As your business grows, your logistics needs will grow as well. You may outgrow a shipping vendor who moves packages only within the United Kingdom. Instead, you might find yourself exporting products to other parts of Europe. Alternatively, your business may expand from delivering within your town to other parts of the country.
Transporting goods domestically and internationally has several challenges. Delivery times can be long causing delays to your supply chain if the delivery is not planned properly. Transportation costs are clearly higher when you’re shipping to other cities or countries. When shipping internationally, you also have to comply with different regulations.
Outsourcing to a third-party logistics provider (3PL) helps you take care of these logistical issues.
Why Outsource Your Logistics
By outsourcing transportation management, you can focus on other aspects of business operations while the partner handles the difficult parts of the delivery. A 3PL takes over the supply chain process as soon as your products or components leave the distribution centre. They handle the logistics, including the delivery of returns back to your warehouse. Instead of worrying about the coordination of returns, you’ll simply receive these returned items when you need them. Other transportation companies also have insurance, protecting the contents of your delivery.
Outsourcing your transportation needs to an experienced third party also gives you insight on possible opportunities and cost savings. Based on data from a transportation management system, you might consider making changes to your business operations.
Considerations When Choosing a 3PL
Choosing a 3PL partner is an important decision, as you want your goods to arrive on time and in good condition. Before choosing a partner, identify your business needs and what a logistics partner can do to meet them. Figure out your current supply chain, logistics and performance then get to know if the potential provider can meet your demands. Ask questions, such as whether the company ship internationally or if offers full load haulage, part load services and express delivery.
The reliability of the logistics provider matters to your business. Choose a financially stable 3PL with long-term proven success. Identify a partner that continues to invest in equipment, facilities and human resources. Look for online reviews of the company to get an overview of how the 3PL delivers their promise.
Check the technology the company is currently using. It’s better to partner with a 3PL who automates processes, as they can quickly recognise problems in the supply chain. Ask if you can get data from them to help you adjust or change business operations when needed.
Of course, price is a significant consideration. Keep in mind, though, that the lowest price is not necessarily the best option. Opt for logistics services that provide you with everything you need at a reasonable rate.
If you’re expanding your business and struggling to keep up with transportation management, it’s time to start looking at outsourcing a third-party logistics provider. Doing so allows you to focus on other aspects of the business and to make better business decisions for improvement. Make sure to partner with a reliable 3PL for better, professional results.