Articles To Get the Most from Logistics Outsourcing, Read the Directions

We all have resources that are underutilized – like that cappuccino maker in the back of the cupboard. The thing is, if we put them to good use, they can make our lives better – perhaps whipping up an eye-opening java. Often, the problem is that we just don’t know how to use them to their full potential.

The same holds true for 3PLs. While obviously a more sophisticated resource than a fancy coffee maker, third-party providers also can be underutilized. Without clear directions, they simply can’t deliver the best results.

Find yourself wishing you had a user manual for your 3PL? Check out the column by Perry Belcastro, Saddle Creek’s senior vice president, operations, in the latest issue of Inbound Logistics.

Following is an excerpt from the article…

Optimizing a 3PL Partnership

Taking time to invest in a strong relationship with your third-party logistics (3PL) provider can have a remarkable return on investment for your business:

  1. Start with the end game in mind. Consider how you will define success. Enhancing your brand? Gaining better control of your inventory? Offering fast or free delivery? Improving the customer experience? All of the above? Having a clear idea of your desired outcome can help you identify priorities and give clear direction to your provider.
  2. Consider your customers’ service-level expectations. Do your customers expect same-day or next-day shipments, or would they be satisfied with two- or three-day service? Are products one-size-fits-all or is personalization required? Communicate these expectations to your 3PL so that they can design a solution that meets them.
  3. Set high standards. Your provider should pay careful attention to solution design and utilize proven processes to uphold service excellence. Confirm that they’re leveraging methodologies like Lean Six Sigma to ensure quality and accuracy. Expect your 3PL to spur continuous improvement by sharing innovative ideas for reducing costs, increasing productivity and improving service.

For the remaining tips, read the article.