We researched the most important questions you should be asking when choosing a 3PL.
Whether you’re a basketball fan or just choosing your March Madness bracket based off of mascots. Each year millions tune in to watch 68 teams compete in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship. This basketball spectacle involves 67 games in 14 stadiums across 12 different states all within a 12-day period. To pull off March Madness it takes multiple resources to select arenas, reserve flights and hotels for teams, create contingency plans, and the list continues. With all this planning some of the logistics are arranged years in advance however with the one and done nature of the bracket other logistics are dependent on last minute variables.
When you think about the operations behind March Madness, it’s easy to draw parallels between the tournament and managing a supply chain. From teamwork to skill there is a lot to learn about what it takes to be the champion on the court or in business.
It’s without question that accuracy is one of the most important aspects to winning the championship title. Like any game of basketball, the way you win is by shooting baskets with great accuracy and scoring points. Accuracy is even measured from free throw shot percentage to how many three pointers were sunk. Accuracy also plays a massive roll in logistics operations. Operation managers are responsible for managing and maintaining company accuracy reports for order picking, on-time deliveries, and invoices. Data is extremely powerful when it comes to managing a logistics business and having accuracy data available for operations teams can significantly impact if your business is a “winner” or not.
Another key ingredient in winning the National Championship is knowing your competitor. Typically, teams in the bracket are facing off between teams they don’t typically play against in the regular season. It’s important to study up on who your opponent is, what kind of defense should you play? Who is the primary shooter? All of these questions are key in developing a strategy to advancing in the bracket. For logistics it’s important to understand your competition and how to differentiate yourself from the unbelievable amount of logistics companies out there. How fast can a product be delivered? How much does it cost to store my product? are questions that companies should ask themselves to set them ahead of the competition. It’s also important to make sure your company is constantly researching and educating themselves on industry trends. Combining accuracy with knowing your competitors is the winning formula not only for the NCAA Tournament but for your logistics company.
1. Warehousing for Physical Goods.
Many merchants don’t necessarily have a physical shop to store their products, requiring the use of a warehouse to store them. Normally, 3PL companies will be able to provide warehousing services that include either a shared or dedicated warehouse for storage, along with all of the required technology to handle and transport products throughout the warehouse. Because of the many companies that might use the same warehouse for storage, you can save money with a split overhead cost.
2. Order Fulfillment Businesses.
need to be able to fulfill orders effectively, or they can’t survive. Unfortunately, many e-commerce companies often suffer from invalid order fulfillment, but a 3PL service provider can make sure that customers receive the right goods on time and in good condition with every order.
Another service that most 3PL companies offer is consolidation, wherein e-commerce suppliers send small goods to the same location, consolidating these goods into a single shipment to lower prices.
4. Supply Chain Management Services
To make each order a success, companies need to effectively maintain their supply chain. A 3PL company can help manage all or part of your supply chain, taking care of your inbound freight delivery specifications.