In the logistics industry the phrases warehouse management and inventory management are sometimes confused and often misused interchangeably. They can…
You Can’t Take Shortcuts, What JOY Learned By Switching 3PLs — a DCL Logistics Customer Spotlight
Not all product startups need the same support, and not all 3PLs offer the same support. At DCL Logistics we want to help our startup companies grow by offering value added services that are tailored to their specific business needs. Each DCL customer has a dedicated team to help guide every step of the way, from onboarding at the outset of our partnership, and through each stage of growth.
Recently we started working with JOY, and are excited to launch logistics for them this month. A crowdfunded startup, coming from the HAX accelerator program, JOY makes the Octopus Watch v2 Motion Edition, the first icon-based watch that teaches kids good habits and the concept of time. It helps foster responsibility, independence and self-esteem, while also encouraging them to stay active with its new fitness tracker.
We asked JOY CEO, Sam Hickmann a bit about his decision to outsource logistics to DCL. After first working with a different 3PL for the first two years of the company, he had a lot to say about the differences between the two.
We are very excited to launch JOY Watches as a new partner. What made you choose DCL?
In 2016 when we first started asking around for a logistics partner, DCL was the top recommendation. Unfortunately pricing felt high for us as a startup. We chose a partner who said they are great for startups, but we had a bad experience with them and decided to switch. Now that we know more about logistics, and can compare the two, we discovered that sometimes you have to pay a little more to get a very good service. We have found that DCL is really professional and has already proven to be a great experience.
Before we even signed with DCL, we were able to speak with two different account managers and tour the facilities. They showed us how the system works and were able to see the team and the process right from the beginning. As simple as it seems, we didn’t have any of that with our previous partner.
As we entered the setup process it was really cool to have somebody dedicated just for the set up. Plus we really appreciate having somebody dedicated to our team, someone who will know us, know our problems, know our business, and grow with us. With our old partner we only had a support email that we could contact.
You have a great perspective after working with two very different 3PLs. What is your shortlist of advice to startups looking for a 3PL?
Dig deeper into the details. Especially for startups. A 3PL can advertise things, but when you dig you may realize they are untrue.
EDI integration is a perfect example: our last logistics partner had written on the website that they have an EDI solution, but when you dig deeper it’s actually not at all. I can say only on paper, because we’ve only just launched, but with DCL’s EDI integration we should be able to save at least two days of work per week now. Before, when we receive an order from Target, it’s actually split in 25 orders and we have to go into the EDI provider online and manually validate each individual POS. It’s unbelievable. There were a lot of manual tasks with their system. We had to download all the labels, to make PDFs of them, and send them to our logistics provider—because the EDI provider was a separate partner from our logistics partner. Technically we had to outsource our EDI to another company. It was a really cumbersome waste of time. Based on what I know now with DCL is it should be a few clicks and we should be good to go.
Also, do your homework to make sure the logistics partner you choose has all the necessary tools to give you the optimization you need. How is their software? Is it an online solution? Do they have an app? These are all really important.
With our last logistics partner, they were lacking some key features in terms of reverse logistics and how returns are handled. We were lacking some key features when it comes to sending packages as well. For instance DCL will scan our serial number, and it seems to be trivial and basic, but our old logistics partner doesn’t do that.
And what differences have you found after switching 3PLs?
With DCL everything is simplified, it’s a truly comprehensive solution. It’s clear that over the years DCL has implemented a lot of technical solutions. Our EDI connects everything: RMA and reverse logistics, our API, our website bridges with Amazon. This is what I call comprehensive—it actually covers all our needs. By comparing what we had before, it’s day and night.
One big difference is proximity. Our team is split between France and the US. But we are based in San Francisco, and having our logistics close to us in Fremont, is really a good call. Our last partner was in Florida, and it cost us a lot to get our products to and from their facilities. When you launch a startup, and more specifically a hardware product, the first batches have a 90% chance of having defects and quality problems. Being next to the warehouse gives me piece of mind. I’m not supposed to go there, but I know if something is wrong I can jump in my car and go to the warehouse to help, or at least give instructions on how to help. It’s reassuring.
Another thing that is very different is that we have the chance to go to the DCL warehouse; we can go and sort out our defective products. That is something that our old logistics partner never allowed us to do. They would say because of insurance reasons we can’t let you in the warehouse. This was hard for us because we actually have a fair amount of returns, since we still have a new product. With DCL we are now putting in place a system that our defective products will get sorted and sent back to the manufacturer. It will save so much time.
We are excited to launch with DCL Logistics. Through this transition, I have learned that you can’t take shortcuts—all of this is really important.
JOY’s mission is to make parents and their kids happier and more successful through the superpowers of daily routines and virtual coaching.
More info: www.heyjoy.io