When you’re changing 3PL providers, a smooth transition is critical. It enables you to uphold customer service levels, maintain your speed to market and control costs.
A seamless transition starts with clearly defined processes. Established processes will help guide every aspect of your start-up and ensure proper management and support for such transitions – particularly when they need to occur within short time frames.
5 Steps to an Effective Transition
An effective transition management process typically includes:
- Defining project scope – Your new 3PL should take the time to thoroughly understand your needs and wants up front. On-site meetings can help to identify over-arching objectives, deliverables and the transition timetable and provide a framework for the project.
- Soliciting project sponsors – Based on your needs, the 3PL will assemble management and IS teams skilled in facilitating start-ups. Typically, a qualified transition team is made up of key players from management, human resources, safety, and process engineering teams. Establishing appropriate internal project champions also helps to keep the project on track.
- Planning and resourcing – The team develops a comprehensive action plan for the start-up. Identifying necessary tools, available resources, incremental steps, key milestones and due dates up front helps avoid surprises such as unexpected costs. The 3PL you select should have the locations, technology and quality labor pool to meet your needs.
- Implementation – Throughout the process, you can expect your 3PL to monitor progress, track the budget, provide on-going communication, and implement contingency plans as needed to ensure a seamless transition. Key management team members may work on-site throughout the implementation process to ensure seamless service.
- Transition to on-going operations – Once the facility is fully functional, your 3PL should conduct a post-implementation review to help assess the process and identify areas for fine tuning.
Keeping these five steps in mind while transitioning to a new 3PL will help to set realistic expectations for your transition, as well as a framework to keep you and your team aware of next steps.