The Super Logistics Provider That Preserves Your Brand’s Unique Values
Companies spend significant time and money developing a brand, complete with a vision, values, and a carefully crafted customer experience. As well as marketing activities which often lead the drive to promote high-quality CX, every aspect of an organization plays its role — from IT, who make sure that technical systems fire on all cylinders 24/7, to operations, where professionals make sure every order and interaction is indicative of the brand’s high quality.
Therefore, it seems odd that many companies outsource one of the most telling and important aspects of a brand — fulfillment, delivery, and logistics — to third parties that don’t respect the company’s brand values they are entrusted with.
When customers receive consignments with elements missing, delayed shipping, or inaccurately picked items, a carefully crafted customer experience is shattered in seconds.
Rakuten Group, Inc., one of the world’s biggest online marketplaces, knows fulfillment and distribution better than most; successfully builds trust with millions of customers every year. If any organization in the world knows the 3PL business deeply, it’s Rakuten Super Logistics (RSL), a company that offers brands cast-iron guarantees for service quality.
The company’s 3PL capabilities are, of course, very much driven by technology, so we were pleased to speak exclusively to Gregg Beall, the Vice President of IT at Rakuten Super Logistics, about how the company operates and what its customers can expect today and in the future.
First, however, we addressed this critical issue of the need organizations have to source 3PL services that will effectively replicate those carefully crafted brand values and quality customer experience. “Our reputation and brand are intertwined with our clients’ reputation and brand,” Gregg told us. “This is why we have 100% order accuracy and next day shipping service level agreements (SLAs). We need to achieve those numbers to maintain reputations for ourselves and our clients. We see ourselves as […] an extension of our clients’ businesses.”
Given the emphasis the company places on each of its client’s quality of service, an outsider might be surprised that technology — which some might consider impersonal — is the driver at RSL on all levels. What might a visitor to a Rakuten Super Logistics facility expect to see, therefore, regarding technology actively maintaining others’ brand values?
“We use a proprietary warehouse management system (WMS) that drives our business. Our WMS fully integrates with shopping carts such as Shopify, Magento, BigCommerce, and many more. This allows our clients to have control over their orders and […] we continue to develop cutting-edge technology.” It is seamless integration, from cart to delivery, that makes the difference.
At ground level, the future warehouse is run by technology: robotic systems, automated shelving, packing lines staffed by picking robots, and much more besides. Those are areas that RSL is moving into also, so it can deliver better efficiency for its customers. Beall tells us, “Automation and robotics will further increase our speed and reliability to our clients. Warehouse automation is just the start, we also will be launching a whole new level of services to our clients to use to expand their businesses. 3PL technology is at the heart of the future of eCommerce.”
Robotics and automated systems are just one way that the peaks and troughs in demand in distribution and logistics can be smoothed out: warehouse operators can be under huge pressure to increase staff levels for peak times, yet always with an eye on costs. By using a 3PL, those headaches are cured — as long as the provider can step up to the mark. For Gregg Beall, it’s a simple equation. “At Rakuten Super Logistics, we know that to our clients, a successful peak season means flawless order fulfillment.”
Keeping those 100% SLAs is imperative, Gregg tells us. So, how is it achieved during seasonal spikes in demand? The global operator knows all about holidays and festivals from its operations all over the world. There are Couple’s Day events in Asia, Chinese New Year, Eid (as Ramadam ends), and plenty more as you examine different countries and its markets. In the US, the holidays might fall at different times, but the logistical problems are the same: “We begin planning for [US] peak season in Q2, ensuring we have the technology and equipment needed to keep up with our clients’ orders. We offer system automation of holiday activities and operation services to help clients improve the experience during the holiday season.”
It was little surprise that the talk quickly turned to automation technology – Gregg is VP of IT for the company, after all. “We listen to our customers, especially when it concerns what technology they need to drive their business.” The tech stack extends to giving clients API access to the RSL services, and third-party order management and financial systems integrations are in the pipeline – it is what customers are demanding.
However, the company’s clients do not have to come to the table with big IT budgets and resources to hand-configure API access — every size business is catered for, from the retail startup to the monolithic marketplace platform. RSL itself has grown significantly, starting out with just one location in Olean, NY. Now, it has fifteen nationwide facilities.
“[Our facilities] are strategically located next to major US ports and large metropolitan areas. One of the main advantages of our network is that we can hit a two-day ground shipping network without our clients paying the expedited costs. With automation and expansion, Rakuten Super Logistics is primed to be one of the largest 3PLs in the industry.”
The company celebrated 20 years this year. Over the last two decades, RSL has grown significantly, but the ethos of valuing and representing its clients’ brand values remains solid, Gregg says. “We still firmly believe in our values: empower eCommerce retailers to succeed.”
If your organization is looking for a safe pair of hands for its brand’s values during the logistics portions of your customers’ journey, then Rakuten Super Logistics has the global experience and the commitment to integrity and quality you may be looking for. Reach out to a representative from RSL today to see how the company will fit your needs.