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It's easy to overlook the role that third-party logistics (3PL) providers play in the overall global economy. In both good times and during periods of supply chain disruption, logistics are genuinely essential to the efficient and speedy movement of goods around the globe — 3PLs not only contribute to an optimized flow of these goods, they generally also guide businesses toward improved health and profitability.

The complexities of the modern supply chain emphasize the need for companies of all sizes to partner with an expert to ensure access to proven technology, capacity and strategic insights. While selecting a 3PL that is the optimal fit for your business can be challenging, it's the first step toward supply chain optimization and dramatically raising the level at which your business operates and competes.

The 3PL Role in Supply Chain Transformation

Companies traditionally find it difficult to access logistics solutions and manage capacity on their own, and they turn to 3PLs with this expertise to improve operational processes and gain a competitive advantage. Just some of the benefits of this partnership and supply chain optimization include:

  • Deep carrier relationships to reduce company freight costs
  • Improved transit time and on-time delivery
  • Claims reduction and chargeback avoidance strategies
  • Improved product visibility and daily reporting
  • Strategic account management team for tailored solutions

Below are five critical characteristics to look for in a 3PL as you begin your supply chain transformation.

1. Supply Chain Improvement Starts with Technology

Look for a 3PL provider that offers a transportation management system (TMS) and supply chain technology to provide real-time data to drive optimized decision-making and automation, and put KPIs in place to monitor the health of your operations. Pricing may vary significantly based on carriers, lanes and capacity constraints – partner with a trusted 3PL that will provide cost prediction model intelligence on pricing and market trends via a live dashboard to help your business adapt to rapidly changing market conditions, automate processes and gain visibility.

2. Multimodal Expertise, One of the Many Benefits of 3PL Partnerships

Using multimodal shipping services and logistics solutions helps mitigate capacity challenges and meet customer delivery expectations. Full-service 3PLs have access to a broad range of carriers and transportation services that can be combined to create custom logistics solutions for your business.

3. Carrier Relationships Add Capacity Coverage

A strong carrier network is essential to a company's supply chain. Many shippers have varying needs for specific lanes to move freight. Shifting consumer demand, bad weather, driver shortages, fuel prices and an array of influences conspire to shrink available capacity and can impact a company's ability to move product. 3PL logistics providers have a large network of pre-qualified carriers and can help you find capacity where and when you need it. 3PL provider carrier partners are essential, and 3PLs bring them freight and customers that they would otherwise not have.

4. Solutions for Supply Chain Improvement

Tap external expertise to assess supply chain risks and develop plans to adapt to them. An experienced 3PL provider has developed strategies for many other shippers and can adapt successful strategies for a customized supply chain optimization plan. When we engage as a strategic partner with our customers, we provide a control tower view over an entire supply chain operation. We work with vendors to ensure that inbound freight is being handled properly and is moving to the right place at the right time and manage the outbound moves to the end customers.

5. Scalable Managed Transportation Solutions

Businesses in different stages of their life cycle have unique needs. When it's time, a capable 3PL will have a robust offering of managed transportation solutions and be ready to evolve from a freight shipping partner to a fully (or partially) outsourced supply chain management partner. Ultimately, you want to find a managed transportation services partner that provides technology-driven and people-powered supply chain solutions with your customers' needs in mind.

An Efficient Supply Chain Starts with Third Party Logistics Expertise

GlobalTranz is an industry-leading 3PL services company, providing best-in-class supply chain optimization, managed transportation (including LTL and FTL freight shipping) and shipping technology solutions for businesses of all sizes. Our goals are to find new ways to decrease costs, increase efficiency, provide a competitive advantage for your business and help you improve service levels for your customers.

Connect with a GlobalTranz Expert to learn how customized logistics solutions can help you transform your supply chain.