3PL Logistics – Is the industry experiencing a paradigm shift?
A recent article in Global Trade, an online trade magazine for the logistics industry, suggests “transparency” as the new paradigm for the modern 3PL in 2017. We tend to agree.
Integrity in the Logistics Business
Integrity in business as well as in all forms of leadership has drawn a great deal of attention in 2017. This often means transparency in what we do and how we do it in terms of our methodologies, processes and pricing, for example. For the 3PL, it means complete visibility into the supply chain, and often is conveyed through KPIs and data analytics that reveal key operational insights that may impact the customer’s business. The author of the Global Trade article, Scott McDevitt, president and CEO of Translogistics, Inc., indicates this level of transparency as being “a rarity among third-party solutions,” and a gap in knowledge that must be filled. He also says the historic factors of price point and carrier savings are no longer sufficient to selecting the best 3PL.
The Best 3PLs
According to McDevitt, this knowledge gap “requires real effort on the part of 3PLs to better connect carriers, shippers and the internal logistics teams of their clients,” and “means diving deep into each of these links to expose recurring problems and increase efficiencies throughout the entire system.” We fully concur. In the 21st century, true business-to-business customer service goes beyond surface level assistance and becomes a hand-in-hand partnership between clients and vendors.
According to the article, at minimum a 3PL logistics solution provider should offer these augmented services:
Improved customer service
Enhanced tracking capabilities
Continuous data collection and reporting
Documented carrier accountability
This means that the days are over of “average” 3PLs suggesting that certain issues are out of their control. Now, clients should expect their third-party providers to go the extra mile to identify problem sources and communicate them. The best 3PLs are partners who identify broken links in the supply chain and work with their clients to strategically solve them – including such issues as carrier errors, inconsistent data, incomplete reporting and mishandled claims. This is where the right technology can be a real game changer.
Impact of the Right Technology
While technology is required to operate any successful business today, McDevitt says that traditional, out-of-the-box Transportation Management Systems (TMS) are too simplistic to meet the needs of today’s international business customer. In his opinion, the right technology for a 3PL should offer comprehensive capabilities:
Modules that aid in shipment routing and order rating
Load execution and tracking
Settlement processes and reporting
Auditing and payments
Other beneficial options and functionality
Posey is pleased to have made investments in a modern TMS to manage our clients’ shipping needs. These types of on-going investments and staff training help to ensure our customer service levels meet today’s definition of serving as an extension of our clients’ internal teams. In addition, we understand that transparency and communication are the keys to the total solution: the right technology + the right 3PL partner.
To learn more about our comprehensive 3PL logistics services, contact us here.