We didn’t want to build this. In fact we asked other people to build it for over a year but nobody really understood the nuances of fulfillment from both the brand and the provider side. So with a bit of naïveté and supply chain consulting business as our sponsor and incubator we set out to create a standard that the industry was lacking.
Here are the main issues we sought out to solve
All 3PL providers appear to have the exact same marketing pitch: They all claim to ship on time, be cost-effective, and have happy customers. When asking a brand reference what they thought about a provider they usually pointed to qualitative measures; “they are nice” or “we have a good relationship,” etc. The lack of objective quantitative metrics made it challenging for eCommerce businesses to differentiate between 3PL providers were good or bad.
There is an enormous amount of effort put into finding the right 3PL provider and negotiating Service Level Agreements (SLAs) prior to contract signature. However, once the contract is signed, most brands or 3PLs do not regularly look at SLAs to ensure that they are being fulfilled. It isn’t because they are suddenly less important- it’s because it was manual the methodolgy used wasn’t always clear or trusted.
All of this led to very emotional relationships between 3PL providers and eCommerce businesses, where there could be a high degree of distrust and a lack of objectivity during adversity. When SLAs were not met, it could result in finger-pointing, blaming, and a breakdown in the relationship between the 3PL provider and the eCommerce business. Similarly both sides were missing context to see if the current blip in performance was an outlier or the norm.
Calculating SLA adherence was very manual and time-consuming, which made it difficult for eCommerce businesses to accurately track and report on 3PL performance. Additionally, the industry lacked a set of standards to measure itself against, making it challenging for eCommerce businesses to compare performance across different 3PL providers. Despite fulfillment being the in the top 5 spend categories for most startups there hasn’t been a universal methodolgy that everyone uses to keep score. Could you imagine comparing football teams if the size of each goal was slightly different?
Overcoming These Challenges with Capabl
Capabl was built to overcome these challenges and provide eCommerce businesses with real-time insights into their fulfillment operations. Capabl's automated reporting and analytics tools allow eCommerce businesses to track and report on key performance metrics, including order accuracy, order fulfillment speed, and on-time fulfillment.
Our goal isn’t to get between how a brand and their fulfillment center play together; it’s simply to but a ref on the field.