Outsourcing, like when using a third-party logistics (3PL) partner, is no longer simply a question about cost savings; it is a strategic option that can provide businesses of all shapes and sizes critical competitive advantages in the 21st-century economy.
A 2017 report published by Armstrong & Associates indicates that 90% of Fortune 500 companies rely on 3PL’s for logistics and supply chain services. This is notable because each of these organizations has the financial means to build robust logistics operations of their own. In contrast, thinking strategically, these organizations all recognize that to optimize customer satisfaction – especially in the ‘NOW economy’ – they cannot be distracted by also having to be a premier logistics company while also bottling water, creating innovative phones, or manufacturing OEM parts. No, their smart “move” is to partner with great 3PL’s that serve as a strategic extension of their business.
So what can a 3PL, like ELITE, offer?
The freight management industry is highly competitive, with nearly 30,000 companies all vying for loads. One of the most effective ways for a 3PL like ELITE to stand out from the crowd is by offering innovative Transportation Management System (TMS) technology that integrates seamlessly with a customer’s own ERP/Supply Chain system. And 3PL’s have to push their TMS to new frontiers in an effort to embrace industry changes (like ELD’s) and advances related to automation, block-chain, machine learning and more – these are innovations that have proven nearly impossible for corporations to keep up with. ELITE’s technology stack has allowed us to automate 80% of freight management tasks, leading to an average on-time delivery rate of 98%.
Logistics industry expertise
No company can be an expert in everything. Apple doesn’t manufacture the screens that glow brightly from every iPhone; they partner with Samsung, a screen production expert. 3PL’s offer our customer’s logistics expertise much the same way, transferring our experiences – both successes and failures – to all of our clients to solve their complex challenges that may have previously been intractable, even impossible to solve.
By itself, 24/7/365 service sounds nice, but look more closely and you’ll see how important it is to have a 3PL watching over your freight. The best 3PL’s in the business merge innovative technology with exceptional customer service professionals that track and trace freight at every point along its path, day and night, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. As a result, partnering with a 3PL helps companies to minimize service failures, optimize on-time delivery rates, overcome challenges caused by traffic or weather, and more; each critical to achieving our shared goal of ensuring that your customers have the products they need when they need them.
With 1000’s of carriers in their networks, often with a diverse set of capabilities amidst them, the best 3PL’s can create elegant solutions that even the best in-house logistics teams would find difficult to even imagine. At ELITE, the seemingly most complex intermodal solution is second nature to us. And because we solve complex challenges for a broad portfolio of customers nationwide, we can bring those tested and effective solutions to all of our customers, many of which will be looking for a solution to a specific challenge for the first time.
Everyone in freight management knows of the growing carrier shortage. New ELD legislation and other industry challenges will only make that shortage more pronounced; shippers are already feeling the pinch. With 1000’s of carriers in our networks, high-quality 3PL’s offer rapidly scalable solutions that would be impossible to build and maintain by even the largest corporation.
The best 3PL’s have access to tools, experience, and resources, that can improve the day-to-day operations of nearly any company; combining those skills we can overcome nearly any challenge brought our way.
Partnering with a trusted 3PL, like ELITE, for logistics and freight management services allows shippers to remain focused – operationally and financially – on their core-competencies; those core-competencies have a more direct and immediate impact on brand loyalty, corporate growth, and profit. But not all 3PL’s are created the same. The right 3PL should check all five of the boxes listed above; 90% of Fortune 500’s agree and a rapidly growing number of other U.S. businesses, large and small, should expect nothing less.