Getting the best service from your third party logistics (3PL) provider this holiday season starts with your volume forecasting accuracy. You need to have established measurable service levels that are agreed to by both parties, as part of your contract. Establishing these service levels and having the 3PL vendor meet them requires that you supply realistic volume forecasts for the call center (orders, calls, emails, mail, etc.) and the warehouse (orders, receipts, returns, etc.) by day and by week a month in advance so that the 3PL vendor can plan their labor accordingly.
In the call center; it will be extremely helpful if you have historical data and know your anticipated increase in calls by each hour within the day. Having this information will allow the 3PL vendor to have the appropriate staffing levels throughout the day. You won’t be able to hold the 3PL vendor accountable or penalize them for not being able to meet your service level standards; call abandonment rate, call to answer time, etc., if they do not have any way of knowing what the call volumes will be.
Similar to the call center; the warehouse operations manager will need to be able to staff accordingly to meet your order volumes for your agreed upon service level standards for same day order processing guarantee. The 3PL vendor will want to know what your order forecasts are by day and by week a month in advance. Using your history from last year and taking into consideration any changes in the promotional calendar for the catalog and eCommerce channels and your anticipated increased sales over last year will make your volume forecasts more accurate.
One last item that will greatly aid the 3PL vendor this holiday season is to keep them up to date on purchase order (PO) delivery dates. Supplying the 3PL provider with any changes to expected receipt dates for PO deliveries will allow them staff accordingly to get your product received within your service level standard and minimize any delays in this process.
We wish you much success this holiday season. If there is anything that we can do to assist in making it as smooth as possible, we look forward to speaking with you at any time. We are always available to discuss.