No More Weak Link: How the Right 3PL Can Stop Customer Loss

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Companies are partnering with a new type of Â?sophisticatedÂ? third party logistics provider to eliminate customer loss caused by ever more complex delivery requirements

With all the resources that go into R&D, production, sales and marketing, companies can't afford to miss the last link in the sales chain, which is fail-safe delivery. Because if CEOs and senior executives get delivery wrong in today's JIT, globally competitive marketplace, they can lose not just the order but the customer. Consequently, effective logistics - delivering the right part, in the right way, at the right time and place - is no longer just a backoffice process, but one that directly affects sales and the bottom line. Towards this end, partnering with the right 3PL provider is key.

The fact is, as products rapidly become commodities amid global competition, product availability and on-time, error-free delivery are increasingly critical factors in making the sale. And correct delivery today often means much more than simply getting a product there. It can require complex logistics and flexible response: from JIT delivery of essential parts across international borders to product consolidation, special kitting, packaging, labeling, and invoicing.

But with the complexity of global supply chains, expense of updating warehouse management systems, and rigorous accounting and inventory oversight brought on by Sarbanes-Oxley, companies are re-evaluating the wisdom of keeping critical supply chain management and customer fulfillment services in-house.

As an alternative, many companies are turning to a new breed of “sophisticated” third party logistics provider 3PL, capable of delivering a flexible supply chain management solution.

These sophisticated 3PLs do far more than just offload, store, and ship product - the routine functions of a standard third party logistics provider. Sophisticated 3PLs partner with a company to transparently protect the performance of its brand, ensuring that customers receive what they ordered, when and how they need it. To achieve this, the 3PL integrates fully with customers at all the touchpoints of shipment, including invoicing, inventory management and reconciliation.

To prevent customer loss by safeguarding critical delivery commitments, sophisticated 3PLs like Kenakore Solutions (http://www.kenakoresolutions.com) coordinate supply line variations from global, domestic, and regional sources to ensure on-time production and shipment. They consolidate product from multiple sources so customers get a single, complete shipment rather than multiple partial shipments. They accommodate special requests such as kitting, assembly, labeling, packaging, and private branding.

Such sophisticated 3PLs not only enable JIT delivery, system integration, and real-time Internet tracking, but also inventory analysis to maximize a company's fill-rates, inventory turns, and ROI. They do all this and more for a company, so the company doesn't have to make its own ongoing capital investments in logistics, which can run an initial half-million dollars or more for sophisticated 3PL capability.

In today's demanding marketplace, sophisticated 3PLs are seamlessly helping companies uphold their delivery commitments through customer receipt, providing product with all the customer-required extras.

The bottom line for CEOs and senior executives is that a sophisticated 3PL can provide a flexible, cost-effective supply chain management solution. This can effectively eliminate or reduce customer loss due to problems in the supply chain, without continually diverting capital to upgrade in-house logistics systems or train personnel.

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Kathy Krueger
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