When it comes to business partnerships, everyone knows that it is important for those relationships to be amicable. Any frustrations or difficulties can stunt the growth and overall health of both parties, which defeats the purpose of creating a relationship in the first place.
Your relationship with a 3PL provider is no different. A business owner needs to be able to rely on a 3PL provider to effectively move and manage their inventory, while a 3PL provider seeks trust from a business owner to implement practices that it believes will benefit the company.
Supply chain logistics is a complicated part of any business, and a 3PL provider can be a valuable asset. This is especially the case when there is a good relationship between the business and the 3PL.
What is a 3PL Service?
Let’s say that you recently started a business because you had an innovative idea. Your great idea is a massive success, and before you know it, you have a healthy customer base and a steady flow of orders coming in. Your success is exactly what many business owners dream of, but as the demand for your product continues to grow, you might find that staying organized and consistent becomes a bit of a challenge.
As the number of orders increases, you will discover that it is difficult to stay on top of organizing shipments, fulfilling client expectations, and managing the logistics of inventory. In fact, the pressure of juggling these aspects of your booming company is overwhelming.
These feelings are completely normal. It can take months, or even years to master an understanding of supply-chain management, and it can be stressful when you’re facing a steep learning curve.
The good news? A 3PL service can help smooth things out.
3PL providers have all of the expertise required to evaluate your company’s management needs and create an efficient and effective system that serves both your business and your customers. With the help of a 3PL service, you can get your business back on track, and spend more time focusing on the aspects of your company that are more necessary for your business.
This article should help answer some of the basic questions you might have if you’re considering hiring a 3PL service to assist your business.
Top 4 Reasons to Outsource 3PL Services
Efficiency is key in today’s economy. To maintain an efficient edge over competitors it requires time, money, and focus on maintaining an expert edge on the company’s core competency. Additionally, problems can arise when a company diverts its energy from its core competency. For this reason, many companies have realized that outsourcing functions such as logistics, allows their employees to refocus effort on more relevant tasks to reach their goals. Competitive businesses cannot afford to divert their attention from their products in order to get the best bang from their logistics. Over 85% of fortune 500 companies choose to outsource some part of their logistics operations and utilize 3PL providers. East Coast Transport would like to highlight the top reasons why a company should outsource 3PL services, a Third-Party Logistics Provider.
The Primary Reasons Most Companies Choose 3PL Services? Time and Money:
When you use a 3PL provider like ECT, there is no need to invest in a large logistics division. Companies who do, are required to have ample warehouse space, transportation, an expert operations staff. They have to worry about billing, wages, audits, training the staff, space optimization. Those companies that choose to outsource to 3PL, understand that a skilled Third-Party Logistics Provider will perform all these more efficiently. This saves both time and money and ensures that experts in the logistics field are handling the company’s logistics efficiently and competently.
ECT Understands that One Size Does Not Fit All Needs:
The ability to have scalability and flexibility is very relevant. As the business grows, the logistical needs of the company grow and these again take time and money to scale up. During slow times, if logistics is not outsourced, logistics manpower is not fully utilized, and this eats into valuable capital. With a third-party provider, a company hires logistics resources in direct response to business growth. This keeps costs at optimum levels while providing the flexibility to scale up and down quickly.
Take Advantage of ECT’s Core Expertise as a 3PL in Logistics Management:
ECT knows about the best practices in the industry, and as a 3PL we stay up to date with all the latest regulations. We have the skill and experience to manage it all, from a small to a very large scale, with high efficiency. Their software is optimized and provides a wide range of reports. Companies using ECT have strong visibility and monitoring capabilities for a worry-free logistics environment. This ensures that companies can focus on their core business activity, and assured that their logistic needs are being handled by trained, seasoned professionals.
ECT Offers Continuous Optimization and the Latest Technology:
ECT as a 3PL are experts in managing links in the supply chain. It is their core competency. They have the resources to adjust to changing, individual circumstances, and have the ability to constantly monitor each link in the supply chain to ensure they get the fastest, most efficient service, which in turn means the same for their clients and companies. ECT staff are abreast of the latest technology and the company has invested heavily to be a premier 3PL. Individual companies do not always have the funding capital required to ensure they have the newest technology. ECT is constantly on top of the technology trends and advancements, especially in food safety and transportation. This ensures the latest and the best is available for their client 3PL services.
Logistics is often an add-on activity for businesses, and East Coast Transport understands this. ETC constantly searches for the best options available for shipping and other logistical solutions, providing this service to companies. ECT believes that a business should be spending their energy on their key value, and product. Logistics is a very important part of business operations, particularly in the food industry and retail industry. Poor logistics can often cost a company their ‘brand value.’ This is precisely where ECT as a 3PL player fits, and why companies now rely on outsourcing their logistics divisions.
What Kind of Service Does a 3PL Provider Offer?
A 3PL service (which stands for third-party logistics) handles the various aspects of supply chain management. In other words, 3PLs handle the logistics of transportation, shipping, and handling, warehousing, and inventory.
- When you first reach out to a 3PL provider, they will evaluate the rate at which orders are being placed, determine if your inventory storage and organization is adequate and assess your methods for packing shipping.
- They will implement methods that will help you keep track of all your orders and avoid misplacing shipments.
- As your company continues to grow, a 3PLservice will help you adapt to accommodate increased demand and expansion.
Unlike a 4PL, which adds another level of detachment between your company and its supply chain management, a 3PL provider works closely with you and your company to get an intimate understanding of the services you want to provide your customers.
What are the Benefits of Working with a 3PL Provider?
- A 3PL provider improves the efficiency of the various aspects of the supply chain that support your company. From streamlining shipping and delivery to remodeling inventory practices, a 3PL service can help companies to stay competitive in today’s market, where customers expect speedy service with minimal hassle.
- Additional benefits: Working with a 3PL service can save your time and free up resources, allowing you to focus on other aspects of your business.
- 3PL providers have a vast knowledge when it comes to supplying chain management, so working with such a provider allows your company to expand its reach and grow your company’s network.
Leave the logistics to us. Consider hiring East Coast Transport as your 3PL provider so that you can spend more time brainstorming ways to evolve and grow your company.
How Do I Pick a 3PL Service Provider?
There are quite a few things you’ll want to consider when picking a 3PL provider but in this crash course guide,
We’ll focus on two of the most important points:
- Determining where the 3PL fulfillment centers are located
- Evaluating the type of technology the 3PL uses to conduct business.
A 3PL service provider is going to be serving your customer base, so you have to be sure that the fulfillment centers are located in areas that are close proximity to your clients. This ensures quick delivery and faster customer satisfaction.
Similarly, you’ll want to be sure that the technology that your 3PL provider uses to stay organized and manage your supply chain is complementary to your business practices. A 3PL service is there to support your business and improve operations, so the more compatible their technology is better.
How to Initiate a Relationship With a 3PL Provider
If you have just started working with a 3PL, or if you’re considering hiring one, there are a few things you can do from the beginning to start your relationship off on a good foot.
First, be sure to establish an effective method of communication. The most effective 3PL relationships usually center around one point of contact with the 3PL. This one point of contact should be familiar with the challenges facing your company’s supply chain and can effectively express those concerns.
After selecting your point of contact, brainstorm how you want your 3PL provider to assist you. Evaluate exactly what you want to get out of the relationship and try to define what you will consider acceptable performance. The better you are able to articulate your expectations to a 3PL, the greater chance they have of achieving – or even exceeding – those expectations.
How to Maximize the Success of a 3PL Relationship
A partnership with a 3PL can bring a great sigh of relief to a company overwhelmed by growing inventory and increasing sales. However, there are a few things that you can do to maximize the benefit that a 3PL brings your company.
Most importantly, maintaining regular contact with the 3PL is key to a good relationship. Over time, concerns may evolve or change, and it is essential to keep your 3PL provider in the loop. The more information you share with a 3PL provider, the more they will be able to adapt to address those worries. A 3PL may even be able to evaluate your concern from a different perspective and offer solutions that you might not have previously considered.