In today’s society of emails, text messages and social media, we expect communication to be fast. We believe this instant communication is making us more efficient, but it is easy to get trapped in a circle of email chains or play phone tag, which can absorb more of our time and create delays for us meeting our goals. When managing the fulfillment needs of your organization and your customers, effectively communicating with your fulfillment provider is vital to creating a lasting customer experience and the overall success of your program. With new projects and special requests to manage, here are some tips to keep everything running smoothly and help ensure constant, open communication between you and your fulfillment partner:
Tip 1: Discuss Organizational Needs
Lay the ground work by making sure the needs and expectations of your organization are clearly communicated. Many times, fulfillment providers will set parameters on service and communication levels. Some 3PL’s even have a contractual agreement to define them. No matter what type of arrangement, it is important for both parties to fully understand the expectations of the other, so the relationship has the foundation necessary to be successful.
Tip 2: Communicate the Details
Make sure to share updates and company goals with your fulfillment partner. This helps provide them insight into your business and allows the opportunity to proactively discuss what needs to be done to meet your goals. Your fulfillment partner has a vested interest in the success of your business and may be able to recommend ways to help accomplish your goals in the fastest, most economical manner.
Tip 3: Discuss a Plan of Action
Most people know that if you have a project or service need, it is a good idea to discuss the plan of action and timing of the project. It is important to be sensitive to the timining needed to complete a request when working with a fulfillment partner. Ask questions and make sure your fulfillment partner has everything needed (from your end) to finish the project by the firm completion date.
With so many communication channels available to us today, sometime things can get lost in transition, so it is important to regularly schedule meetings or conference calls to discuss current and upcoming projects. As always, you need to follow up with written documentation to keep those lines of communication crystal clear. Taking a few extra steps along the way can pay you back in the long run, freeing up your time and creating a stronger partnership between you and your provider.