Businesses create in-demand products and services. It's what they do; it's how they thrive. To that end, most businesses focus on developing a great product, creating a successful marketing campaign, establishing a broad customer base, and fostering loyalty in those customers. When businesses focus on all these crucial elements, sometimes the importance of logistics solutions becomes an afterthought.
The product design has been perfected and the sales have been made, after all, and that's the most important part, right?
Maybe not. Have you ever heard Napoleon Bonaparte's famous quote, "an army marches on its stomach"? What it means, quite literally, is that the success of any army depends on its logistics. No matter how brave and dedicated the soldiers, no matter how well-trained and well-armed, without the support of a well-oiled, reliable supply train at their backs, that army will fail.
What was once true for Napoleon's army still holds true for businesses today. No matter how successful your R&D department, no matter how compelling your marketing strategy, in the end, if you can't get your products to the customers who've ordered them, your business will flounder.
That's where third party logistics steps in.
If Something Can Go Wrong, It Probably Will at Some Point
Designing your products and attracting customers to your business is only half the battle. If you don't deliver the products you've promised in a timely manner, new customers might cancel orders and simply find another supplier. Frustrated existing customers won't become repeat customers.
The simple truth is, when your supply chain is compromised, so is customer satisfaction.
Mismanagement. Inefficiency. Power outages that shut down computer systems. Holiday travel, flu outbreaks, and local labor shortages. All of these things can have a negative impact on your ability to provide your customers with high-quality, front-end service. And, while all of these things may be out of your control, there are factors you can control that will help mitigate the negative impact of these events. Namely, you can choose a strong, reliable logistics team that has the experience and know-how to navigate even the most frustrating logistics dilemmas.
Four Solid Reasons Why You Need Better Logistics Solutions
According to the 2013 Third Party Logistics Study, compiled by C. John Langley, Jr., PhD., you can expect any number of tangible benefits from using third party logistics providers (3PLs).
- Expansion without the associated costs. Your business is growing. Perhaps you want to add new products or even expand into new markets. That's great, but you know you're facing the prohibitive costs of building new warehouses or shipping facilities. A 3PL partner can allow you to expand your fulfillment operations without fixed asset expenditures.
- Scalable fulfillment. In the face of sales volatility, businesses run the risk of either over or under estimating their warehousing and shipping needs. With a 3PL provider, you will have the flexibility to scale your operation up and down as your sale volumes change.
- Save time and money. Using a third party logistic provider allows you to take advantage of a huge resource network. Your shipping and warehousing costs will no longer be restricted by the resources you alone can allocate. You will have access to a wide range of warehouses and shipping options, allowing you to customize the most efficient combination of options.
- Core competency. Knowing the ins and outs of your own business, products and customers should be your main business focus. You know what works, and what doesn't. A 3PL brings that same expertise to logistics. Whether you're looking for assembly, packaging, warehousing or distribution, a quality 3PL partner will have the expertise to get that job done efficiently and on time.