One of the biggest problems facing sales and distributions teams in 3PLs today is a lack of proper communication between the two teams about the customers that they are both attempting to serve. This is especially true at medium and large sized companies that have departments which are staffed by dozens (if not hundreds) of employees.
But luckily, IT systems are stepping up to fill the gap.
Bridging the Gap between Sales and Distribution
Under the old style of information management, it could be easy for a customer to become dissatisfied with the disorganization inherent in these types of setups. A customer would call the sales team and place an order, for example, but in the journey from sales person to fulfillment team, plenty of things can get scrambled-- numbers or addresses can be entered wrong, products can be mislabeled-- making the company look bad and customers unhappy at the same time.
In today's modern business climate, however, there are a variety of different IT programs and logistics solutions that are capable of bringing peace to these two warring factions.
Partnership May Be the Answer You're Looking for
Many of logistics solutions are possible thanks to advances being made by third party logistics providers (3PLs) on a regular basis. The sole responsibility of these types of companies is supply chain management, so they have the specialized knowledge you need of warehousing services, transportation, and, perhaps most importantly, how to integrate your operations.
There are many opportunities in the routing of a product for the sales and distribution teams at your company to fall out of sync with one another. The product needs to travel from concept to final destination, all while making many different stops along the way. Third party logistics solution providers ease a bit of these burdens by offering services like transportation logistics which oversees transportation services, freight solutions, supply chain engineering and more.
A 3PL could also, for example, act as a service developer, helping your business implement important features like a personalized IT system that allows your sales team to note specific packaging or handling instruction on products handled by your distribution, facilitate cross docking, and provide the ability to track and trace certain items and more.
Keeping Customers Satisfied
In addition to order fulfillment, sales and distribution teams can also fall out of sync with one another in customer interaction. The sales team is usually the first point of contact that a customer has with your company. However, all issues that arise in the sales process aren't necessarily handled by that particular point of contact.
There are likely a few different departments or employees that a customer can (and will) call with issues at any given time, including representatives on the distribution team-- especially if you're a manufacturer supplying your products for resale.
And when a customer calls the distribution team with a sales issue, it may be difficult for that information to get back to the appropriate person.
With IT logistics solutions, however, all information about customers can be stored in a centralized CRM database that all departments have access to at all times. When a customer calls with a concern, all departments will have access to that information for future reference--regardless of who the customer actually called and spoke with. These types of IT solutions make it significantly easier for departments to not only communicate with one another but also to collaborate on fulfilling customer needs and addressing any and all concerns that they may have.
Here's the Bottom Line
The important lesson to take away from the discussion is that both the sales and distribution teams at a company need access to all relevant information about customer concerns at all times in order to do their jobs effectively.
By collaborating with a 3PL and implementing the right type of IT logistics solutions for your business, you can help facilitate communication between these two departments. You won't only be making your employees lives significantly easier on a daily basis, you'll also be going a long way towards dramatically increasing customer satisfaction as well.