Handling a wide variety of product's logistic needs, along with the unique requirements associated with installation for the consumer is our specialty. We can take your product from your dock, warehouse, or entry port to the end-user, with professionalism and consumer oriented service.
The final mile installer may be the only face and direct contact that your customer has with "you". Don't take a chance on sub-standard service.
Enjoy the below, white paper, defining the focus of our efforts for your products.
Ask the logistics customer what they want and the answer
will eventually result in their need for a single source to provide all of
their product’s services. The specifics of the conversation may deal with
particular areas of a logistics, supply-chain such as ocean movement,
warehousing/fulfillment, and installation. However, nothing can be more
frustrating than multiple vendors being required.
A supply chain needs to be structured for the small
percentage of the jobs that may have issues and escalations. This can include
product issues, customer issues, or other service related failures. Using a
successful completion rate is wonderful for the sales presentation. But resolution
protocols, for the “problem” jobs, are equally as important. Many a carrier has
lost a client for the 1-2% of the jobs that had problems without resolution.
Anticipating and including resolution protocols should be part of a
comprehensive Service Level Agreement (SLA).
The demands of the ever-evolving “e-commerce” sales have
forever changed some of traditional supply channels, particularly for
residential services. The traditional stages of logistics, namely the dock-dock
movements, are still an industry strength. With years of integration, TMS, WMS
and EDI reliance, the routing, tracking, and visibility at these stages have
become an expected service level that most providers can meet. Where is the
product, when is it moving, and when will it arrive at the final destination
are now considered standard expectations.
But what about the growing demand for final mile and white
glove? This is arguably the most important stage of the supply chain. A
qualified, professional agent can salvage a horrible sales experience for the
customer. Conversely a poor, final mile experience for the customer can torpedo
an otherwise successful sale. With the growing demand for immediate feed-back
and customer surveys, customer satisfaction is becoming a very measurable
Trying to develop this complete, end-to-end, supply chain
has numerous challenges. It can be argued that no one provider can successfully
execute this model. Servicing the product demands and offering complete coverage
would be an enormous, financial outlay. The model will most certainly involve a
dynamic management process to qualify, pro-actively monitor compliance, provide
exemplary product support throughout the entire chain, and have real-time
quality control and improvement mechanisms. Whatever the product, recreation,
fitness, furniture, appliance, or medical, the system needs to adapt for the
Qualifying the service providers, particularly for
installations, is beginning to dominate the supply chain. What skills, tools,
and equipment are required for a movement and install? Damage should be
recognized, reported, inspected, and any corrective action taken at first
available opportunity. How many supply chains are designed to fix a problem at
the local freight dock before a product goes to the consumer? The need for
product support, at all stages of the supply chain, is one of the unforeseen
services that must be considered. Although going back to a store, for a
replacement item was the standard procedure (albeit not desirable) it is not an
option for today’s supply chain.
Products that require assembly are moving from the
back-of-store to DC fulfillment. There are tremendous advantages for the
retailer to minimize the handling of these products, including reduced damage,
not relying on un-trained personnel and related injuries, and the high cost of
retail storage versus DC. Both brick & mortar as well as on-line retailers,
are building Omni-channel distribution systems. The service provider needs to
handle all product and service needs, regardless of the particular delivery
Compliance monitoring, and product support is as critical to
the final mile and installation steps as any. This stage directly affects a
consumer. When they take time from their schedule, to accommodate an
appointment, on-time and success is critical. Pro-active monitoring is a
challenge when the agents at this stage may be the most diverse. From companies
serving a metro or region, who have employees and asset based fulfillment, to
independent contractors, flexibility in compliance reporting is a must. Flat
based pricing is very common for final mile and assembly. Agent reporting needs
to be easy and efficient with a variety of device input options. It needs to be
real-time updating to a shared IT platform that is visible to all shareholders.
So what does the solution look like? It can be said that all
of the necessary components exist. The dock-dock is well defined. Final
mile/install agents, with specific product related skills, do exist. Product
and client needs, as defined in the SLA, will determine how a supply chain is
designed and managed. Not all agents, final-mile or otherwise, will be able to
service all products and all service needs. Optimization certainly becomes part
of the solution.
Is there any positive resulting from the increased burden on
the logistics provider? Absolutely! The provider needs to look at the
additional services two ways. First, the increased revenue opportunities are
enormous. A Service Level Agreement should incorporate the problems that may
arise and have resolution methods pre-determined. This may involve fees for
troubleshooting and return visits for maintenance/service. These qualified
agents can offer other services, needed by the client, that were never part of
a traditional supply chain. Product support will require interaction with the
manufacturer and providers of technical support. Integrating the various
players to support a product’s needs, will certainly offer new clients and
Second, successfully building and executing a
single-source-logistics solution means raising the bar for any competition. The
option of losing business for modest margin savings is diminished. A competitor
will need to compete at all stages of the supply chain including the product
services. The barriers to entry have multiplied exponentially when the
end-to-end service, and product needs are provided.
So don’t be intimidated. Those who see and embrace the
opportunity will become a crucial partner in delivering customer/client satisfaction. If there was
ever an example of the importance and benefits in relationship building this
may be it.
Bill O’Connor, Specialized Logistics, www.specializedlogistics.biz