Turkey, football, apple pie …3PL provider?
No, we’re not playing “one of these things is not like the other(s).”
And if we were, the answer would be __________.
Thanksgiving was declared a national holiday in 1863 by Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War as a day to give “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens,” to be celebrated on the last Thursday in November.
Whether you decide to literally give “thanks and praise” to your 3PL provider; for those of us who have been in the business of transporting, storing, and delivering freight for any amount of time – there have been occasions when they deserved it.
The one that comes to mind for me as a former operations manager for a manufacturing company is that they kept me virtually headache free – material movement-wise.
Unlike any of you reading this, I made my 3PL provider jump through hoops many times. Sorry, I meant JUST LIKE any of you reading this…
Business needs change. Not just daily, sometimes hourly! I knew that within reason, I could ask just about anything of my outsourced warehouse and transportation supplier and they would get it done – no questions asked.
I’m sure I was crossed off of a couple of Christmas lists for the admittedly ridiculous things I asked of them but if they could get it done – they just would.
Besides keeping my proverbial head from hurting, I knew that outsourcing freight management and movement was the right thing to do business wise. We were expert in what we manufactured and sold and they are the experts in third party logistics. As long as the numbers were right – it was a no-brainer.
The other advantage of having outsourced 3PL is that they became a source of information, not just a supplier. They gave me updates when there were oil (and gas) increases coming so that I could plan accordingly. They also told me about what’s happening in the wider marketplace. Information I’d have to spend hours trying to find came to me without even asking.
I’d have discussions with my 3PL provider occasionally and I’d tell them I wanted to manage a certain product or move a certain component. They would say, “OK. We can take a look at that and let you know what it will cost.” They would then spend a few days looking at various data points and come back to me with the numbers.
- What it will cost to take over management of the product
- Current status and short term outlook
- Buying cycles
- And much more…
As you can imagine; many times they’d put the numbers together for a change we want to make and it just didn’t make sense. Data doesn’t lie and we’d continue letting them manage the freight for us. The best part – sometimes they’d come to us and say, “You know Steve, I think it does make sense for you guys to manage this and here’s why…”
These are just a few of the ways that 3PL suppliers can save you time and money.
So, if you remember this Thanksgiving season – while you’re eating turkey and watching football; make sure to raise a glass and nod your head to your 3PL provider. They won’t see it of course but that doesn’t matter – it’s just what they do…no questions asked.