Is your 3PL an extension of your staff?
Productive partnerships are not made of passive involvement from outsiders looking in. Is your organization already stretched trying to maintain revenues and exercise tighter business controls? Does your logistics provider treat your concerns too casually? Here’s some food for thought:
• Expect your logistics provider to think and talk and act like an extension of your staff. Transparency helps. The more you open doors and allow your 3PL the space to exercise expertise on your behalf, the more you stand to gain in dollar savings, on-time performance, and effective risk management.
• Ask your 3PL to be as specific as possible in outlining what is and what is not recommended in the process of arranging your shipping needs. Your logistics provider should offer explanations and rationales with recommendations.
Knowing, for example, that Intermodal transportation might take a day or two longer, but that it’s less expensive and more sustainable environmentally, is important information you should have in order to make the best decision.
• Maximizing your 3PL input and guidance means establishing a work-in-tandem relationship with you and/or your operations team, in the same fashion that you respect and work with your other outsource experts— your accountant, lawyer or marketing guru.
Bringing any kind of outside expertise inside requires a collaborative attitude. When all involved are respect one another, the relationship is freer to move forward in ways that have a positive impact on your business.
Yes, this kind of respect takes time, but if you start cultivating it today, imagine how much farther along your business could be in just 6, 9, or 12 months!
It’s a Two-Way, Win-Win Street. When consulting professionals act as if they were members of your staff, you benefit more by their input and they benefit more by the track-record they build with you. Productive partnerships thrive on everyone involved pursuing and achieving positive results.
If the 3PL you work with (or whose services you’re considering), earnestly contributes to your efforts to improve your business, you (and they) are probably on the right track. If you don’t have an ongoing sense of commitment from your 3PL, it may be time to start shopping.