An unknown advantage of outsourcing your pallet control.
You may be considering hiring a pallet controller or outsourcing your pallet control functions to a third-party. When making the choice it is important to remember that an inexperienced pallet control will need training covering pallet software, account audits, and reporting requirements. You can waive this added pallet training by hiring an experienced pallet controller or by seeking an experienced third-party specialising in CHEP and Loscam pallet management.
The pros and cons of outsourcing your business function is a well-documented discussion, but something I have not seen much about it is perhaps one of the most underestimated advantages to outsourcing your pallet management, and that is leveraging existing relationships.
When outsourcing to a team you access the pre-existing relationships with a national network of pallet controllers, and the truth is that the pallet control community is relatively small. Partnering with an established company does not just give you access to knowledge; it instantly connects your organisation to the relationships an entire team has built with other organisations across the country. This includes CHEP Australia and Loscam Limited. These established relationships mean that the pallet control company understands the ‘rules of engagement’ and that they have a point of contact, with who they have a relationship, to clarify any uncertainties. This is an important starting point as your business must be aware of the terms that apply to transfers to your customers to reduce the risk of pallet rejection and the associated loss of pallets.
Partnering with a company that has the fundamental knowledge of marketplace requirements allows for the integration of your internal process. For a third-party logistics provider, this allows you to build on the services you provide to your clients.
Once terms are established, and solid processes are in place the role of a pallet controller shifts to one of maintenance and a continuous search for improvement. In both areas, an established relationship with the pallet controllers of your suppliers and customers will be beneficial, simply because they can pick up the phone and have a chat with someone who knows them. Prompt execution of tasks is not where it stops, I really wanted to understand why a claim for pallets presented in the same way can be rejected in one instance and accepted in the next, or why term negotiation can be focused on fair outcomes on one occasion and ‘how much can I get’ during another interaction. The conclusion I reached is that when there is a pre-existing relationship built on consistency and trust a favourable resolution is far more likely to be reached, but why is that? I think there are a couple of reasons;
Reciprocity: With the pallet community being small there is a very good chance your trading partner has been helped previously by the outsourced agency you are engaging. Pallet control is transactional and there are always queries and exceptions to resolve. Earning this give and take puts your business in a great position, with multiple psychology studies I found showing the link between receiving help and then the need to reciprocate. By partnering with a company that has proven relationships with trading partners they have helped over the years, you are leveraging the goodwill and loyalty felt by the customer.
Authority: An existing relationship is built up over many transactional interactions over time, earning a degree of trust in the other parties’ abilities and experience. Through the bond created with pallet control a sense of authority is formed, providing a willingness for the customer to follow recommendations. In a pallet control scenario, this is important to establish ground rules and ensure the best possible outcome for all queries. Going back to my earlier point, two identical requests can have differing outcomes, this can be affected by the feeling of authority and respect by the customer to the requester. This sense of authority is even further supported through a third party’s knowledge of the industry, on trading partner terms, CHEP and Loscam requirements, and the pure focus on pallet control. As experts in the field, they have persuasive powers in endorsing change. Using outsourced pallet control can increase your authority on pallet control matters leading to better results.
Trust: Dr. Robert Cialdini lists ‘liking someone’ as one of the major influences in decision making, this is further shown in an article on the principles of persuasion. This shows that we prefer to say yes to people we know and like, utilising this influence through the relationships previously formed can affect what your business can achieve through the third-party pallet control. Loyalty to the outsourced provider is a commitment the customers have made, to remain consistent they will trust the businesses they trust. This likeability and trust are then associated with your organisation, you can use these relationships to your advantage, providing the give and take to both achieve a common goal.
My conclusion is taking advantage of outsourced pallet control provides businesses leverage through existing relationships, building your professional image, and boosting your competitive advantage. An experienced in-house pallet controller can bring these relationships with them. Whatever your choice it may be worthwhile asking a few questions about their engagement with the pallet community, because in the words of Henry Ford “you can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do”.