During the COVID-19 pandemic, the supply chain landscape saw unprecedented challenges that rocked consumers and business owners alike. The result however was new and innovative approaches to managed logistics services to meet the changing needs of the marketplace. The impacts of the pandemic accelerated ongoing trends in customer expectations, disrupted accurate capacity forecasting, and reshaped the flow of goods.
What came out of this period are experts with a fresh look on how to handle supply chain logistics, warehousing, inventory, and even manufacturing. Here are six ways to know when the time is right for any business to hire a 3PL expert in managed logistics:
1. A Growth Period
Growth is a universal business goal. More contracts often translate into higher profits. However, when growth outpaces the capabilities of your existing supply chain, it’s imperative to consider engaging a 3PL expert in managed logistics. Time truly is of the essence. Significant failures can harm business relationships, tarnish your professional reputation, lead to customer loss, and even threaten business survival. Seeking a logistics expert early minimizes losses when dealing with unexpected growth.
2. Budget Constraints
If your business is grappling with a tight budget, and cost-cutting measures are proving insufficient, you might initially hesitate to consider bringing on outside 3PL help. However, these providers possess extensive networks and the ability to consolidate their clients’ needs, enabling them to negotiate cost savings that individual shippers might struggle to achieve independently.
3. Customer Service Slack
The Amazon Effect has completely changed the way people shop and their delivery expectations. Shoppers now demand transparency and round-the-clock customer service. The pandemic accelerated these trends as households increasingly turned to e-commerce for their needs. If your customers are canceling orders, demanding refunds, and voicing concerns about package tracking, it’s time to enlist the expertise of a 3PL to address these issues and elevate customer service and satisfaction.
4. Start-Up Phase
For newly established companies, start-up represents a crucial period for shaping core business initiatives and building a reputation. Novice shippers may quickly find themselves overwhelmed. Leveraging a 3PL’s existing networks, expertise, and warehouses presents a strategic opportunity to generate profits before making significant investments in internal operations. By outsourcing these challenges, you can focus on establishing your company’s presence in the market.
5. Navigating Uncertain Times
The unpredictability of 2020 has left a lasting impact, extending into 2023. 3PLs can play a pivotal role in mitigating risks by assuming responsibility for contingency plans and providing safeguards against lost or damaged goods. Additionally, if your company frequently faces capacity constraints or inaccurate inventory records, there are substantial cost benefits to having professionals identify and rectify the underlying issues.
6. Expansion on the Horizon
Employing a 3PL eliminates the guesswork when it comes to establishing a presence in new regions. You gain access to distribution centers, local labor forces, warehouses, scalability, and established technological systems for transparency and inventory management. This represents a cost-effective means of entering new territories, whether your company lacks internal resources or finds its existing resources insufficient to keep pace with evolving circumstances. 3PLs and managed logistics remain a worthy consideration.
In these dynamic times of 2023, considering a partnership with a 3PL managed logistics expert remains a strategic move to navigate the intricacies of the modern supply chain landscape, ensuring the continued success and expansion of your business.