3PL Services — Can One Provider Handle Everything?
It can be daunting to strategize and forecast a growing business with literally thousands of moving parts, but having an outsourced partner that handles all your supply chain needs can take most of the pressure off. Convenience and speed are some of the advantages of using one provider to handle all of your 3pl services instead of multiple logistics companies. Few 3PL’s are capable of handling your goods from the Port all the way to the store shelf on their own.
3PL Providers usually specialize in one arena of logistics, whether that’s: distribution, warehousing, transportation, or consolidation. So what if you can find a 3PL who can handle it all?
The benefits of using a single Third Party Logistics (3PL) provider are vast, and here are some prime examples:
The most overlooked benefit of partnering with a 3PL is the team itself. A trustworthy 3PL is comprised of seasoned experts from across the industry that come to the table with knowledge and best practices for how to best customize a fluid logistics plan.
When all the logistic services are handled by a single 3PL it increases the level of overhead visibility, and streamlines the transportation process as a whole. A 3PL can create a cohesive logistics portfolio of options that leverage the current infrastructure, which ultimately gives the shipper a competitive rate.
Another advantage to a stream-lined approach is that it creates a leaner supply chain. With shared warehousing, a shipper’s inventory can ebb and flow throughout the month and year while only paying for space used instead of the fixed cost of overhead.
From warehouse space to transportation costs, the fluctuation of goods can be vast and the challenge to maintain steady hours for drivers, and labor can put a strain on most insourced supply chains. And when it is time to grow, a 3PL can be a helpful guide in testing out new DC locations and spaces.
When a shipper wants to explore new markets to cut transportation costs or to reach more customers; a 3PL can help facilitate that transition by creating a custom plan. An ideal choice would be partnering with a 3PL that has a presence near major cities and prime port locations. The 3PL will have already laid the groundwork with challenges in hiring a workforce, investing in warehouse machinery, and setting up a warehouse that meets safety standards and regulations.
Accountability and transparency are also vital to any working relationship, and real-time reports give a ‘glass house’ approach to watching your business run.
Technology is major pain-point for many businesses because of the ever-evolving advances in the supply chain industry. Continuously investing in technology can be expensive, and in many cases not a high priority when the costs are added up.
Using a 3PL that has already invested in hardware and software upgrades means the burden of having the most current software is a shared expense instead of a daunting expenditure. Many times training is not considered, but it should be at the forefront of every decision maker’s mind because the ultimate success or failure of a new solution can fall on whether or not staff can utilize the new technology effectively.
Having a 3PL handle all of the services means that reporting and tracking can be visible through custom dashboards in real-time giving shippers a birds-eye view to see their business in motion from the port to the store shelf.
At the end of the day once the list of benefits has been checked off it comes down to peace of mind that someone else also has their eyes on the ball.
The Ultimate 3PL
National Retail Systems, Inc. (NRS) includes Keystone Freight Corp. & National Retail Transportation, Inc. (NRT). NRS is an asset based 3PL that has been providing logistics services for the World’s leading retail companies for 60+ years. Our hub locations include: New York & New Jersey; Los Angeles, CA; Inland Empire, CA; Savannah, GA; Columbus, OH; Greensboro, NC; and Baltimore, MD.