Companies are putting more emphasis on logistics due to the impact it has on customer loyalty and earnings. At the same time, logistics costs are increasing and transportation management is becoming more complex, digitized and fast-paced.
To combat these complexities, companies are looking for logistics service providers that do more than simply book shipments and take orders. 3PLs that are solution-focused and can solve logistics challenges are pivotal to adding value to a company’s supply chain.
What to Expect from a Solutions-Focused 3PL
Solutions-focused 3PLs move businesses beyond freight transactions, helping them evolve and think strategically about logistics and transportation management. The difference between a transactional and solutions-focused 3PL is like vacation planning. If you’re taking a week-long vacation to Disney World, do you show up at the entrance your first day to buy tickets and book a hotel room, or do you plan in advance to secure the best prices and terms?
The same goes for logistics and freight. If you buy at the last minute, you’re paying a premium on the spot market. Thinking long-term and holistically helps you predict demand so you can secure cost-effective contracts at competitive rates. Solutions-focused 3PLs help you plan, strategize and purchase your transportation in a consultative, collaborative and data-driven way.
A solutions-focused 3PL will provide the following value-added services:
- Comprehensive logistics and freight analysis – A great 3PL will spend the time to learn the details and nuances of your unique business, products, and goals during a discovery process. They’ll take time to understand your needs, what you’re struggling with and analyze your freight activity and lanes. It might even make sense for them to visit your sites to learn about your packaging and dock operations.
- Create and implement consistent freight processes – The discovery process enables a solutions-focused 3PL to build an integrated logistics program, tailored to your needs, that connects all the people, processes and technology involved in your supply chain. An effective program should leverage multi-modal solutions and TMS technology to help you drive operational efficiency and overall cost savings.
- Establish scorecards for tracking essential KPIs – What gets measured, gets improved. A solution-focused 3PL will work with you to establish KPIs designed to monitor progress and maintain accountability. On-time pickup, on-time delivery, tender acceptance and rejection percentages, and claims ratios are a few examples of typical KPIs.
- Design and execute a robust continuous improvement program – 3PLs who are solution-focused will conduct business reviews to ensure you’re achieving your goals. Using data-driven business intelligence, they’ll validate the intended results of your collaborative logistics program, monitor and educate your teams on the market, adjust solutions as needed and continuously develop new ways to help your business create competitive advantages from your supply chain.
We encourage you to look beyond your freight planning as a series of independent transactions to a well-thought strategy, which will help you become more efficient, improve performance and save money.
Learn how a solution-focused 3PL can drive overall cost savings and efficiency into your supply chain. Request a logistics and freight needs analysis: call 855-444-6608 or contact us.