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The Profile of a Value-Added Logistics Provider

By Len Batcha – CFO/President

Technical Transportation, Inc

For manufacturers looking to get the most ROI from their investment in a logistics program, finding the right third-party logistics provider (3PL) is more than just choosing based on price. It’s about finding a true partner that can bring value-added services to the supply chain.

So what should you look for beyond price? When considering your options, there are several criteria to consider that will elevate the typical transport/delivery model that some providers offer. Below are some of the additional criteria you should look for in order to get the best value for your investment.

A Single-Source Provider

There’s no need for you to juggle and manage all the moving parts of your supply chain. The right 3PL partner will ideally be a one-stop, single-source provider for you. They should be able to help you consolidate vendor activities and manage all facets for you, creating a network of partners that they oversee to get the job done without unnecessary coordination on your part.

In addition, with a single contact for all of your logistics needs improves efficiencies for you by being your interface for multiple activities. This dedicated team or individual would intimately get to know your company’s product and processes while providing concierge-like services, assisting in achieving your supply chain goals. They should be your go-to resource and an extension of your internal team.

Managing the operational side of your logistics, the right partner for you will also handle the administrative side of logistics, and simplify any scheduling, contracting and billing so you only have to deal with a single invoice.

Will Be an Expert on You

If your logistics provider is not willing to learn and understand the required processes and nuances of your products to minimize issues, then they’re not the partner for you.

Your logistics partner should also be a seamless extension of your brand. That means they must be eagerly willing to learn about your company’s values, culture and expectations. As your brand ambassador, they should then deliver upon those values with a high level of customer service by seeing each opportunity through until it meets the end customer’s ultimate satisfaction.

Delivering specialized equipment requires skill, experience and product knowledge. The ideal partner would have a fully scalable, in-house training program to certify that their service teams can properly handle your equipment.

A good training program assures that your logistics provider’s field service and delivery technicians understand your process expectations and how to best represent your brand to your customers. This includes complying with your procedures; understanding proper equipment handling; maintaining consistency for all deliveries; and meeting quality control and assurance standards.

The best training programs should enhance customer satisfaction while minimizing associated costs and include:

  • Remote learning capabilities
  • Video courses
  • Written instructions and reference documentation
  • Online testing
  • Proof and certification of completion

Goes the Extra Mile

Sometimes typical delivery and transportation services aren’t enough, especially in the realm of highly complex equipment where even a minor mishap can have major consequences.

In addition to understanding the intricacies of your products, your provider should also be able to create customized procedures that will serve the best interests of you, your products and your customers. Outsourced teams must also be nimble in the field to expertly handle any unexpected complications that may arise anywhere in the supply chain.

That provider of choice should have the capability to not only transport and deliver your products, but expertly set up and install them to full working capacity. At the end of the process, your customer should be able to use the product as fully intended. A partner whose field services teams can do initial installations frees up your internal field service team for activities that are more profitable or revenue-generating.

In addition, real-time tracking and confirmation of where your product is at any moment has become an expectation for most people today. Your provider should have a robust IT infrastructure in place that makes it possible to track your shipment at any time, and also receive real-time confirmation–with signature and photo evidence–of the successful delivery and installation of your products.

If you are looking for a 3PL partner and need help determining the right fit for your company, then contact us today and we’d be happy to assist.

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