When we talk about value-added services, we’re talking about the ways your third-party logistics (3PL) provider can make your job easier. Your product is unique and requires a certain amount of care when you ship it to brick-and-mortar stores, and you need to be able to communicate with your 3PL about how best they can help you.
What’s The Most Tedious?
The first step in this process is to think about your product—how it’s shipped and how it’s produced—and then to think about the most tedious part of the process. Do you have metal pins in men’s dress shirts, and do you have to remove those? Do you have especially large product that you have to get onto trucks, making shipping inefficient? The goal is to think about the issues you have with shipping and distribution and to then communicate with your 3PL about how they can best remedy the problem.
What Are The Strengths Of Your 3PL?
Play to your strengths, and play to the strengths of your 3PL. You might be able to talk with them about white glove delivery, or running multiple shipping routes depending on weather or traffic. The goal is to begin a conversation and to hear from 3PLs what their strengths are. This is a creative process that, oftentimes, will lead to efficient strategies neither had considered before.
How Can You Keep The Conversation Going?
Your product and its distribution will likely change from quarter to quarter, year to year, and you need to have a continuing conversation with your 3PL about these changes. Keep them up-to-date on changes as they occur. They will appreciate this conversation as much as you will.
How Capable Is Your 3PL Of Meeting Your Growth?
As your business grows, you’ll also need to define how capable your 3PL is of growing with you and meeting your distribution needs. With more and more hubs and distribution centers that are required, you need to make sure that your 3PL is able to continue offering value-added services as you build more retail stores. So examining quarterly reports from your 3PL will give you a good gauge of how well they’re able to meet your own growth as a business.