These tips will set you apart in the very competitive world of 3PL’s.
Outsourcing logistics management tasks to a third party logistics provider (3PL) is a common practice in the shipping industry, and 3PL's need to continuously improve upon how they work with their clients. A fully integrated 3PL warehousing and distribution strategy allows companies to utilize an expert to manage their supply chain. No pressure, right?
There are certain things that 3PL’s must do to ensure they’re providing the best services possible for their shippers to help them relieve the pressures related to shipping costs, timing and profitability. The following are four ways third party logistics providers can make sure they’re providing the best logistics management services on the market.
1. Champion Shipping Automation: Use automated shipping software to reduce your clients’ freight costs and get orders out the door faster.
One of the main goals of a 3PL is to reduce freight costs for their customers. In order to accomplish this, 3PL’s need to help their clients select the best shipping mode using cheaper carrier rates and improved carrier selection. The 3PL needs to understand when different modes of shipping will be most cost effective, advise when intermodal shipping could be the best option and assist to better route freight shipments to save money and help improve carrier performance. Not to mention, make sure all orders get out the door as fast as possible. Sounds like a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be. Automated shipping software can be used to accomplish this goal. Shipping software is the most effective way to manage shipping and allow your clients to optimize their supply chains.
2. Befriend Big Data: Provide quality shipping analytics to predict trends and possible carrier mishaps.
The job of a third party logistics provider includes providing visibility over the entire supply chain. To do so, finding the best available transport options for shipments, analyzing previous shipments to locate problems within current logistics management strategies and understanding how to adjust accordingly, is key. 3PL’s need to utilize shipping analytics in order to provide accurate shipping data to help their clients make changes to the way they ship freight. Showing what carriers are most efficient and cost effective, finding ways to consolidate shipments and providing analysis of freight shipping spend is necessary for shippers to cut costs, a reason why companies look for 3PL’s in the first place.
3. Outsource EDI: Discover powerful opportunities with outsourced EDI.
3PL’s are constantly adding new clients and EDI partners. Why not take the burden of all that off your shoulders? Dedicate resources and energy to building your client base and improve partner communication by outsourcing these tasks. With outsourced EDI, 3PL’s can integrate seamlessly with their existing systems and technologies to simplify the EDI process. With one connection, 3PL’s can be immediately connected to current and prospective shippers that can boost their business.
4. Think Bigger than Service Offerings: Stay involved with your clients.
As a third party logistics provider, while it’s important to reduce shipping costs and provide analysis of client shipping practices, you also have to stay involved with your client. Companies typically outsource their logistics management to 3PL’s to access shipping software and other logistics services, but 3PL’s have to be able to adjust and grow along with them. Keep in touch with clients to stay up-to-date on changes to their supply chain. Know everything you can about their shipping operations and know what analytics and reporting they want most from you. Find out what they need and what shipping data will help them make the best decisions for their shipping operations rather than overwhelm them with every piece of data you could possibly provide them. It’s important to understand your client’s goals and work toward them together.
As a 3PL, your job is to keep your shipping software up-to-date, offer in-depth and actionable shipping data and analytics, create better efficiencies and to stay involved in the shipping operations of your clients. In the shipping industry there are plenty of shippers who outsource their logistics management to 3PL’s, your job is to provide a road map to how clients can effectively build and maintain their supply chains. Ultimately, having a 3PL provider as a strategic business partner can be the best decision a company can make- and certainly one of the biggest.