Fulfillment & Logistics Services for Holiday Apparel Company
- Business Consulting
- $50,000 to $199,999
- Feb. 2019 - Ongoing
- Willing to Refer
“They're purposeful and deliberate, and once they commit, their work is timely and accurate to what they promise.”
- San Diego, California
- 11-50 Employees
- Phone Interview
Quiet 3PF serves as the fulfillment and logistics provider of a holiday apparel brand. They receive, store, pack, and ship inventory from the firm. They also handle return logistics for unsatisfied buyers.
The firm’s on-time shipping rate rose to 99.2%, and their order accuracy is at 99.97%. Their return rate dropped by 50%. More end users are recommending their brand and repurchasing from them, thanks to Quiet 3PF’s great services. The team takes true ownership of their work and exceeds expectations.
A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.
Introduce your business and what you do there.
I’m the director of fulfillment and logistics for an e-commerce company focused on holiday apparel for Christmas, Halloween, Fourth of July, Easter, and other major American holidays. Our goal is to design, produce, and provide the world’s most fun apparel for holiday events.
I manage our relationships with various carriers that pick up and deliver our packages, such as UPS and FedEx. I oversee everything from the time inventory is produced to the time it’s delivered to the customer.
OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE
What challenge were you trying to address with Quiet 3PF?
To deliver our products to our customers, we utilize Quiet 3PF for their third-party logistics services.
What was the scope of their involvement?
Our team designs and produces the apparel we sell on our website. Once they’re produced, we ship them to Quiet 3PF in large shipping containers or trucks. They unload these trucks into their warehouse via the docks. Then, they go through each shipment to verify the stock-keeping unit (SKU) for all the inbound items. After they count and QA the products, they put the inventory away into storage locations throughout their facility. Our account with them takes up about 40,000 square feet, and most of that is used for storage locations.
During this process, their system is updated when inventory is received. It then shows the available inventory in the facility, which is communicated to our website, allowing customers to purchase available items. When the order is purchased via the website, we communicate it downstream via an API to their warehouse management system (WMS). The details include the customer’s name, delivery address, shipping method, SKU, and quantity.
When they receive the order in their system, they go out, pack, and ship it. One of their associates goes out to the storage locations, pulls the inventory for the order, and brings it to the packing station. They’ll weigh it, put a shipping label on it, and stage it for carrier pickup. The carrier will then take the order to transport and deliver it to the customer.
Quiet 3PF also handles return logistics. If a customer orders an item that doesn’t fit them — they may not be happy with its design or quality — they can ship it back to Quiet 3PF, which receives it and makes sure it’s in sellable condition. If it’s sellable, they put it back in active inventory to be sold again. If not, they mark it as damaged, and we work with the customer to resolve the issue.
In terms of technology, Quiet 3PF utilizes Quiet WMS, a proprietary solution they’ve developed over the last decade. It has a client portal web page that lets customers view the current status of the system. They also use ProShip for carrier management and integrating with UPS or FedEx. On top of that, we’re rolling out a new order management system (OSM). It’s not live yet, but it will allow customers to route orders among different facilities. It’s our own solution, and it can give customers more flexibility to create, manage, and update their accounts before their orders flow down to Quiet WMS.
What is the team composition?
We primarily correspond with an account manager who manages all the emails and phone calls for small and large projects. Then, she branches them off to responsible teams. We work routinely with 2–3 engineers to build out the order flow between our website and their system. To optimize our shipping output, we collaborate with their transportation management team, which has two individuals. These teammates work with carriers around schedules to ensure that items are picked up on time.
We also work with leads and supervisors. They have supervisors for inbound inventory and inventory returns. There’s also a picking supervisor, and another one goes to storage locations and pulls out orders. Finally, they have a lead supervisor for outbound units.
For quarterly business reviews and bigger strategic discussions, we work with the facility’s general manager to talk about our pipelines to ensure we’re facing no surprises. We collaborate to ensure that we have support from top to bottom and that they understand our game plan and projections.
How did you come to work with Quiet 3PF?
We found them through a referral by other e-commerce brands. They had large clients that publicly say they ship via Quiet 3PF, and that put them on our radar.
We were also unhappy with our previous fulfillment providers; we either outgrew them with our rapid growth or their tech capabilities and performance weren’t aligned with our agreement. We already knew about Quiet 3PF then, but they were quite expensive. However, we decided to take a risk on them after enough years of frustration with our fulfillment providers.
How much have you invested with them?
We invest an average of $150,000 every two weeks or $300,000 per month. Our business is seasonal and depends on holidays. During the fourth quarter, especially in November and December, our orders are quite large, so we can spend a few hundred thousand dollars with them in one invoice. Other months like July and August are quite low in orders.
What is the status of this engagement?
We started the partnership in February 2019, and it’s ongoing. We initiated talks in January 2019 and signed the agreement in February 2019. Our inventory first appeared in their facilities in July 2019.
RESULTS & FEEDBACK
What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
Our on-time shipping rate has been about 99.2%, which is awesome. More importantly, Quiet 3PF maintained this delivery rate even throughout the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Our order accuracy has been 99.97%, and this is related to the correctness of the orders, SKUs, and addresses, among others. Moreover, our return rate is half of what it used to be because of accurate and on-time shipments. Our net promoter score (NPS) is up by 30% over our previous provider, meaning our customers are happier and more likely to recommend our brand and repurchase.
Furthermore, the staff required to manage the engagement is now one-third of what it used to be. For us to make win-win collaborative relationships with other people, three individuals used to work full-time on our account. That was just for fielding inquiries, visiting on-site, and working with the warehouse. By contrast, we only need one person with Quiet 3PF.
Since signing an agreement with Quiet 3PF in 2019, we haven’t looked back. We’ve never had a better fulfillment experience — it’s at an all-time high. We’re extremely content right now, and we don’t plan on making a change anytime soon.
How did Quiet 3PF perform from a project management standpoint?
In terms of project management, they perform tremendously well. They’re a little slow to commit because they want to ensure they truly understand the account’s requirements and the customer’s expectations. They’re purposeful and deliberate, and once they commit, their work is timely and accurate to what they promise.
For comparison, other vendors say whatever they need to say to acquire a client. After the contract is signed, they become unsure of their services. They don’t always come through with expectations, so they overpromise and underdeliver. In the end, they leave clients very unsatisfied. By contrast, Quiet 3PF has had a truly awesome project management style.
We mainly communicate via email, and they’re very responsive. If anything needs to be escalated or is a little more urgent than usual, then we use phone calls.
What did you find most impressive about them?
Quiet 3PF always keeps their word, and they’re honest and transparent even when they’re admitting a mistake or anything that might cost them a customer or money. Their true ownership of the engagement stands out because they try to create a win-win situation with us instead of simply trying to make a buck. This enables them to perform above our expectations. They do want to make money like anybody else, but they pick the right clients in their portfolio. They understand their customers’ needs and desires so they set realistic targets and hit them.
Are there any areas they could improve?
When we submit requests, it takes them multiple weeks or even months to commit, and that can be frustrating. However, that frustration isn’t for long. When they do commit, they truly understand what’s been asked of them so we’re always happy with the end results that they produce.
Meanwhile, it’d also be nice if they could be a little less expensive. That being said, they do save us money by making our customers happy in the long run.
Do you have any advice for potential customers?
Be active in your relationship with the account manager and facility managers. Talk to the sales and executive team and establish a relationship with them, too. Showing up and committing personal investments into the relationship goes a long way with Quiet 3PF. That's because many e-commerce brands treat their warehouses like an afterthought. There’s no emotional or personal investment, so the provider becomes jaded.
It means much to Quiet 3PF to build that personal relationship. In fact, they’ve even been willing to do things for us that they aren’t willing to do for other bigger brands. In other words, invest a little bit of energy, emotion, and maybe even a little money — treat them to lunch or a nice dinner — so you can build a good relationship with them.
Service & Deliverables
On time / deadlines
Value / within estimates
Willing to Refer5.0