Regular shipping errors take a toll on customer satisfaction for the long term, and trying to remedy shipping errors creates extra work for your team. Hence, it’s critical your 3PL prioritizes customer satisfaction just as much as you do.
4. Outdated technology
With so many orders going out and so much inventory to keep track of, it’s hard to stay organized without the right technology. However, many 3PL companies are still relying on outdated systems that don’t have the necessary capacity to handle all orders. Without that level of oversight, products end up in the wrong boxes and distribution centers. Inevitably, outdated technology leads to inaccurate shipments and unhappy customers. A quality 3PL will have the technology to manage and track every single SKU in your inventory.
5. Unclear invoices
When it comes to invoices, a 3PL can be a black hole. Do you really know what you’re paying for? Unless you receive detailed invoices, you probably don’t and it’s hard to know where you could potentially cut back and save money. To have complete knowledge of your 3PL spending, it’s important that you receive invoices that break costs down in an easily understandable way.
What to Look for in a 3PL
Your 3PL partner shouldn’t just get the basics right — it should also have processes in place to go above and beyond for you and your business. When you know what to look for in a 3PL, you can avoid common frustrations. Be on the lookout for the following in your 3PL provider:
● Investment in technology. The 3PL you choose should rely on technology as a pillar of its company. Modern technology can help your orders get to the right place at the right time. Today’s systems can help consolidate SKUs, manage inventory, and even give you insight into how to lower costs.
● Cost transparency. When it comes to third-party shipping, you tend to get what you pay for. But partnering with a 3PL should be an investment in professional services — not in extra fees that hurt your bottom line. The 3PL you choose should also offer detailed invoices that give you insight into where your money is going and where you might be able to save.
● A commitment to customer satisfaction. Your 3PL shouldn’t be satisfied with providing barebones services. They should strive to ensure you feel like a valued client. The right 3PL will offer dedicated account managers with an intimate knowledge of your business needs.
● A relationship with big retail brands. Any 3PL you choose should be more than familiar with big retail stores. This experience will eliminate hiccups when your items arrive at a retailer’s distribution center, and will ensure that your wholesale order fulfillment goes according to plan.
A 3PL Committed to Customer Satisfaction
Enlinx is an omnichannel 3PL that delivers quality and exceeds customer expectations. Enlinx is committed to accuracy, speed, and transparency, so your products are shipped out on time and to the right location — and you stay in the loop the entire time. No matter your fulfillment needs, Enlinx has the tools and know-how to flawlessly execute even the most complex orders. With dedicated account managers, detailed invoicing, competitive pricing, modern technology, and extensive industry experience, we offer everything you need to simplify and supercharge order fulfillment.
Enlinx is a smart investment for companies looking for exceptional service and perfect deliveries. Contact Enlinx for a free quote, and to see the difference an experienced, dedicated 3PL partner can make for your business.