There is a lot of blurring of traditional lines of business these days. Web designers are advertising content, SEO, and more; tech companies are selling themselves as eCommerce experts; marketing companies are claiming to be tech companies. In this environment, it is natural to ask: Does one look for vendors who offer a comprehensive set of services?
Or do you assemble a team of specialists who are best-in-class in their niche?
This very issue came up while meeting with a prospect not too long ago. They had met with another vendor who was promising a “one-stop-shop” solution that included not only 3PL services but eCommerce support as well (including web design, server maintenance, marketing—the whole nine yards).
So let’s tackle the question: If you are growing a business, should you turn to a logistics specialist for logistics, an eCommerce specialist for eCommerce, and so on? Or do you go with a firm that provides a comprehensive set of solutions all under one roof? Let’s look at the pros and cons of the “comprehensive” approach versus the “team-of-specialists” approach.
There are a number of services that might seem like a natural “fit” with logistics and fulfillment services: eCommerce, channel management, website design, marketing, and so on. Some companies are catching on and offering the whole suite of services as a way to differentiate themselves.
Vendors who specialize in a narrow set of services within their core competency are much more likely to be best-in-class providers. Service tends to be better, prices more competitive, and technology used in ways that streamline processes. But given the narrow approach of these specialized vendors, several of them will need to be brought on board. Integration can be a challenge.
At the end of the day, most companies are not worried about vendors using one approach or another. They want to find the simplest, easiest way to get their business done.
Vendors are trying to get the most business they can, naturally. There is nothing wrong with that in principle. But sometimes, in a rush to get new business, a vendor will dabble in services well outside their areas of expertise. You know what happens next: They over-promise, under-deliver.
So what are some red flags that should warn you that a vendor is offering too much?
If you would like to discuss your warehousing and fulfillment needs with a 3PL company that specifically specializes in these services, feel free to reach out: