Brands are spread thin these days. Supply chain disruptions and high employee turnover have put a dent in customer service and shopper loyalty. However, one aspect of brand operations that can positively impact the shopper experience is a brand’s third-party logistics.
By partnering with the right third-party logistics (3PL) provider, retailers can overcome the many logistics challenges they face. That’s because logistics providers can play an integral brand role, managing the critical period from when a customer places an order to when it gets delivered.
Brands need a logistics provider who can support every link in their order management supply chain — from inventory and warehousing to order fulfillment, last mile delivery and returns.
What is vertically integrated third party-logistics?
Let’s start by defining vertical integration and how it relates to logistics. For 3PL providers specifically, a vertical integration strategy allows one company to provide end-to-end service, from the time an order is placed, to the moment it’s delivered, and even when it’s returned.
Vertically integrated 3PLs are sole logistics provider who:
- Employs their own workers. For example, at GoBolt we have an employee-first strategy. Our employees are trained to treat your products and shoppers with care.
- Utilize proprietary and customizable technology.
- Operate their own warehouses and delivery assets (i.e., vehicles and equipment).
What are the benefits of vertically integrated third-party logistics?
With a vertically integrated third-party logistics provider, brands see increased visibility and improved efficiency across their supply chain. Here are eight benefits brands stand to gain from working with a vertically integrated 3PL partner:
1. Brand consistency
Maintaining consistency across all customer touchpoints is a big enough challenge on its own. By outsourcing fulfillment and delivery operations to a single 3PL that provides end-to-end logistics services and puts a big focus on training its workers, brands can streamline operations. This helps ensure shoppers receive the brand experience they expect.
2. Product knowledge
Logistics providers are a direct extension of the brands they serve. That’s why brands need a 3PL partner that can execute their fulfillment and last mile delivery operations as if they were the brand themselves. For an integrated 3PL, this means employees are trained on a brand’s products as well as their packaging, delivery and set up preferences. This ensures brand consistency, from how an order is packed, to delivery, and assembly.
3. Strengthened values
It’s important to consider how your logistics partner upholds your company’s core values and reputation. Let’s say shoppers are drawn to your brand’s eco-consciousness. Looking for a partner that prioritizes sustainability should be a key focus. Look for a 3PL provider that’s utilizing an electric fleet, offsetting their carbon footprint, or has established recycling partnerships that keep returned items out of landfills.
4. Quick issue resolution
There’s no shortage of pain points in logistics and fulfillment operations, especially if a brand is working with multiple vendors. A 3PL with integrated logistics services, like in-house fulfillment and delivery teams, can identify and resolve issues that arise quicker. With account managers and customer service representatives connected to warehouse workers and delivery drivers, order issues can be swiftly pinpointed and resolved in a matter of minutes with just one phone call.
5. Increased visibility
When a brand has one logistics partner overseeing everything from inventory management through delivery and returns, brands gain better visibility into their outsourced logistics operations. More specifically, 3PL partners who manage their own inventory from centralized warehouses make it easier for brands to live track thousands of in-stock SKUs and fulfill orders seamlessly. Those who offer technology support like real-time delivery tracking boost the experience further, allowing brands and shoppers to view an order along every step of its journey to a shopper’s front door.
6. Customized operations
Vertical integration enables 3PLs to be flexible at every pivot point. It also allows for brands to completely customize their fulfillment and last mile delivery operations based on individual business needs.
7. Peak-season planning
Working with a vertically integrated third-party logistics partner means brands have a team of professionals they can rely on. Just as invested in a company’s success, the 3PLs support teams – from merchant support to warehouse support – can help brands plan for and navigate seasons of high-volume traffic and online sales. By reviewing your historical data, projections, and promotions, the 3PL can staff their operations to meet brand volume and deliver a high level of service.
8. Steady operating costs
Brands can partner with multiple vendors to get orders into the hands of shoppers. Or they can partner with a sole logistics provider who handles every aspect of its fullfillment and last mile delivery operations. With a vertically integrated partner, operating costs are transparent, meaning brands simplify their logistics while better managing their costs.
Simply put, a vertically integrated third-party logistics partner puts a brand in better control of their operations.
Looking to partner with a vertically integrated logistics provider who can streamline your company’s fulfillment, last mile delivery, and returns? Contact our team to learn how you can optimize your logistics process and delight your shoppers.