First-Class Service, First-Choice Vendor: How to Become a Vendor of Choice for Top Customers

Recently, we’ve been exploring different ways in which companies can gain a competitive advantage by improving supply chain efficiency. But ultimately, all these improvements will be for naught if a company can’t impress its customers and win their repeat business.

The good news is, implementing a transportation management system (TMS) is one of the best ways to improve both supply chain efficiency and customer satisfaction. Robust TMS solutions offer a number of capabilities that make it easier for companies to meet the vendor guidelines put in place by their most valuable customers—and surpass their expectations.

This can not only increase customer loyalty and result in more business, but can also dramatically cut down the number of chargebacks a company receives—putting money back in the bottom line. With that in mind, here are a few steps every company can take to become a top-choice vendor for profitable customers.

Boost compliance and avoid chargebacks

Most major customers will have vendor guidelines and scorecard parameters in place for the vendors they work with. These may change frequently as the customer adjusts their own processes to meet demand and remain competitive. Keeping abreast of current guidelines is essential if companies want to remain compliant and avoid costly chargebacks.

The nature and number of guidelines will vary from customer to customer, but many will have specific requirements around the packaging and labeling of shipments. They will also likely use OFIT (on-time and in-full) calculations to measure the performance of their vendors, taking into account whether or not an order arrived at the agreed-upon time and place and in the correct quantity.

Failing to meet any of these requirements can leave shippers facing chargebacks, which can quickly add up. Data published by research and strategy advisory Javelin show that in 2017 alone, shippers were burdened with $31 billion in chargebacks. Add to that the cost of lost future revenue if a customer decides to stop working with a shipper—and the potential damage to a shipper’s reputation—and the true scale of the problem becomes clear.

Harnessing a leading-edge TMS empowers shippers to do more than just remain compliant—it enables them to excel. Using their TMS, supply chain managers and other staff can quickly and easily pull up a customer’s vendor guidelines and confirm they have met the necessary requirements for an order. The TMS also streamlines shipment execution, helping to ensure that orders get out of the warehouse on time—reducing the likelihood of an early or late delivery.

Utilize approved carriers

Some customers will only allow shipments from a pre-approved list of carriers. In order to avoid delivery complications and keep customers satisfied, shippers must have a system in place to ensure they’re using approved carriers for each and every order that goes out.

This information can be stored in the TMS, making it easy for staff to confirm whether a carrier is on the approved list before selecting them. A TMS also provides a convenient way for shippers to track the performance of carriers, even ones they don’t typically use. This all contributes to a more seamless and satisfactory experience for customers.

Communicate frequently and effectively

Communication is a cornerstone of strong customer service. In order to meet expectations, shippers must have the technological capabilities to send an advanced shipping notice (ASN) electronically, and to provide proactive notifications about any shipment exceptions that may result in a delay.

Manually sending notifications just isn’t practical—for the shipper or for the customer. A TMS allows shippers to set up electronic ASNs and send automated exception alerts, saving staff time while keeping the customer happy and informed.

Become their top choice

By showing customers that they pay close attention to vendor guidelines and are dedicated to providing exceptional service, shippers can win repeat business and secure lucrative, long-time partnerships.

The right technology makes it possible. By allowing shippers to streamline their processes, a TMS can help them keep their rates competitive and their level of service high, all while reducing the risk of chargebacks. CTSI-Global’s industry-leading TMS is a top choice among shippers aiming to become a top-choice vendor for their customers.

Don’t lose profitable customers. Contact CTSI-Global today to find out more.

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