3PL Gets Your Supply Chain Running Smoothly From the Start
Wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to worry about storage, packing, order fulfillment, shipping, and handling returns? By outsourcing supply chain management to a third-party logistics (3PL) provider – you don’t.
Supply chain management is one of the biggest challenges for businesses. In the initial stages when orders are barely trickling in, it makes sense to handle everything yourself. However, there comes a time when you have to figure out a better solution for the long-term.
Business owners can choose to lease or buy a warehouse and staff an in-house logistics team, which takes more time, but could be cheaper upfront. On the other hand, a 3PL provider allows you to hit the ground running without having to worry about hiring and training new employees.
3PL Providers Save You Time
Hiring a 3PL isn’t an instant solution because you still want to invest your time in researching and vetting different providers. However, the time it takes to have a first-class supply chain up and running with a 3PL is dramatically quicker than doing everything in-house.
When you lease warehouse space (and staff your logistics team), you have to consider the volume of business you’re doing now and what you expect to do in the near future. Otherwise, you’ll end up paying too much for unneeded space, or you’ll end up cramped in a smaller, more affordable space.
Outsourcing to a 3PL provider allows you to share space in their warehouse, and share their staff, with other companies. The result – you’re better equipped to scale at the rate your business grows.
Good 3PL Providers Constantly Optimize
Maximizing efficiency is mandatory in the highly-competitive logistics industry. Clients don’t stick around if their 3PL doesn’t get orders to their customers in a timely and accurate manner.
As your 3PL provider continues to implement and improve their processes to stay competitive, your supply chain reaps the benefits. In fact, your 3PL will likely introduce you to a world of technologies and processes that you were unfamiliar with – such as EDI.
Modern 3PL providers use EDI to automate your supply chain, save costs, and increase the speed and accuracy of orders. If you’re not already using EDI, you will likely need to start when you hire a 3PL provider.
Immediate Access to Logistics Expertise and Resource Network
One of the reasons you would consider hiring a 3PL provider is that you trust their expertise to keep your supply chain operating smoothly. However, this also creates a valuable learning opportunity for you.
Many businesses choose to outsource to a 3PL just for the sake of learning from the best – then once their business has grown, they take what they’ve learned and apply it to in-house supply chain management.
Your 3PL provider also gives you immediate access to a network of relationships and resources that would likely take years to build. This allows you to take advantage of volume discounts, priority service, and other perks at each stage of the supply chain. You can also get referrals to other relevant vendors, which saves you the time of tracking them down yourself.
3PL Providers Offer Flexibility
Most industries, especially the retail sector, go through natural cycles. These cycles occur over the course of decades, but often throughout the year, as well.
For businesses with significant shifts in seasonal output, 3PL providers are incredibly helpful. You can set terms with your provider to allow you to use more storage and resources in particular parts of the year and to scale back for the down seasons.
This goes beyond scalability and ensures your supply chain management is as cost-effective as possible at all times. As you can imagine, maintaining this level of flexibility isn’t as practical when done in-house.
Flexibility is something we appreciate at BOLD VAN. We aim to provide EDI services that are flexible, scalable, and cost-effective for businesses of all sizes.
To learn more about EDI, check out our resources tab. If you’re a 3PL provider looking for a better EDI solution, you’ll love our customized solution – BOLD 3PL.