Home Delivery Services for Your Products
Have you ever considered offering home delivery services of your product to your customers? By offering your customers the ability to order any of your products either online or over the phone and delivering it right to their door. Not only does this save your customer time, but it also gets you another sale. No matter how big or how small the product, a delivery service will allow you to serve more customers and make more money.
So How Do You Deliver It?
Two choices: deliver it yourself with a company vehicle or pay someone to do it. The advantage of doing it your self is that if you pay an employee to deliver it in a company vehicle, you will also be advertising your firm. This method is good from a brand control aspect as your employees should care more about the image your company portrays to the public – which would become an opportunity for a “free” public relations campaign.
By hiring someone to deliver your products you do not need to invest in the equipment to deliver your product, rather you just pay someone to do it. You can use a courier service, trucking company, airline, shipping company, or whatever is appropriate for your product.
Offering a delivery service can add value and increase profits for your business. Whether you offer a food service or special order merchandise, by serving more customers by offering delivery, not only will you increase customer awareness, but increase your sales as well.
You finally did it. You came up with the greatest product on earth. Being the savvy business owner that you are, you went out and hand-picked the greatest marketing team ever assembled. In fact, your product solves so many of man kinds problems that Oprah even found time to mention it on her show. Now the orders are rolling in and we have a little problem. Your current delivery system just will not support your growth. So how do you get your products to the customers that demand them? Logistics; more specifically, “Last-Mile Focus”.
Long distance transportation tends to be serviced by high capacity modes such as container ships and trains. They operate on a system of economies of scale, unfortunately, as the product gets closer to the customer economies of scale decrease due to smaller batch sizes. The last-mile usually consist of truck deliveries, with less than a full load, taking place over short distances, in congested urban settings.
Many companies turn to 3rd party vendors such as 3PD to make sure their packages get to the final customer. These companies provide last mile delivery solutions for businesses. Offering services such as home delivery, business to business delivery, job site delivery and customized logistics services. Usually, these 3rd party vendors can provide a better value to businesses than expanding ones current delivery force. They concentrate on handling one aspect, the aspect of logistics, therefore they become extremely efficient at getting things delivered on time and to the right place.
There are many factors that come into play when it comes to an excellent logistics company. Perhaps you are a business looking to hire a third-party logistics company and do not know where to begin. There are many things to look for if you plan on conducting business with another party. Be prepared to do extensive research to ensure that you are making the best decision.
-Who is the company and what do they stand for?
-What services does this third-party logistics company provide?
-Is the pricing competitive to the market?
-What is the company’s reputation? Have you read testimonials and reviews?
If you’ve done your research and have narrowed it down to a few third-party logistic companies, it is now time to break the decision down further.
What are the benefits of having a third-party logistics company?
First and foremost, it is critical to determine why having a third-party logistics company will benefit your business. Why are you looking to hire a third-party logistics company? Perhaps its simply because you are looking for a cost-saving solution or maybe your company is eliminating its logistics department. Whatever the case may be, using a third-party logistics company is an excellent solution for many businesses.
What is the company strategy?
How do they outsource? What kind of logistic services are provided and how does it set them apart from the competition? What is their supply chain management like? Is the company up-to-date on the latest technology? These are all very important questions to ask and research when deciding on a third-party logistics company for your business.
What are the company objectives?
How will this company benefit your business? Are they organized and structured? What are the goals of the company? Again, these questions are important to ask yourself when choosing the best company for your business.
What sets the company apart from its competition?
Is the pricing competitive? Remember, even if one company is less expensive than another does not mean it’s a better deal. Really weigh out what a 3PL company provides over the other. The services offered should set a company apart from its competition as well as its customer service and technology. Does the 3PL company you are researching provide business-to-business delivery, job site delivery, business-to-home delivery? Truly find out what the company is trying to achieve.
Logistics has become such an important part of our lives and it is critical to choose the best third-party logistics company for your business. Remember to research the companies you are interested in, weigh out the pros and cons and decide how your business can benefit from the 3PL company of your choosing.
As logistics have become incredibly important over the last several years, what are the advantages of having a third-party logistics company versus an in-house logistics department? By outsourcing your logistics, you are not only saving time but you are saving money as well!
By outsourcing your company’s logistics, you will:
- Prevent delivery mishaps
- Eliminate costly information systems and labor wages
- Expand in new markets
- Increase supply chain expertise
- Provide your business and customers with quality supply chain management
- Offer better web visibility tools for your customer
A third-party logistics company such as 3PD, can provide your business with the finest quality logistics around. The software that 3PD has is superior to its competitors and can truly benefit your company. 3PD provides scanning, routing optimization, automated call-outs, exception alerts via web browser, e-mail, fax and phone, delivery point scanning, proof of delivery, management and analysis, electronic interface and product delivery visibility. Outsourcing your business’ logistics will improve the performance of your business as well as moving it in the right direction.
Having a third-party logistics company can be beneficial because services can be customized and tailored to your individual needs. Not to mention, having an in-house logistics department can be quite costly and can be difficult to maintain as technology is constantly changing. 3PD has the most cutting edge software and can actually take the time to provide you with exceptional service as this is our specialty. Why worry about it or go anywhere else? 3PD is where your business should be.
3PD also provides business-to-business delivery, business-to-home delivery and job site delivery. 3PD also proudly offers “white glove” delivery services. We truly focus on last-mile delivery and logistics. See the 3PD difference.
“We’re in the business of selling windows, doors and skylights — not the trucking business,” says Al Altieri, director of distribution for WindowRama, whose switch to an outside provider has slashed the company’s transportation and logistics bill by about $2 million annually — twice what it expected.
The company’s new-found savings have been the result of a highly successful two-year relationship with 3PD, a “last mile” delivery and logistics provider. Based in Edgewood, N.Y., WindowRama operates 26 retail locations in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Some 80 percent of its business is in the high-end Andersen line, along with other big names in windows like Marvin, Pella and Weather Shield.
The company’s main distribution center at headquarters totals roughly 110,000 sq. ft., plus an additional 20,000 sq. ft. in the form of a warehouse mezzanine, giving it “enough room to handle 40 or 50 stores,” Altieri says. The majority of WindowRama’s products go through its DC, and customers have the option of picking products up at the facility, having them delivered to a store for pick-up or direct delivery to homes or job sites. Since the majority of products are bulky and fragile, most customers opt for direct delivery.
Looking for Options
For nearly 25 years, the company handled all transportation and logistics in-house through its own fleet, drivers and helper teams. In 2000, WindowRama decided it was time to outsource last mile deliveries to a national trucking company.“It was getting harder and more expensive to keep up with Department of Transportation regulations, to hire and train drivers and to keep up with all the drug testing laws that were being implemented,” Altieri says. “We decided outsourcing gave us the comfort of no longer being in the trucking business.”
By 2009, however, the associated costs were becoming excessive. “We had to commit to a fixed-cost arrangement for a 21-truck fleet, 21 drivers and helpers, regardless of whether we used them.” Furthermore, the company had to shuttle empty trucks from lots in New Jersey and Connecticut to its DC, a carrier-designed system that added a lot of miles to the transportation tab and another hassle for WindowRama.
“A lot of times those trucks were left unattended and we had no way of knowing for sure if every driver team had made it to the truck yard for pickups,” Altieri says. “Sometimes we didn’t know anything was wrong until a customer called to find out about his delivery.”
The system worked fine during the mid-part of the last decade, when the company was running up to 22 trucks per day. “But as the economy declined, we wanted the flexibility to pay just for what we needed,” he says. “That’s what the 3PD model proposed — a different way of doing business that required very little obligation on our part.”
The extent of the savings with 3PD was surprising to WindowRama. “We went into the deal looking at about $1 million in savings,” Altieri says. “But because the economy crashed the way it did, we were able to save closer to $2-$2.5 million due to variable rather than fixed-cost pricing. We now pay per stop — not by mileage.
“The beauty of this arrangement is that we know what each stop is going to cost us, which is helpful during those times when we’re dealing with certain customers who might or might not show up for their delivery appointment,” he says.
The move to 3PD did require some adjustment in thinking. “We’re very customer focused and we wanted to be sure our customers — including our stores — were being taken care of,” Altieri says. “We had been loading the trucks and supplying finished routes to our trucking company for deliveries [and] I was reluctant at first because 3PD loads and routes their own trucks. We still do address cleanup to make sure the delivery addresses are confirmed by a WindowRama employee before 3PD gets them.”WindowRama maintains loading crews to take care of trucks that go “over the bridges” to the company’s more remote stores. Meantime, the driver teams at 3PD handle products and customers as if they were their own.
“This has made me a big fan of the company’s owner-operator model,” Altieri says. “It’s made a big difference in terms of our product damages: They have gone down drastically, while customer satisfaction levels are way up.
“You could have the best sales people and the highest quality products in the world,” he says, “but if you get a delivery team that shows up late or looking less than professional or with a major attitude, it could sabotage the whole customer experience.”The retailer maintains a three-person dispatch department that deals with customers during the course of the day on WindowRama issues. 3PD provides another crew consisting of a manager, assistant manager and two clerical staffers to deal with delivery questions and issues. “So, we have seven people to deal with anything that might come up,” Altieri says. “Basically, this has enabled us to get rid of all customer service issues.”