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Demand has surged due to the increasing popularity of e-commerce and the high volumes churned, meaning warehouse and transport operators have been emerging like spring daffodils, fighting for sunlight and pricing each other out of the market in the jostle. With vast choice, it’s not enough to be ‘just another 3PL’; diversity and quality of experience have become key to distinction from the masses, not to mention justification of rates. Things don’t seem to be slowing down; as more fulfilment centres emerge, each becoming slicker with their technologies, the harder the battle becomes.
Intelligent processes are crucial; investing in the smartest systems and compliance solutions is one way to define superiority in the customer experience. Increasing end to end visibility and streamlining of processes is essential for survival. Shaun Kelly, Group Systems and Compliance Manager, comments, “Seamless data exchanges saves both service provider and customer time. Automated reports and portal access to live inventory reduces barriers and allows both parties to process transactions with confidence, despite limited communication; essential for meeting ever-decreasing lead times. Simultaneously with the demand for quicker service, we’ve seen demand for near perfect service levels. At AKW we are fortunate that we have the warehouse management system and refined processes that enable us to provide just that.”
With limitless options, customers often misguidedly divorce themselves from providers who have served them well for years, tempted by low price and big promise, only to later discover they don't have the essential infrastructure to handle the transition and sustain service levels. It only takes a brief mention of the recent KFC crisis to exemplify how a change in distributor, even to a perceived industry leader, can drastically backfire.
‘AKW have the advantage of being a complete one stop shop; we can provide a full solution for storage, packing and transport, all under one roof. That’s a unique proposition and means communication between each link is refined, making for an effectual service, with a more personal touch.’ Rob Spencer, Sales Manager adds.
The ‘personal touch’ is a confirmed deal breaker; market research has shown the 2 in 5 customers are lost in the industry due to poor customer service, closely followed by providers that over promise and under deliver; both aspects are easily rectified with a sound, competent workforce with robustly aligned values. Sometimes it’s the simplest things that make all the difference.
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