Building a relationship with your 3PL provider means more than just getting quotes, choosing a provider and moving product into a warehouse for storage. There are points of contact during each step of the process that will help to build a rapport between you and the 3PL provider. But why would you want or need to build a relationship with the 3PL provider? Can’t they just handle the product and leave it out of your hands? The simple answer is yes, they could. But that’s not beneficial for either the 3PL or you, the customer.
Think about how much smoother anything goes when you have a strong relationship with the person handling it. If you are at a restaurant would you rather have the crabby or impersonal server that just throws your meal down on the table and fills your coffee cup quickly in passing (while probably spilling all over the table), or the attentive server who helps you choose a great meal, checks in periodically to see if you need anything and is there to clean up any messes, should they happen?
In a lot of ways, having a good relationship with your 3PL provider can be like having that attentive server at your favorite restaurant.
As Jean Parupsky said in last week’s post, “We are an extension of our client’s business and we work together as if we were at the same company.” Our people are here to make storage and distribution easier for our clients. Why would anybody outsource their logistics operation to a third party if it made the job harder? Each client has a designated Customer Service Rep who is there to answer any questions about invoicing, inventory levels and all day-to-day operations.
Customer Service Reps also get to know the patterns that go with each of their clients. In many cases they anticipate orders based on the account’s recent history, allowing them to catch mistakes before they even happen. If an order comes in for a product that usually goes out on a different day or in a different quantity our customer service reps are there to check in with the client and determine if that is really what they want or if a mistake was made.
Client Solutions Specialists are also here to make sure that an operation is running smoothly. They may check in periodically, asking a client how a project is going or learn about new needs. They are not just making sales calls; they are here to help each client’s project run as efficiently as possible by introducing new services and options for the job at hand.
In a lot of cases Customer Service Reps know how to navigate and operate customer systems as well as, if not better than, many people at the company they are working with. This means they can be the first ones to dig in if there is a problem with any project. Because they are trained in both our systems and the clients, they can find transactions and clear up errors. Due to the mutual trust Customer Service Reps and their clients generally have, discrepancies can be handled without headaches from either party.
There are plenty of ways to build a strong relationship with your 3PL provider, and a lot of benefits to doing so. It can help with efficiency, quality and even can reduce possible errors. Growing a quality business relationship with your 3PL provider is easy through strong communication and trust.
Thanks for reading, be sure to check back next week to learn about our growing industry and business!