Logistics are a juggling act — the bigger the company or further your reach, the more objects you have in the air at any given time. And when those items have liabilities or deadlines attached to them, they might as well be ticking timebombs. A mishap or snag in your supply chain can blow up directly in your face, compromising customer relations and cutting into your bottom line.
If you have the in-house resources for transportation, inventory, warehousing, and distribution — and the ability to carefully orchestrate and manage all of that for your clients, then great. However, it's more likely that you'll want at least one of those tasks taken off your hands. If that describes you, then you might want to explore the advantages of 3PL — third party logistics.
3PL Advantage #1: Expertise
Know what you don't know — logistics is a field of expertise in itself, with many nuances to consider. Communication, handling, packaging, inventory, transportation, warehousing, and even security all play a role. On top of that, there are laws, rules, and regulations that must be adhered to amidst all these processes. Even if your company does have a dedicated logistics department, keeping abreast of the constant developments and best practices in these areas can be overwhelming. When you outsource logistics functions to a reputable 3PL provider, you're ensuring things are done the best way that they currently can, from mode of transportation to the route planning to on-loading and offloading.
3PL Advantage #2: Resources
A quality 3PL provider comes with an extensive network of resources ready to go. They have the leverage of strong relationships throughout the supply chain, meaning they can route (and reroute) more goods to more places more quickly and more efficiently. Also, you may be the beneficiary of volume discounts or reduced overhead costs from those suppliers. Furthermore, utilizing their personnel and facilities mean you don't have to pay to maintain your own.
3PL Advantage #3: Peace of mind
Perhaps the greatest advantage of outsourcing logistics is peace of mind. Issues can and do arise in nearly every logistics operation — breakdowns, accidents, inclement weather, illnesses, unplanned checkpoint, etc. — having to explain and deal with these problems or delays yourself can be both stressful and time-consuming. A responsible 3PL provider will minimize the probability of issues arising and handle them tactfully when they do.
3PL Advantage #4: Monitoring and technology
If your business relies on computers — and chances are it does — then you're aware of how expensive it is to constantly upgrade software or technology. Nearly any 21st century 3pl provider will have access to a transportation management system (TMS), real-time order tracking, route/consolidation optimization software, data analysis and reporting metrics, and freight auditing and payment solutions. With all that in place, you'll never be left to wonder where you're goods are at or when they'll arrive.
3PL Advantage #5: Scalability
The beauty of 3PL is it is not one-size-fits-all. You can outsource as few or as many logistics functions as you need to. For instance, do you have your own warehouse facilities but do not own a fleet of trucks? Contract the 3PL for your transportation function. Are you a seasonal business that experiences ebbs and flows in seasonal demand? Use your 3PL provider's facilities affiliates to store your additional inventory during peak season.
NLN Adapts To You
National Logistics Network is proud of our extensive resource base and range of logistics capabilities. Contact us today to request a quote.