A recent article in World Trade Magazine on delivering supply chain excellence listed seven services beyond simple logistics that your 3PL might be able to do for you. They’re worth looking into, especially if you don’t have the resources or expertise to efficiently manage certain aspects of your supply chain in house.
- Network Optimization
If your 3PL is efficient, it has optimized its own network. If it’s forward thinking, it will maintain an industry leading supply chain network optimization solution in-house that it can use to help its clients optimize its distribution network. If you haven’t done a network optimization, chances are your current DC locations are not optimal from a service or cost-of-service perspective.
- Demand Supply Planning
The 3PL can use its distribution data and optimization platform to understand how much inventory a client is carrying across their network and how much the client should be carrying at each location within their network to meet demand at the target service level.
- Centralized Booking
If you have disparities in your booking and PO management processes, the 3PL might be able to offer you a centralized solution by becoming the central booking party of the transaction.
- Value-Added Services
A 3PL, well versed in best practice methodologies, might be able to discover hidden opportunities in your supply chain if you give them the chance. For instance, they might be able to reconfigure your warehouse operations to increase the efficiency of packing operations.
- Price Management
3PLs monitor market pricing very closely and know when there are capacity surpluses or opportunities for savings.
- Designer Negotiations
Some 3PLs maintain relationships with e-Negotiation providers that can handle full rate and capacity information in the RFX and/or auction, which might be backed with decision optimization. They can license these platforms to you for use in logistics negotiations if you don’t have an in-house platform.
- White Globe Service
Some 3PLs offer dedicated services for manufacturers and retailers of large, bulky, hard-to-handle products which will include delivery and installation. Examples include appliances and fitness equipment.