Archive for March, 2012

Are You Getting The Most From Your 3PL?

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Are you getting true value from your third party logistics (3PL) outsource in support of your international shipping operations?  Does your 3PL merely provide contracted services or truly work with you as a strategic partner, involved in your supply chain and assisting with sourcing and supply chain network decisions?

3PLs typically offer a range of important supply chain management services that support customers’ daily transportation operations including:

    • Shipment information tracking
    • Accurate billing
    • International shipment bookings
    • Warehouse and carrier coordination

But you should expect more! 

Through your 3PL, you should have access to the latest global trade management systems that automate supply chain processes while providing you with real-time visibility into transportation operations.  Going a step further, your 3PL should generate valuable reports using data available through the system that review details of supply chain performance for different department heads and, ultimately, support new strategic directives.

Understanding your transportation processes and goals, your 3PL should help analyze your current supply chain methodologies and recommend new strategies.  Perhaps it is time to consider more efficient carriers and routings.  Redefining existing transportation operations can make a difference in cost and delivery time frames.

On an international basis, your 3PL should possess the knowledge and experience to complete necessary documentation, provide competitive international rates and develop basic strategies related to transportation and distribution of chemical products to different countries.   Your outsource should understand compliance regulations pertaining to product importation/ exportation with different countries as well as the United States to assure a smooth transport of product into and out of countries. They should assist you in identifying your product category to ensure proper labeling and containment during shipment.  This is especially critical for products identified as hazardous.

Your 3PL also should advise you of current market conditions that may affect the import and export of your freight.  Is the U.S. restricting trade with specific countries?   And are you taking advantage of recent free-trade agreements?  You don’t want to miss any ideal opportunities that can support your international trade business.

In addition to ensuring compliance, you want a 3PL with the resources to identify the best carriers and rates for international transportation.  At ChemLogix, we benchmark customer’s shipping rates against ever-changing ocean freight market to ensure carrier rates remain competitive and our customers are getting the best value from their existing carriers.  Does your 3PL do that as part of your services?

Findings in the 2012 16th Annual Third-Party Logistics Study (http://www.3plstudy.com/about) noted that established 3PLs are adjusting their business models to provide greater value to shippers.  If not are you really getting shareholder value from your outsource logistics provider, perhaps its time to find another a new 3PL source that can work as your partner.

Contact ChemLogix for a free evaluation of your supply chain operations by contacting us at (215) 461-3805 or information@chemlogix.com.