Chances are you’ve heard the phrase “white glove treatment” at some point, and you know what kind of…fancy imagery it can conjure up.

But even above and beyond simply getting your house (or expensive import car) deep-cleaned, there’s a growing number of logistics suppliers and warehousing specialists who have begun adding a ‘white glove’ touch to various points along the supply chain.

These methods have already struck a chord with customers and warehouses alike, by allowing their goods to be processed more carefully along every step of the supply chain. If you think your warehouse could stand to implement the white glove treatment along the way, here’s a few things to consider before implementing any new shipping/handling strategies:

 

Identify the needs of your audience

First, before you run off and start making changes to your entire logistics procedure, make sure that white glove service will fit the kind of products you offer and the sort of audience you serve. Sure, everyone likes their packages to show up on time and in good condition, but the sort of products you sell and how you sell them will make a big impact on these choices. For example, do you sell direct to customers or are you B2B-focused? Are your sales typically done to consumers who will regularly use your product, or do you serve more of a ‘collector’ or ‘luxury’ demographic? Do your products need home installation for use which may necessitate a white glove treatment of someone’s entire house? Asking yourself these questions will help you figure out if white glove shipping is right for your business period.

 

Determine what areas could be changed or improved

The most interesting (and occasionally frustrating) thing about white glove logistics is that it can affect different areas of warehouse operations depending on the products involved and how they need to be handled. Consider things like how your products are shipped (standard mail, local delivery/pickup), the average order size and item size, and how many ‘touches’ your items get during delivery before making any assessments. In certain cases an item may be ineligible for a ‘white glove’ approach due to how they’re processed or handled, but getting a better understanding across the board will prove invaluable as you make changes.

 

Understand the effect this will have on your storage and handling

Of course, white glove treatment involves more than just safer shipping and handling—it’s also going to impact how your products are stored in the warehouse itself. By establishing white glove metrics such as safe handling characteristics, complete weight ranges, and padding/sealing requirements for more delicate packages, you can start to plan any warehouse renovations as needed by adding more pallet racks and warehouse shelves, as well as warehouse safety rails to protect your more sensitive goods.

In addition to storage, you need to be aware of how this will affect your handling. If you begin to offer customer delivery requirements like one-hour delivery or free shipping after a certain price threshold, you may need to adjust staffing levels, handling procedures, and delivery KPIs to ensure these goals are sustainable—otherwise you could find yourself with a lot of disappointed customers waiting on their orders. And in this business, that’s a mistake nobody can afford to make.

 

Work with your shipping partners to hit these goals

Finally, all the warehouse preparation in the world can’t help your shipping goals if you don’t have the right shipping options to get everything there on time. Look into a wide range of shipping partners, including ones you already work with, and see who can offer the best treatment for your ‘white glove’ products. Keep in mind that despite your (very human) temptation to go with the cheapest option, if you really want to keep your white glove customers around you may need to splurge a little on their shipping options.

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