Personalization is a hot trend for 2018. Companies are striving to gain a competitive edge by giving their customers what they want how they want it. While that may be easy to deliver on a small scale, it becomes much more challenging when sales volume grows.

Customization is hard to master for a variety of reasons. Demand is unpredictable and often fluctuates greatly. Operations are generally labor-intensive and more likely to require skilled workers. They are also time sensitive, as personalization is typically performed at the last minute to be more responsive to customer requests. And, of course, customers have especially high expectations for products made to their specifications.

To ensure success, accuracy and quality assurance are critical, Bobby Hays, general manager for Saddle Creek’s Fort Worth, Texas, warehouse and fulfillment operations, recently told Inbound Logistics magazine.

3PLs Help Provide Personalization

Recognizing the complexity of customized operations, many companies look for outside help. Here are just a few examples of customization solutions at work in a variety of industries:

Ecommerce. From engraved stethoscopes to embroidered lab coats, allheart, America’s Medical Superstore, counts on Saddle Creek to get orders to customers quickly, accurately and cost-effectively. With allheart’s 100% satisfaction guarantee in mind, the 3PL trains its associates to expertly handle etching and embroidery. A specially designed facility helps to ensure optimal efficiency and speed up order cycle time. An integrated OMS provides real-time visibility into customers’ orders and helps to guide inventory management, control costs, ship orders quickly and keep up with spikes in customer demand.

Manufacturing. Multiquip, one of the world’s leading manufacturers and distributors of construction equipment, looks to Saddle Creek to delay product configuration until the last possible moment to meet customer demands. Some of the company’s products need mechanical alterations before final shipment, such as switching out tires on a concrete buggy to satisfy the customer. In many instances, the 3PL can modify existing inventory rather than manufacturing new products to help save on production and shipping costs. Saddle Creek has helped Multiquip to reduce customer complaints, eliminate warehouse problems due to human error and improved customer service.

Subscription boxes. Beauty subscription giant ipsy allows customers to pick and choose the contents of their subscription to suit their personal tastes. Saddle Creek packages and delivers as many as custom 60 configurations of beauty bags to ipsy members each month. While order accuracy and quality are important for any company, it is especially critical for subscription-box businesses. Customer feedback is shared widely via social media, so inaccurate orders, damaged products and subpar service can lead to customer dissatisfaction on a large scale. Saddle Creek manages quality control and inspection as well as process returns for a number of subscription box customers.

To learn more about how third-party providers can help with customization and personalization, read our recent blog.