The success of your organization’s market strategies, sales efforts, and product distribution depend significantly on how well your logistics machinery is working. Be it procuring raw materials to the manufacturing plants or shipping finished goods to the markets worldwide, timely delivery of shipments with highly reliable modes of handling, storage, and transport is what you will need to succeed. Therefore your logistics partner is a critical member who will contribute to the functioning of your business strategies.
Typically cost is the first factor many companies consider when looking for a logistics partner. However, some companies understand that there are other elements such as efficiency and reliability that matter more when choosing a logistic partner. While they are both important, there are other key elements that can weigh in more:
1. Technological Integration
The level of technological integration your logistics partner incorporates into their operation matters more than you can imagine. The supply chain is increasingly becoming digital to make improvements on all fronts thereby increasing complexity and functional interdependency. Logistics service providers can no longer maintain competitive operational efficiency by using manual and outdated methods or working as silo units un-integrated into the grid. Therefore when you chose to bring a logistics partner onboard your operations look into how well their supply chain and its functions are integrated digitally. Start with how they take their bookings, do they have multi-modal transport solutions? Do they have a digital platform to book and manage their shipments that keep all the stakeholders informed?
If you expect to work long-term with the logistics partner who offers an end-to-end solution, look at the ERP platform they are using to manage all the aspects of their logistical functions. A fully digitized logistics partner can seamlessly synchronize with your organizational systems to deliver maximum value.
2. Business Scale and Reach
The world is increasingly becoming smaller with the reach brought about instant connectivity and abundantly available transport. A better logistics partner would be one who ensures that your shipment reaches your customers regardless of where they are located on the globe on time and in good condition. A logistic partner with great reach should also be able to scale along with the growth of your business. One important aspect to consider is whether they can respond immediately to higher demand or scale when you need them to. In the event that they are not able to respond in time, do they have trusted associates who can offer the support you need instantly?
3. Responsiveness to your needs
Customer management is increasingly becoming important to businesses as most of the revenue comes from customer loyalty. Does your logistics provider have a quick and responsive customer service team who can go the extra mile to give you the solution needed or are they reliable during times of great need? Does your logistics partner have customer service teams who can take ownership of the tasks or processes outsourced to them? It’s also important that they are skilled enough to foresee problems and act proactively to find the most optimal solution. A dedicated customer service team is essential for the logistics machinery to run smoothly.
4. Business Ethics
Even when all the desired attributes such as technology, connectivity, processes, systems, and support teams are in place, do they have the business ethics that can make them a trusted partner to your organization? Beyond your regular KYC checks and accepting their partnership look into key areas such as the transparency of their transactions and dealings. Do they have a reliable track record and what is their reputation in the market? Look into their reviews and how their teams interact with the customers. Do they follow the best industry practices or do they take shortcuts and compromise on the safety of their own teams or the shipment of their clients? These questions will help to know if you can build a long-term partnership with the provider.
5. Experience and stability
Experience is what matters when things do not go according to the plan and schedule in the logistics industry. One of your major considerations is to know how well your logistics partner can handle processes when things go outside the limits of the guidelines. A stable logistics partner will have the technical know-how to meet unforeseen challenges and respond appropriately to ensure your supply chain stays on time and on budget.
Finding a reliable logistics partner in an ocean of competitive players can become a daunting task when you are uncertain of how to pick one. While all of them can make you the best-looking offer, the above-mentioned attributes can help you sift through to the right logistics partner who can bring you the most value.