There are many articles written about why it is important to segment your company and find your niche. However, the focus tends to be solely on finding that niche and how it will affect your company, without regard to how it will affect your partnered services. We’ve seen that niche segmentation can both benefit your company’s bottom line, customer satisfaction, and drive overall growth in a measured and sustainable way. It can also affect other attached services, such as company’s 3PL partner, and the resources you allot towards those services. There are countless reasons and benefits to refining your niche market, but it’s dependent on your particular business plan and long term strategy.
From this list, we hope to have shared the benefits of maximizing your business by finding your target and product markets within a niche. It may be uncomfortable to put yourself into one specific market, yet in terms of resources, generating value, customer service, and efficiency, it can be a great step toward making your company a lasting and legendary success.
By being a logistics service provider, we are not surprisingly behind the scenes when it comes to e-commerce. However, we have a unique perspective: one that stems from the fulfilling, shipping, and managing of online orders. E-commerce is the newer and exciting realm of commerce that does not require a storefront, although it has its own set of unique challenges. In fact, e-commerce is even more competitive than regular retail for a multitude of reasons. Substantial and varying competition, loyal brand followers, resource allotment, SEO, customer satisfaction, marketing, and of course, order fulfillment are all aspects of e-commerce that can hurt online businesses, especially those just opening their “doors”. So how can you combat these commerce hurdles? At Langham Logistics, we have curated a simple list of 8 things that all e-commerce small business owners and those thinking of starting one, should know and understand to both improve their business processes prior to jumping in and increase their chances of success.
Regardless of e-commerce’s high-level of competition, it is a great opportunity to become a business owner at a significantly lower risk compared to opening a brick and mortar store. Whether you are considering taking the e-commerce plunge or are already knee-deep, get out there and put your strategy to work!
Not everyone understands why companies need supply chain consulting. Perhaps they are looking to streamline their logistics processes or benchmark their operations against similar industries. Whatever the case, Langham can help improve your supply chain efficiency.
Throughout the United States and other industrialized countries, there are thousands of 3PL providers. With endless choices available to business owners, how do you differentiate and choose the one that offers all the right services for your company?
Here are a few things that you should do before you make the jump into a new partnership.
Take a Hard Look at Your Business
The first step any business should take when beginning the process of outsourcing to a 3PL is to make sure that your team is ready. Understanding your budgets, the opportunities available, and if your company is financially stable are all considerations. Outsourcing your logistics is a major step and can have benefits that will allow your business to grow, but you need to establish current and future objectives to make sure you are making the most informed decision. A good question to ask your team is: “When we are sitting around this table a year from now celebrating the success of this decision, what things will have changed?”
Collect Basic Information
Develop a RFI. These are questions that all 3PL providers should be able to answer quickly that may narrow your selection down.
Information to ask for in your RFI include:
Narrow and Develop a RFP
Next, develop a RFP. Spend time on this, and be as specific and detailed as possible. In some ways, this is the first draft of a contract and will allow you to weigh the pros and cons of each service provider.
Here is a short list of what you should include:
Once you send out your RFPs, create a checklist of how you want to compare the results. Sit down with a small team from all departments in order to create a well-rounded list that covers all areas of this potential relationship with the new 3PL provider. What does everyone want from this relationship? How will it help internal departments develop and grow? What value will this 3PL provider bring to your company? Ask lots of questions and get lots of feedback.
Meet with the Final Candidates
The next step in the 3PL selection is to sit down face to face with a few of your chosen finalists and interview them. Ask them about their company history, philosophy, client satisfaction, technology, and problems that they have helped solved for clients. Take a tour of the facility and talk to the different departments. Look at their equipment and make sure it will meet your needs. Ask about their quality processes and how they handle problems.
Always choose a provider that can give your company the best experience and service. It’s best not to focus on cost as your main criteria in the selection process. Focus on what is going to bring the most value to your company, customers, and new 3PL partnership. You get what you pay for, and at the end of the day, your 3PL provider will be the last touch before your product arrives at your customer.
In an ideal situation:
It’s hard to believe that 25 years ago today in 1988, that we opened our doors for business. This milestone provides us with an opportunity to both reflect on our past and look forward to what the future holds. We are delighted to send a short message to recognize and thank all of you: our clients, co-workers, business partners and friends, both past and present. We would also like to thank our families for having the patience and the indulgence that allow us to invest the time and energy necessary to work diligently to build this organization into what it is today. Without all of you, the past 25 years would not have been possible.
Although we have come a long way, we know that the logistics industry will continue to evolve, and we are already looking ahead to the opportunities and challenges that will exist in the next 25 years. We believe that our culture of passion for delivering customer solutions will continue to be a differentiator for us. It is this very passion, and our relationship with you, our clients, customers, and friends, that will remain the foundation for our future. For this, we thank you and look forward to many more years together.
Please save the date of September 12th, 2013 to come and celebrate with us at our headquarters office in Indianapolis!
Thank you for a great 25 years. Here’s to the next 25!
The Langham Team
Visibility in a supply chain is simply a streamlined series of links, internal and external communication, and data exchange that allow multiple parties including suppliers, clients, customers, 3PL providers, etc. the ability to track, manage and control their shipping and deliveries. As always in the logistics world, these processes are extremely complex and require a proactive approach on all fronts to execute successfully. However once implemented, having increased visibility makes your company’s processes transparent; thus more efficient.
Distribution is often linked or made synonymous with the word logistics. In everyday jargon, these two terms are often interchanged and replace one another in some form, but they are in fact quite different. Distribution is essentially the movement of relocation of sold goods. It is the processes, routes, and techniques it takes to get a product from point A to point B, C, D, and however many in between. Logistics, on the other hand, focuses on the bigger picture, the entire story of a product’s life from manufacturing to consumption. Logistics in itself can include distribution alongside fulfillment, warehousing, transportation, supply chain, etc.