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Weber Logistics

Vendor Compliance: From a 3PL Perspective
By Scott Weiss, Weber Logistics

We continue our series of 7 Steps to Reduce Chargebacks in Your Vendor Compliance Program.

  • Step 1 - Quantify the financial impact of chargebacks
  • Step 2 - Utilize an advanced warehouse management system (WMS).
  • Step 3 - Get EDI Right
  • Step 4 - Make compliance someone's full time job
  • Step 5 - Develop a better audit process

The first step toward a better audit process is to clearly document the specific requirements of each retail customer. This documentation process is relatively straightforward. Most large retailers have vendor websites where they post and update routing guides. Utilize your WMS and compliance department steps described in our previous articles to fully document and create a cheat sheet for each retailer. A company intranet site, a cheat sheet hard copy binder, and a spreadsheet type matrix have all proven to be proactive and successful systems.

Performing a QC check on a sample percentage of outbound shipments is the second step toward building a better audit process. The audits themselves serve as a final step to make sure you are in compliance with the routing guides prior to your product leaving the doors of your distribution center.

Examples of audits include:

  • The information on the label is accurate
  • The correct label has been applied to the right carton or pallet
  • Labels have been placed in the right location
  • The correct packing lists have been attached
  • The correct product has been picked and matches the packing list
  • The correct quantity of product has been picked and matches the packing list
  • The bill of lading is accurately completed
  • Pallet instructions have been followed (e.g., correct pallet type used, proper pallet height and configuration built, use of shrink-wrap)
  • ASN's are transmitted on time
  • Routing guidelines have been followed

Successful retail compliance demands that all departments within your organization are meeting or exceeding expectations. These audits will require you to stay on top of many departments within your organization including warehouse operations, customer service, and information services. The audits can be tracked, monitored, and recorded utilizing a structured format. This will allow you to track your historical accuracy as well as to identify specific areas of opportunity for improvement.

If you outsource to a third party logistics provider (3PL) for your distribution, ask to see their comprehensive written audit procedure and their internal scorecards against these audits. If your 3PL cannot provide these documents and procedures to you, then it is absolutely critical that you work with them to implement a structured audit program.

Next month: Step 6 - Challenge Chargebacks

Scott Weiss
Scott Weiss is an expert on the West Coast logistics market and has been in the 3PL industry for over 16 years. He is Vice President of Client Solutions for Weber Logistics, The West Coast Logistics Leader. In business since 1924, Weber is a family owned third party logistics provider that operates twenty distribution centers and over six million square feet of warehouse space throughout the West Coast. Included in its services are a comprehensive in-house routing guide compliance program for order fulfillment to all major retailers and e-commerce fulfillment. Scott can be reached at