‘Focus on what you know best.’ This maxim has created many success stories in business. But how does one actually do this? Each business has various demands it makes on its owners. For example, beyond deciding the menu and cooking the food for customers, restaurant owners need to figure out the right permits, regularly source their produce, manage both service and kitchen staff, and maintain the books, among other duties. Most importantly, as more and more people prefer to dine in at home, they also need to figure out the logistics of food deliveries.
There are two ways to go about fulfilling the many demands of a business: Fulfill them in-house or outsource these tasks to third parties. While many businesses have found success with either choice, it is important to also consider opportunity costs. Focusing on one task means losing out progress on others. If a person waiting tables in a restaurant is also managing the cash counter, they will be keeping some customers waiting for their order while tending change to others and vice versa.
Timely versus quality service: The juggling act of home services providers
The home services industry is a highly dynamic and interesting market. Players in this space offer a wide variety of services ranging from furniture and appliance repair to beauty and child care. The convenience and the realities of a work-from-home lifestyle have put them on a high-growth trajectory.
With a large number of businesses eyeing a slice of the pie, needless to say, the market is quite competitive. The key opportunity cost for home services companies is between providing timely and quality services. Should they spend more of their manpower in fielding service requests and assigning them to available service partners or should they focus on training their service partners to improve the overall customer experience?
When it comes to home services, brands have to be on top of their game on both counts. Because customers are willing to switch service providers in a heartbeat if they find someone else offering more timely, convenient, and quality home services at more competitive prices.
Why 3PL providers could be the answer for efficient home services
To do away with this dichotomy, it is essential for home service providers to focus on what they know best: training their service partners. Logistics operations, particularly in the last mile, are often tricky to handle and grow exponentially in complexity with scale.
It shows that growing home service providers with in-house logistics operations often miss out on fielding incoming customer requests, and often make errors in time slot management. If left unchecked for long, it results in increasing customer complaints and a drop in repeat business.
This is where third-party logistics (3PL) providers can make all the difference. 3PL providers are third-party entities that can manage the end-to-end logistics operations of a company. Right from e-commerce to food delivery, 3PL providers help companies across the spectrum manage their logistics. They bring their own expertise, technology and networks to:
- Streamline the scheduling of orders
- Book carriers at lower rates
- Sort and dispatch parcels stored at warehouses
- Coordinate with the end-customer for the final delivery
Many 3PL providers also have their in-house time slot management solutions. Home services companies can also use these solutions to optimize convenient time slots for their customers. This can free up their resources that can be used for service partner training.
3PL companies can also improve the overall visibility of service partners in the last mile. The data from a variety of metrics such as departure and arrival time, fuel consumption, idling time, etc. can further be analyzed to improve the rate of providing timely services.
In short, home services brands that are serious about growing at scale can benefit tremendously from having 3PL providers on board. They can be assured that each party can focus on what they know best, and grow sustainably in the process.