By Ella Mason | Sept 25, 2014
For surface preparation manufacturer Airblast AFC, providing servicing, parts and spares is a major part of their business and so it is vitally important for them to have the logistics in place to be able to support these services, including facilities to hold the large diversity of stock required and the means to deliver these items to the customer quickly. For many companies, providing for existing customers can be just as lucrative as finding new ones, so it is important for 3PLs to understand the needs of these customers and offer the manufacturer solutions that will support and improve their aftercare service.
So what do manufacturers look for when selecting 3PLs to handle the storage, selection and delivery of parts and spares? When it comes to aftercare, it is vital for businesses to be able to provide their customers with the same high level of service that they received when they originally purchased the product. However, the needs of aftercare customers are often very different to the needs of a new customer so manufacturers will be looking for 3PLs who can provide a level of service that matches their own and offer more besides.
For manufacturers like Airblast AFC, one of the key concerns when supplying parts and spares is speed. If a vital piece of machinery or equipment has broken down, every day waiting for a replacement part is money down the drain. Therefore, 3PLs need to be able to provide a rapid service that allows parts to reach the end customer in the shortest possible time. They will want to see evidence that the 3PL can handle deliveries in a tight time frame, particularly if they serve a very large area and frequently require long distance deliveries across the US and beyond.
The need for a fast turnaround also means that the manufacturer will need to have large quantities of stock readily available so they will often take advantage of warehousing as well as delivery services. If they are looking for a 3PL to provide warehousing and delivery services, they will also want to see that you have a reliable means of picking products from the warehouse and getting them on the road as soon as possible. Parts and spares can number in the thousands for some companies from big pieces of equipment to tiny nuts and bolts and so most manufacturers will be looking to see that you have an appropriate warehouse management system (WMS) in place. This will help to reassure them that the right product is going to be sent to the right place on time.
Finally, the most important thing that a manufacturer will look for is trust. They are placing a highly valuable part of their business into the hands of an external company and thereby relinquishing control of something that could make or break their business. This makes manufacturers very nervous, so it is important to show them that you understand what their customers expect and that you share their business values.