If you're a newbie to business (or not), take extra time to think about yours and your customer's needs in your business. Try to go for a warehouse that specialises in your type of service or product. For example, if you need a company who can deal with dangerous goods then ensure that they have all the right certifications to do this for you. Be direct and clear about what your expectations are from the very beginning and this should set the tone for your future relationship with your 3PL team.
Having stock in multiple fulfilment warehouse locations can be an ideal situation for you if your products and services require a broad delivery network throughout the country. By having several locations of stock, you can reduce your shipping costs and mileage. This will result in shorter delivery times, less cost, and ultimately, happier customers!
Write all your questions down - these will all probably relate to the requirements you wrote down for tip no.1 in this article. Your shortlisted fulfilment warehouse should be able to answer your questions, offer solutions and ease any concerns. Never be afraid of asking too many questions - you are entitled to know exactly what goes on in the whole process of fulfilment. Make sure you have all the answers you need before you go ahead.
Visiting your fulfilment warehouse in person is not completely essential or possible, especially in recent times, so if you are unable to do this you can perhaps request a virtual tour so that you can get a feel of how things work, what the staff are like, if you're all on the same page and whether you feel like it would be good home for your products. It's important to like and feel good about the centre and team who will be handling your goods so don't be afraid to ask to be shown all of these things.
Remember, you are not bound forever to a fulfilment centre when you sign up with them. A decent fulfilment centre should always offer to let you run a free trial with them for a short period of time so that you can test the waters, analyse the process and possibly feedback on your expectations. A good 3PL team should also be flexible and work with you to solve any obstacles that may appear.
Final key points to consider: take your time and ask plenty of questions. Your fulfilment team are there to help your business grow, which in turn, will enable them to grow too, so remember it is a 2-way relationship. Pick your 3PL partner carefully and good luck!
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From The Team @ Cloud9 x