Successfully recognizing excellence

How can my company identify an excellent logistics service provider? In this article Michael Jackl, Member of our Advisory Board, addresses the question while providing fascinating insights into his decades of experience in the logistics industry. Read the full article below:

Many companies are looking for a logistics service provider who acts independently and responsibly. On the other hand, a good service provider is dedicated to transparency towards his customer, ensuring a smooth information flow. But how exactly do I find a logistics service provider that holds a high standard and suits my company? In order to make the right decision – to successfully recognize excellence – the following parameters can help you during the selection process:

  • Transparency and optimal interface management
  • Implementation of a continuous improvement process
  • Value-oriented and quality-oriented mindset

Let’s take a closer look at transparency and interface management. Both areas build the basis of successful cooperation, and should be taken into account when selecting a logistics service provider. This is because a seamless information flow depends both on transparent and open dealings with the other party and on optimum interface management. Therefore, start with a stable foundation and include these aspects in the catalogue of requirements for your new logistics service provider.

Topics such as continuous improvement processes, joint agreement of strategic goals and the establishment of clear KPI structures should also be focuses in your decision-making. Equally relevant are shared values and a quality-oriented mindset among employees.

Transparency, standardisation & optimal interface management

Be sure to look for a company that provides transparent logistics process design, is willing to define process owners and offers process documentation for traceability. A high degree of reliability is particularly important regarding these measures: a standardized approach provides efficient and effective methods for continuously achieving optimal results. The transparent and standardized approach during daily work and the clear designation of responsibilities make it easier to jointly define, measure and subsequently evaluate goals and key performance indicators.

Another central transparency component that should be taken into consideration is professional interface management, meaning both a transparent, value-added IT system and optimal interface management on the personnel level. One of the key factors here is the creation of an interface structure that exists equivalently on both sides. This structure also offers a considerable advantage when it comes to an escalation structure: it ensures that responsibilities are guaranteed and known at all times.

The above-mentioned aspects are central components of an excellent service provider, and their existence and efficacy should be verified prior to working together in order to ensure that the partnership is as smooth and comfortable as possible. A target/actual comparison can then be carried out on this basis – the principle of the “learning organisation” is thus established.

Continuous improvement

Agreeing on common strategic goals and developing a reliable KPI structure form the basis for the establishment of continuous improvement processes and the possibility of joint development. For this reason, you should carefully assess whether a new logistics service provider is willing and able to lay this foundation with you before making them your first choice. Note: When the time has come to economically evaluate the cooperation with your service provider, these transparently communicated common goals and key performance indicators are your best guidelines to form an informed opinion. Also: Make sure to consider the economic added value of a continuous improvement effort in the context of a cost comparison. Before deciding for or against a service provider, also check whether they are able to apply standardized methodologies when it comes to problem solving - in this way, any logistical issues will be dealt with and solved more quickly and efficiently.

Value orientation & mindset

In order to find the right service provider for your company, it is also crucial to make sure that your values are a good match. A unified stance creates a clear orientation for employees and managers. You should also figure out whether open and trusting communication and a motivating working environment are important parts of their company culture. This creates a positive working atmosphere and an associated quality- and solution-oriented mindset among employees - which is a considerable advantage for day-to-day collaboration. Pair this with well-trained employees with high expertise, and you have the perfect foundation for a qualitative and enriching collaboration.

So what can you take away from this article? On the one hand, strongly developed competence on the part of the logistics provider with regard to optimal interface management – in terms of both information technology and structure – is critical, as it can create the basis for stable cooperation. On the other hand, it is worthwhile for companies seeking a service provider to ensure that their prospective choice's approach is transparent and standardised, in order to maintain process traceability and thus be able to track common goals on the basis of a sound KPI structure. Based on this, before choosing a suitable service provider, you should check whether the company maintains open communication and value orientation and examine the extent to which the service provider proactively works towards continuous further development. On the basis of these factors, you can identify a logistics service provider that is suitable for your company and works excellently, thus creating the foundation for a successful and highly efficient collaboration.