Figuring out whether outsourcing shipping to a single source logistics company is not always an easy task, nor is choosing the perfect partner. There are many factors to consider, from the costs of distribution and shipping to the time spent on repair and maintenance. To find if an outside 3PL (Third Party Logistics) provider may benefit your organization it helps to ask a few pertinent questions.
Floods of Data and Administrative Burden
A good initial question to think over is whether or not your own current IT staff can handle a sudden increase in workload. If the answer is no, then it might be worth the time and effort to find a Third Party Logistics company as a way to take this out of your anticipated workflow. Management solutions also are a big part of what logistics companies provide.
An excellent set of follow-up questions that complement the significant IT issues should be related to budget. The simple fact is that an in-house logistics system costs thousands of dollars to install and run. Take into account upgrades and industry advances that make an in-house system susceptible to falling behind. Staying competitive in the world of trade and commerce requires investment. The cost of an outside provider is frequently less expensive and adds value through access to the latest innovations in shipping technologies.
Single Source Logistics and Your Budget
Beside the question of solving IT bottlenecks and adding to overall budget savings, outsourcing solution management also brings benefits to the production bottom line. For one, 3PL companies have deep resources needed to serve customers from day one. This means that there is no time spent training and retraining staff as needed to learn the ever-changing ways of business operations. Tell your single source logistics company what your commercial goals are and they should work with you to meet those goals. The right 3PL company has their own stable of contacts and industry network experts to implement client requirements. It’s all about making sure that you have as few problems and points of contact when it comes to solving the everyday (and often unexpected) problems in transportation.
To get the best service available from a 3PL, ask:
- Does your company own all of the transport vessels?
- Do you subcontract out parts?
- Or is it strictly a broker for the services of others?
- How much transparency and flexibility is involved with the services your 3PL company provides?
- What are your tracking capabilities and response time?
- Can customers track your shipping needs and any given Key Performance Indicator (KPI) on demand?
Finding a Single Source Logistics Partner
The answers to many of these questions are subjective and changeable. Your job as a researcher is to find solutions that add the most value to the service or product your company puts on the market. This all has to happen with minimal distraction and stress added to your work. Only when these particular set of markers are clear is it time to pull the trigger on which company will be a fit partner for your operation.
Port City Logistics is a trusted consultant for shipping. We can help you get started, or take on existing large accounts quickly. Let our staff answer all your budget, workflow and timing questions so you can choose well. Start a conversation with us today!