We are already well into 2018 and you may be thinking about ways to make some strategic changes to your business this year. An area that could always benefit from a fresh pair of eyes is your supply chain. Someone to consider for this job should most definitely be a 3PL.
You might be asking, "Why would I use a 3PL? Aren't they just a middle-man?" To be fair, those that are not familiar with the services provided by 3PLs might have that belief. In actuality, most third party logistics providers function as problem solvers for their customers. 3PLs have carved out a niche for themselves in the transportation industry by focusing on generating value beyond just simply moving freight. Many offer a wide variety of services so that they can be a "one stop shop" of transportation options, some focus on specific industries and commodities and become experts in those arenas, while others strive to do it all.
Take for instance the current shipping environment as an example. Spot rates are sky high for trucks because of tight capacity and the driver shortage. If you are a shipper who relies solely on a truckload carrier as your service provider, you are very likely paying exhorbitant rates while waiting for trucks to become available. If you were to consult with a 3PL, they would look into options such as modal conversion from truck to rail to ease the burden on both expenses and capacity issues - assuming, of course, that the transit times were acceptable.
This feature published by Inbound Logistics details some interesting case studies where 3PLs have made a tremendous impact on three companies with very different sets of circumstances. Their specific solutions ranged from completely outsourcing product shipping and handling to a 3PL, setting up strategic distribution centers to fulfill orders more quickly, to finding a middle-ground modal conversion option from China to Europe! These examples show some really out of the box problem solving.
At Knichel Logistics, we have some of our own success stories to tell when it comes to being solution providers for our own customers. They often involve us overcoming the notion that bigger is always better - especially when it comes to customer service and attention to detail.
2018 is a great year to see how a 3PL can make your supply chain more efficient! See the value proposition for yourself.