Ask an Expert Series: How do I Scale a Business with a Delivery Provider?
Jay KirkpatrickDirector of Transportation and Vendor Relations
Jay Kirkpatrick, Director of Transportation and Vendor Relations, has been an integral part of the Purolator team. In his 20+ years, he has developed a mastery in transportation operations and embodied Purolator’s culture of customer service.
Keeping up with the demand of consumers is challenging – especially for small businesses where all operations are run by a few employees. When growing your business, you need the resources to get your goods out to market without impacting your quality and service in the long term. Fortunately, delivery providers can offer various services to leverage growth. In this segment of Ask An Expert, we interview Jay to get details on how a small business can easily scale with the help of a delivery provider.
How can a delivery provider help my business scale-up its network and reach?
When you’re looking at delivery solutions to expand your business, there are a few questions you should ask. Is your expansion driven by geography? Are you looking for a provider that can only do local moves or do you need a regional, national or international partner? Whether you are occupying the e-commerce, retail, or brick and mortar space, it will come down to finding a delivery partner that can help you meet your delivery requirements and the needs of your customers, wherever they are.
How can a delivery provider help my growing business to optimize its delivery options?
There are two major factors in optimizing delivery options. The first is speed – how fast you can get your goods to market? Is there the demand for a faster-than-average turnaround? The second is finding a cost-driven solution – does it make financial sense for faster delivery options, or would customers prefer value over speed?
If you’re focusing on increasing speed, you can engage an express shipping solution, such as air transportation or expedited ground shipping. A cost-effective solution would involve a favourable ground transportation solution instead. And, if you’re looking for the cheapest option, you can choose a service which might make multiple stops along a route, rather than go direct to your end-destination.
One factor should be the main focus. Though, you can mix and match with most delivery providers to meet scalability goals through each stage of your business growth.
What’s a deferred service and how can it help my growing business reduce shipping costs and scale-up?
A deferred service leans on alternative options to offer lower shipping costs. This could mean shipping by ground transportation or holding a shipment for 2-3 days until you achieve full capacity, rather than shipping the very next day. As it’s a cheaper option, it allows businesses to absorb the shipping costs more easily, and provide “free shipping” to their customers, or for as part of a marketing campaign – and both work as a highly popular incentive to purchase more.
If I want to scale-up internationally, how can a delivery provider service areas outside of their network?
Good delivery providers will have reputable international partnerships that can be leveraged. Their customer service can provide a smooth shipping experience to every destination.
As inventory expands, how can my growing business gain better visibility into its stock, wherever it is within the supply chain?
Delivery providers can have internal tracking systems to gather insights around customer shipment data. This information covers all goods across the chain and whether goods have arrived at their next step. Customers can use this information for inventory management, invoicing, reporting, and other stages along the supply chain.
With these tracking systems, can a delivery provider help my growing business to analyze shipping data for scalable decision-making?
Yes, absolutely – the data we’re able to provide back to the customer helps them learn more about their needs. This goes back to the idea of the two main factors of optimizing your delivery services. Deciding whether it’s a better business decision to speed things up by using an express service or slow things down to optimize on expenditure. Getting the full picture of their data allows customers to assess their process efficiency. If you’re investing in faster delivery times, calculate how long a delivery actually took. Did it depart on time or were there uncontrollable delays? Were there mechanical breakdowns? Answering questions like these can determine whether it’s the right factor to prioritize and whether your delivery provider is able to fulfil your business decisions.
Scale-up successfully with the help of a delivery provider.
Scaling up your small business takes plenty of time and effort – and even when expansion happens, the growth rate can unpredictable. Acting fast is important to meet the demands of a growing customer base, but this can be hard with a small workforce. Leverage a delivery provider that has a highly expansive capacity, numerous delivery options and logistics expertise to share with your business. This frees up the time of your team, allowing you to continue focusing on core business goals that will, in turn, strengthen your brand to drive growth even further.