What do you look for in a delivery network? Below are the four aspects of a network that should be top of mind when considering where you deliver, and who you work with:
• How Big is the Network
Its obvious to always consider how large the network is. Working with a single provider who can cover your entire network helps streamline your processes and reduced some of the hassles that come with multiple integrations. Also, make sure to consider markets you may be entering. Scaling up and down becomes much easier when working with a larger network.
• How Deep is the Network
Coverage comes in different shapes and sizes. It’s important to find out how many stops-per-day a provider makes, as this will be a good indicator of their costs. When 3PL’s add new customers on, many of the costs are incremental – if they’re already delivering to a pharmacy, it’s not much added cost to take your totes to a retail location just across the street.
• How Secure is the Network
Your delivery network is a representation of your brand. When drivers are properly drug-screened, background-checked, and vetted for previous driving history, chances are your brand will be represented well. If that’s not the case, you are rolling the dice. Make sure your delivery network has the proper safety and compliance standards in place to serve your customers well and protect your brand
• How Supported is the Network
When all the boxes are checked – size, depth, security – you need to get an understand of the support you’ll be receiving. The widest networks are of no value when you need the rush shipment to go out and can’t get a hold of someone, or when the line-haul is three hours late and you need to get a game plan together for your customers. Find a vendor with service that is 24/7 and 365 days a year, so you can always get a live person on the phone. Also, look for the kind of service that is consistent, where you are dealing with people who know you well and understand the way you work.