PenguinPickUp Insists on a 3PL That Aligns with Their Values and Growth Plans

The Brand

Calming the complexity of urban last mile deliveries, pick ups, and returns. 

PenguinPickUp offers secure, convenient, simple package delivery and collection. With nearly 40 stores located in mainly dense urban areas across Canada – including Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver – the brand offers a network of convenient locations where shoppers can ship their online orders. The company also helps retailers simplify last mile logistics by shipping multiple customer orders to a single location. The result is a win-win, where shoppers don’t need to worry about being home for deliveries and retailers solve the expensive last mile problem.  

This robust business model has steadily fueled PenguinPickUp’s growth since 2014.  “We’re continuously finding ways to deliver services that our customers want, whether that be our B2B partners or the consumers that we’re servicing,” says Brad Baker, Vice President Operations at PenguinPickUp. “Our business is growing rapidly across Canada and we rely on great partners to make that work seamlessly.”

The Challenge

Insourcing logistics impedes long-term growth plans.

In the beginning, PenguinPickUp was insourcing logistics using only their internal teams. While this approach worked effectively at first, as the team began onboarding new customers and scaling the business, it became clear that they were quickly outgrowing their insourcing model. 

“If we were going to scale and be able to deliver new services, we knew we needed to bring on the right 3PL (third-party logistics) partner,” says Baker. “Reliability and service quality were our main criteria as we began our search.” 

The company leaned into their network to scan the marketplace for viable 3PL alternatives. That’s when a trusted customer partner first told them about GoBolt. The PenguinPickUp team researched companies for two months before moving into discussions with GoBolt. 

“We were drawn to GoBolt because of their reputation for on-time and quality service,” says Baker. “We trusted that GoBolt would represent our brand well to partners and customers.”

The Solution

A 3PL partner that aligns with logistics needs and company values.

PenguinPickUp now relies on GoBolt to provide the mid-mile transport services, getting their retail partners’ goods from distribution centers or collection points to PenguinPickUp locations. 

From the start, Baker and team had a profound sense that they could depend on GoBolt as a partner for many important reasons. “Reliability and on-time delivery are base-level competencies,” says Baker. “Beyond that, we were really looking for values alignment and organizational synergies. That’s what made GoBolt stand out for us. Not only can they deliver quality service, they’re a strong partner that’s interested in growing with us. All of this makes it easier to work together day to day.”

Sustainability was also a considerable factor for PenguinPickUp, and the importance has only grown over the past few years. “We believe in making cities more livable and taking action to make our world more sustainable,” says Baker. “Knowing how much that also means to our customers makes it critical to have a partner like GoBolt that lives and breathes that mission alongside us.” 

Baker says the litmus test for him is how comfortable he feels with GoBolt showing up at one of their customer’s warehouses or distribution centers. “They are an extension of us,” he says. “It requires a lot of trust and alignment to be comfortable putting your brand in the hands of someone else. That’s the good stuff and what I would encourage people to really look for in a 3PL partner.”

The Results

Frictionless scaling with no limits thanks to a single 3PL who handles it all.  

PenguinPickUp and GoBolt started working together in 2019 and they’re still going strong. The team has experienced continually positive progression with on-time delivery and quality of service across key metrics like reliability, damage, and error-free deliveries. While Baker says he views success as adherence to SLAs (service-level agreements), once those are agreed upon it’s not a hands-off situation where nobody talks again. 

“We can pick up the phone and have a conversation with someone at GoBolt any time. There’s a strong relationship,” says Baker. “We’re able to have really healthy dialogue around how both sides are performing, what’s working well, what’s not working, and any changes that we might need to make. That’s been really positive.”

Baker also says that GoBolt has significantly impacted the company’s success, allowing them to scale up – both in their home province of Toronto, Ontario and nationally – without the need to source multiple 3PL partners across Canada. 

“We now have a partner we trust when expanding to a new city,” says Baker. “It’s very easy for both our team and GoBolt. We can launch more efficiently because we already have that rapport and established way of working together.”

Today, GoBolt continues to provide PenguinPickUp with the confidence and trust they need to deliver to their partners and clients, no matter how fast or far they grow. Baker’s advice to other companies looking for a 3PL partner is to take their time and look for values fit and alignment, along with the ability to scale. 

“Get referrals and take time to learn about who they are and what makes them special as an organization,” says Baker. “If you find a 3PL whose business model works really well today, but 18 months from now it’s outdated or doesn’t meet your growth needs, that’s a hard relationship to undo. We surveyed where we wanted to head over the next three to five years, and we know GoBolt is the partner that will move in step with us as we scale globally.”

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