Outsourcing logistics through a third-party transportation services provider has become a common practice. In fact, 73% of shippers report outsourcing their domestic transportation.
It’s a popular choice because there are numerous benefits to working with the right logistics provider. A customer-focused 3PL can take daily logistics to-dos off your plate, add efficiencies, solve problems, and save you money.
Transportation can be time consuming if you don’t have the right systems in place. Removing yourself or your colleagues from the minutia of day-to-day transportation oversight can also help your logistics function grow in sophistication alongside your business.
Save Time with a Customer-Focused 3PL
Here are some of the things a customer-focused 3PL can take off your plate:
- Appointment Scheduling for Pick-up and Delivery
- Transportation Mode Selection
- Carrier Selection
- Driver and Facility Communication
- Logistics Relationship Building
- Freight Visibility and Order Tracking
- Issue Management
- Billing and Paperwork
- Performance Reporting and Data Analysis
- Facilitating Scalable Growth
Let’s look at each of these time-saving aspects more in-depth:
Appointment Scheduling for Pick-up and Delivery
Coordinating with warehouses, drivers, and retail buyers to schedule appropriate pickup and delivery times takes significant effort. Phone calls, emails, portal updates, and order entry can quickly eat up bandwidth.
Moreover, each customer you deliver to likely has its own individual process for scheduling appointments. This particularly true when it comes to retail receivers. To understand the vast nuance of a retailer’s appointment scheduling process, you must familiarize yourself with their routing guide, which is often an encyclopedic document and difficult to initially comprehend. To deliver in-full, on-time (DIFOT), appointments must be optimized.
A customer-focused 3PL can save you time by effectively establishing pickup and delivery programs that meet your customers’ requirements. They can take over and execute on all communication and data entry, leaving you free to focus on other areas of your business.
Transportation Mode Selection
There are multiple shipping modes you can select to move your product. A customer focused 3PL can help you answer important questions like – Should you use parcel or LTL? Can partial truckload save you money? Does rail make sense for your delivery?
Each mode comes with a distinct set of advantages and disadvantages. The best mode choice depends on your order type, receiver location, handling requirements, and available timeline.
The practice of comparing modes and prices is time consuming and often not possible for those whose job extend past logistics duties. A transportation service provider can help you easily compare modes to make the best selection that fits your budget and service needs.
There are a lot of carriers to choose from when booking a delivery. Each has their own set of network capabilities and service options. Some are fit for retail or food delivery while others are not. How do you know which is most reliable and the best for the job?
A 3PL will have a large network of qualified and vetted carriers and can help make carrier choice decisions for you. They will know which are best used for specific locations and requirements.
This service is particularly valuable in a retail environment and instances where preferred carriers are required. Letting a partner make proper carrier decisions for you not only saves time up front but can prevent against service disruptions and chargebacks.
Driver and Facility Communication
Repeatedly calling LTL terminal managers to check on the status on your pallets takes up substantial time and energy. A customer-focused 3PL can save you time and take these tasks of your plate completely.
Let a partner make those calls for you and handle anything that pops up along the way. They can check in directly with truck drivers and stay abreast of all happenings on your behalf. If adjustments are needed, they can coordinate those as well.
Logistics Relationship Building
Transportation, just like many other aspects of business, is built on relationships likedes establishing partnerships with carriers and working relationships with receivers.
These are not built overnight. They typically take months or even years of consistent business to establish. The advantage of doing so is that carriers and receivers are often more likely to be flexible with you to complete deliveries if you have an established relationship.
By working with a customer-focused 3PL, you can circumvent the leg-work necessary to get a significant relationship infrastructure up and running.
Order Tracking and Freight Visibility
Knowing where your shipment is in transit is essential for successful delivery. But without personnel or a platform to track its position, it is nearly impossible to do so.
Adequate visibility requires investment in a track-and-trace technological application or manual call-ins. Both of which can cost your organization time and money.
A 3PL can save you time and money by providing ample freight visibility for each of your deliveries. This includes regular updates on the status of your orders and/or a digital platform where you can easily track freight without reaching out to carriers.
Not all deliveries go as planned. Sometimes trucks break down, schedules get derailed, and orders get rejected. It’s how you respond and fix them that counts.
Shippers may need to find temporary warehousing solutions or find a carrier willing to recover the load and yet another to complete a re-delivery.
This is a time-consuming process that can take multiple steps to solve. A customer-focused transportation service provider can step in to do so on your behalf, saving you time and money.
Facilitating Scalable Growth
Don’t worry about training, staffing, or salaries for logistics personnel. With a 3PL, many shippers choose to forego building a transportation department, running operations through their logistics partner instead. This makes for an incredibly lean operation.
As a brand grows, so does the complexity of its logistics operation. Having partners in place that can help supplement your logistics function is essential. They can facilitate scalable growth by quickly adding new manpower and nationwide capacity solutions.
With the right 3PL, you won’t need to invest in logistics personnel to oversee day-to-day transportation. This means you have more time to focus on other areas of your business.
Billing and Paperwork
By working with a customer-focused 3PL, you can forget about processing paperwork and auditing freight billing. Your 3PL can save you time and take care of all of this for you.
They work directly with your various trucking providers and should take on the responsibility of collecting or facilitating payment.
A 3PL can save you time by collecting and analyzing shipment data for you. They can provide daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annual reports on the information you need to properly run your business.
This includes everything from shipment status reports, calculation of key performance indicators, pricing trends, and overall performance analysis.
Work with a Customer-Focused 3PL
Zipline Logistics is a service-oriented transportation services provider that works with consumer product brands on a strategic level to optimize performance and save them time and money.
By partnering with Zipline Logistics, you can eliminate the need for a large transportation department. Doing so not only saves your business money, but gives employees more time to focus on other important tasks.
Looking to save time by outsourcing transportation services?