Advances in technology and global business exposure due to increased internet-based purchasing through smartphones and computers have given companies greater opportunities for tapping a rich vein of marketability and virtually unlimited visibility for their brand, products, and services. Larger companies with a solid logistics infrastructure see little impact on their overall shipping and distribution processes due to the revitalization of customer demand on an international scale. For smaller companies or previously geographically-restricted businesses, the ability to provide products to a global audience also comes with the challenges of managing an effective logistics process.
Third-party logistics (3PL) provides a means for companies to outsource their packaging, storage, and shipping/transportation needs to a specialized provider that focuses solely on managing the end-to-end supply chain and logistics needs of manufacturers and distributors. This type of logistics management provides a wealth of benefits to companies both large and small, such as:
- Frees up company resources (time, finances, people) to focus on core competencies
- Provides a more efficient and consistent method of handling fluctuations in volume (demand)
- 3PLs have access to a broader network of resources than in-house logistics teams do
- Outsourcing reduces the space requirements of a company by eliminating the need for warehousing, shipping, and packaging facilities on-site
- Overall reduction in overhead due to lack of need for supply chain staffing, facilities, and tools for completion of logistics processes
- 3PL trucking and warehousing providers are experts in logistics because that is their only job
- Outsourced logistics are able to adapt to constantly changing demands for space, labor, and transportation by providing services on an “as needed” basis
- Third-party logistics providers are hyper-aware of supply chain practices, regulations, and governing policies, as well as changes to those factors, and are constantly evolving their methods to stay on top of industry standards and make beneficial improvements to the various links in their supply chains
3PL providers usually work closely with the company to whom they are providing services to ensure that the company’s needs are being met at every stage of the supply chain. They also generally offer the ability for companies to remotely manage logistics processes, track movement of shipments, view and make adjustments to inventories, and modify other aspects of the different stages of packaging, warehousing, and shipping processes in real-time, 24 hours a day. This is typically done via online utilities that give a 3PL client the flexibility to manage all those factors from their home or office via computer, laptop, or internet-enabled mobile device.
Those are just a few of the numerous benefits of outsourcing logistics and supply chain needs to a third-party provider. It’s a win-win situation for both parties involved, and due to a company’s ability to monitor, make changes to, and track their supply chain in real-time, there are no real disadvantages to obtaining the services of a 3PL provider.
The logistics realm is a highly competitive environment because of the numerous benefits outsourced supply chain processes offer to companies of any size, no matter what level of demand the company’s merchandise is exposed to. 3PL providers are stepping up their game to provide the highest standards of customer service through the establishment of close working relationships and assurance of the importance of your logistics needs to them on a business-to-business level. After all, your business IS their business.
If you are in need of warehousing, logistics, 3PL, supply chain management and/or transportation services or you would like to work with a company that’s progressive, community minded give us a call.