Over the last decade, we’re seeing more and more shippers partner with third-party logistics (3PL) providers to handle their transportation management.
Premier transportation management has evolved far beyond moving freight from point A to point B by way of truckload, less-than-truckload (LTL), parcel, and intermodal. That’s only part of the equation.
Today, companies are leveraging transportation management as a competitive advantage in logistics planning and finding solutions to control costs and get your products to your customers as efficiently as possible.
If you want to think more strategically about your transportation and leverage cost savings, efficiencies, increase speed-to-market, and get more flexibility and visibility, here are some complex, but beneficial transport and logistics solutions that you might want to consider.
Freight management is the process of overseeing and managing inbound ,outbound, and potentially third party shipments for transport. A full outsource to a 3PL will generally include visibility and execution capabilities to a transportation management system (TMS). This process leverages supply chain expertise to ensure that the right products get to the right places safely, on time, and in the most efficient way possible. Freight management involves the management of multiple carrier partners, suppliers, and vendors to deliver visibility, control, and flexibility.
While the ability to deliver freight to the right place on time, damage-free, and at the lowest possible cost has always been important to businesses, it’s even more important in today’s competitive landscape due to factors like:
- Leaner inventories
- Tighter delivery windows
- Just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing
- Rising labor and warehousing costs
- E-commerce fulfillment expectations
Perhaps the most opportunity in a supply chain, but also the most complex challenges arise in the prospect of executing freight optimization. Freight optimization involves the moving of a product to the customer in the most cost-effective way possible given the many variables that are involved in the shipping process (lead-time, required delivery window, shipment size, other shipments destined for that geographical location, stackability, fit with complementary items).
Do all of your customers place orders in perfect truckload quantities? If not, the result can be LTL, underutilized truckload freight, or somewhere in between.
Many 3PL providers have the technology available to allow a shipper to ship more efficiently. It may be consolidating products going to the same destination region or combining two regional shippers’ freight together to maximize a trailer’s space. Freight optimization provides shippers with cost savings by leveraging its 3PL provider’s vast client network, carrier relationships, and robust technology.
In response to ever-changing customer expectations, shippers are seeking any potential method that may improve the speed-to-market and accuracy of their shipments—all while lowering costs as much as possible. To meet such demands, many shippers seek partners and alliances to consolidate their freight—by combining LTL freight with other shippers, resulting in one shared truckload, rather than several small deliveries.
Through an LTL freight consolidation program, you can:
- Improve your customers’ satisfaction
- Increase consistency in your supply chain
- Take advantage of relationship synergies
- Achieve scale and cost savings
- Ship smarter and maintain your relationships
LTL and parcel freight can be costly and challenging to manage. A successful partnership with a 3PL provider can send your freight across the country on one truck and utilize a single cross-dock at the destination to make your final mile delivery. This can reduce claims and control costs. Dynamic, ever-changing order quantities from your clients can make static line haul and distribution difficult, thus leveraging the scale and technology of a 3PL can help add consistency and stability into a complex process.
Supply Chain Design
The right 3PL provider can streamline the supply chain by way of location selection, engineered warehouse solutions, and analyzing your transportation network through supply chain design. A lean and efficient supply chain is hard to achieve alone. It requires input from all aspects of the process, often your 3PL provider.
A transportation network analysis can help you find an ideal future state for your supply chain, discovering opportunities within your supply chain and adjusting your network to deliver enhanced service and cost reductions.
Choosing the right consultant can be difficult. We recommend finding a partner that can (a) help to implement and execute the recommended strategy and/or (b) understand your business challenges well enough to ensure compatibility of a strategy.
Reimagine Your Supply Chain Management
Transportation within a supply chain is complex. It involves varying rates, different transport modalities, and a range of levels of quality and service. Set your company up for success by working with a 3PL provider that can understand your business, help you grow, and eliminate headaches.
ODW Logistics approaches its customers in a consultative manner that helps them reimagine what their supply chain should look like. As your 3PL partner, ODW will help you gain visibility into your supply chain and guide you toward growth—delivering the data you need along the way.