Principles in Finding a Warehousing Partner

July 20, 2018

Just like with marriage, companies are seeking long-lasting relationships with their "other half." In today's battle of who can deliver products the quickest and the competition heating up to even provide same day delivery; companies are developing networks to this supply chain reality. Many times the solution is to locate closer to your customer and often that means outsourcing your warehousing needs. But, the question remains, "how do you find the right partner?"

Here are five tips to help you properly qualify the best third-party logistics provider (3PL) to create a win-win relationship for your organization and your customer.

1. Location, location, location. Warehousing is real estate in reality. The location means everything, especially in the supply chain. Make sure your warehousing partner is close to your customer base so that they minimize the distance to your customers. For example, if your customer base is primarily in Europe, it would not make sense to have a warehouse in the United States or Australia.  

2. It's all about the culture. A strong cultural fit is the ability to comfortably work together in an environment that is congruent with each other's beliefs, values, and needs. Culture, the environment you have created for employees in your workplace, is made up of the values, beliefs, underlying assumptions, attitudes, and behaviors shared by a group of people. Warehousing partners who are a good cultural fit will work well with your company and will shape the language, decision making, and daily work practices to best represent your company. If you do not find the right cultural fit, the partnership will never prosper in the way that it was originally hoped.

.3. Technology. If you're running a warehouse operation, you’re likely focused on two things: fulfilling orders quickly and minimizing operational costs. 

4. Continuous improvement. The LEAN process and continuous improvement must be incorporated by warehousing partners to maximize the benefit to your customers, drive out costs and improve efficiencies for optimal performance. Lean practices means elimination of waste and continuous improvement, with the belief that changing the system with even small improvements will add up to significant cost savings over time.

5. Quality Control. Focusing on the quality of each order, monitoring and adjusting protocols and processes based on key metrics for the proper packing and shipping of each order can improve the efficiency of your warehousing partner. Most orders will be delivered successfully but catching small mistakes when they occur ensures a higher rate of customer satisfaction and fewer refunds and returns. If you want to improve your warehouse efficiency, you need a well-trained and effective quality control team and process as part of your overall strategy.

6. Certifications. Many products require special certifications for storage or transport. Some of the products that require certifications include food, beverages, medical devices, and pharmaceuticals to name a few. Some examples of certifications are FSSC 22000, ABC, ISO 9001:2008. Your warehouse partner needs to have these certifications because not having them could be costly to your company and your goods.


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