If shipping, warehousing and fulfillment center services are not your core business, outsourcing makes perfect sense—provided you choose the right vendor. Not all fulfillment centers are created equal. To make sure your company runs smoothly, your brand is well represented and business growth is assured, it's crucial to choose and manage vendor relationships well.
While you are paying the vendor for their services, your relationship must go deeper than that. Why spend time researching your vendor, rather than going with just any service provider?
Get more than your money’s worth.
When you put effort into building an excellent vendor relationship and collaboration, you can get a higher level of service than you are really paying for. Companies that manage vendors skillfully have their own type of leverage to ensure they get the best service from each vendor: good will.
- Choose a vendor that is willing to accommodate your current needs.
- Find a partner that understands your business and can help you plan for future fulfillment requirements to grow your company.
- Maintain a good relationship with your main contact(s) at the vendor company.
Maintain your good brand reputation.
To the public, your vendors are all but invisible. As far as the consumer is concerned, the services of your fulfillment center, even if outsourced, are inseparable from your brand. If potential customers begin to read reviews of poor fulfillment (late shipments, damaged or poorly packaged products, etc.) yours is the brand that will suffer—not the vendor’s.
Since business reputation is on the line, purchasing and procurement agents must choose an exemplary fulfillment partner, with a proven record of success, to handle company logistics.
Your fulfillment center can make or break your customer relationship. Excellent logistics and product delivery services make you look great in the eyes of the consumer and can help you gain a customer for life. Customers will stay loyal to a company with quick, accurate and responsive fulfillment services. If your vendor is truly excellent, you may even consider giving them more business and benefit from a wider variety of integrated services.
Increase productivity with streamlined processes.
Choose a fulfillment partner who makes it easy for you to handle day to day interactions and who provides you with excellent reporting and data. Only elite warehousing outsourcers are so well organized.
The best fulfillment providers integrate seamlessly into your business systems and workflow to save you time, increase your productivity and mitigate risk so that your product shipments and promotional mailings are trouble-free. Stellar shipping vendors typically offer a wider variety of integrated services that you can profit from now and into the future.
How to Choose an Ideal Vendor Partner
Your vendor choice is a reflection on you, making your fulfillment vendor your partner, for better or worse—so select the best. Since you can't blame poor service on the vendor and must take responsibility for their service as part of your business, you'll want a logistics partner that can really deliver. The best providers offer you:
- Data transparency at necessary levels depending upon the user (so that customers can access detailed tracking on their order while in transit and your staff can pull reports as needed).
- Sophisticated inventory management systems and seasonal scalability.
- Strategic planning in IT and fulfillment that prevents problems in shipping.
- Personalized solutions that provide a customized package of related services to support your business.
Ideally, choose a vendor who communicates proactively with you and demonstrates understanding of your business model. The right vendor ensures that you avoid supply chain mishaps, helps you deal with headaches such as supplier errors and helps plan for your future needs.
Choose the best outsourced fulfillment center for your business, and you will have more than a service provider, you’ll have a business partner that is instrumental in your success.