Designing Your Business to Meet Customer Expectations
By Tracy Rosser, Executive Vice President of Operations, Transplace
The modern business world has brought many new innovations, and the transportation industry has become a beneficiary to a number of these changes over the past few years. And while technology is one obvious aspect of industry evolution, it could be argued that the most impactful change to affect the industry is the expectations of the end consumer.
Due to the rise of the “Amazon Effect” and growing customer demands, businesses are faced with the challenge of delivering goods directly to the doorstep of an end customer within days (or even hours). These new expectations have shaped the inner workings of the logistics industry, especially in terms of the level of customer service needed to stay competitive in today’s market.
To succeed in this increasingly-demanding environment, shippers need actionable analytics, and those organizations that fail to provide these experiences to its customers and properly leverage data are often missing the big picture. That’s where the right 3PL can help.
This is the topic that I recently had the opportunity to discuss with Adrian Gonzalez on an episode of Talking Logistics. Below, are some of the key insights shared during our conversation about what it takes to meet the expectations of the modern customer, and what shippers should expect from their 3PLs to help them achieve the necessary efficiency and optimization required in their supply chain.
Destroy Your Silos and View Your Supply Chain Holistically
Today, customers have more ways of achieving convenience and expect retailers to constantly create better, more efficient and reliable convenience for them. This could include free and expedited shipping or having dependable inventory in a brick-and-mortar store. In order for organizations to achieve success in this marketplace, they must create efficiencies across their entire supply chain.
Transportation is just one component of a supply chain that must work in harmony with other parts in order to be effective. Companies must take a holistic approach to serving customers by eliminating silos and fully understanding their end-to-end supply chain today in terms of customer service.
Efficiency Must Work Hand in Hand with Sustainability
The modern generation of consumers care about sustainability, so the question becomes: how do you run an efficient supply chain that’s also environmentally-friendly? Companies need to consider where they are shipping products from and how much packaging is being utilized. It’s important for companies to understand these aspects of their business, all while being good stewards of the environment and serving a customer base. Consumers didn’t think about the environmental impact of business five or 10 years ago, but now shippers must address them as part of their business model.
How the Right 3PL Can Help You Meet the Needs of Your End Customer
3PLs are in a unique position as shippers trust logistics providers to execute on their behalf and help fulfill their customer’s expectations. When looking to select a partner to work with, shippers should be taking into consideration questions such as:
- Does the logistics provider have a deep and intimate understanding of your business and your customer’s business?
- What is the 3PL doing to gain and build your trust?
- Does the provider truly understand your mission and purpose?
- Can the 3PL provide strategic insights such as both customer service strategies and cost-saving strategies?
- Do your company cultures align?
A logistics provider should be seen as an important extension of a shipper’s supply chain organization and should be truly integrated into their full business function.
Your 3PL Must Do More Than Execute, They Need to Provide You with Real Value
At a basic function, logistics providers must be able to execute on delivering shipments. However, businesses across every industry are looking for more than just execution. Shippers need actionable insights that go beyond just the raw data to help improve business operations and better serve customers. 3PL providers that are doing a great job of executing should have tremendous access to data and insights that can help shippers find and create value, as well as figure out where the waste is in a network, work to eliminate it and help provide tremendous value for the end consumer.
Are you interested in learning more about how the modern consumer is impacting supply chains? Watch my full conversation with Adrian Gonzalez here!
What is your organization doing to meet customer expectations?