That’s why we sat down with Puja Bhatt, a seasoned supply chain & operations consultant and the founder of Hello Operator, a platform connecting experienced operators with brands in need of support across all functional areas of operations.
In Part 3 of our three-part series, we dive deep with Puja into the steps founders need to take to deliver their goods to customers. Below, we unpack topics including:
- How to set up a freight partner
- The ins and outs of 3PLs
- Vetting your many shipping options
“Treat choosing your freight and 3PL partners with as much weight as you treated choosing your supplier. Reliability, cost, and location are just as key here.”
Setting up a freight partner
Selecting the right freight forwarder is similar to picking the right supplier:
You’re looking for a long-term partner to responsibly deliver your goods, and you’ll look to them to suggest cost savings opportunities and logistics efficiencies as your company grows. So, treat the decision with the weight it deserves and select a partner based on reliability, cost, location, and technology.
These days, many freight forwarders offer full transparency into the exact location of your goods at all times. If that’s important to you, make sure you select a high-tech forwarder. Also, consider the frequency of sailings and the capacity that your freight forwarder has negotiated with carriers so you never have to worry about securing space on a boat.
How to vet your nearest 3PL
First, finding the right 3PL for your brand requires understanding a few variables.
- The warehouse team has certain specialties — They’ve been trained to handle certain types of products, so you want to tap into existing efficiencies.
- Each 3PL has favorable shipping rates on certain products — Shipping is a big cost driver for brands, so make sure you’re working with a 3PL who has favorable rates for your product type.
- 3PLs utilize varying inventory management systems - Select a 3PL whose portal provides a real-time, accurate view of your orders and your inventory across all products, components, and packaging
Different 3PLs possess different strengths in terms of the average size and complexity of goods they ship, so consider your order mix and choose accordingly.
Finding the best outbound shipping carrier for your brand
These days, ground services have proliferated, and there are lots of smart options. Pick the one that makes the most sense for you in the cost department and fulfills your SLA with your customer.
“You want to find a partner who's going to be the perfect fit when it comes to the size / weight of your product. Different carriers assess different surcharges, so be sure to calculate the fully baked cost to ship your product across multiple carriers, and then choose the cheapest, most reliable option.”