Signs It’s Time to Change Your Fulfillment Center
Cost is a major factor when it comes to choosing a fulfillment center. When you signed up with your 3PL, you were likely given a quote for their services, covering everything from shipping to picking and packing. While it’s normal to pay slightly above or below that since a quote is only an estimate. The only exception would be if your business has been expanding, in which case it makes sense to pay more relative to your volume. But, if that’s truly what’s happening, then you should be able to renegotiate your current rates to reflect your growth. Either way, an increase in pricing is always worth looking into.
Your 3PL is there to help you grow. Period. More space, more manpower, and more technology should equal a booming business — but what happens when that's not the case?
While being objective about your own track record is essential, it's equally important to analyze how your fulfillment partner contributed to your business. Are they helping you reach a more extensive customer base? Allowing you more time to focus on things like marketing and product development? Saving you money? If the answer is no to any of these questions, then it's time for a change.
When you partner up with a fulfillment center, you want to be paired with computer geeks, not computer jocks. It's an overlooked fact, but powerful technology is one of the core elements of fulfillment. Without it, things like software integration, order management, and inventory forecasting are practically impossible. A 3PL is responsible for providing technological goods and making your software experience intuitive and user-friendly. Take stock of your current needs and see if your 3PL can match them. Suppose you're starting to think that your 3PL has more of a technological knack than your fulfillment center. In that case, it's time to log out of this business partnership.
Deep Radio Silence Signals
It sure is frustrating to not hear back from someone. Now apply that to a professional setting, and you've got a recipe for disaster. Granted, you probably don't want to get blown up with notifications and emails every hour, but a daily or weekly check-in is often all it takes to establish a baseline of rapport. Without some updates, it's hard to tell if things are going well… or if tiny elves have broken into your 3PL's warehouse and stolen all your products. It also goes without saying that your questions and concerns should be addressed promptly. Constant delays and incomplete answers are a clear indicator that communication may not be your 3PL's strong suit. If that's the case, then it's better to see yourself out and find a fulfillment center that plays with a full deck.
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