Innovation, innovation, innovation.
You have probably heard this word from colleagues, bosses and peers, on the radio, television and in the newspaper. It is pinned to every popular technology company and has been written about in so many trade magazines that it has quickly become cliché. Some companies cannot complete a press release without mentioning their innovative new products or services. The truth is, if you were to list the most innovative industries off the top of your head, warehousing and distribution would probably not make your list. Aside from Amazon’s vision of flying drones delivery goods to your doorstep within hours, perceived innovation within the 3PL sector is almost non-existent.
A Pennsylvania State University survey shows that 74% of shippers don’t believe that their 3PL can offer innovative solutions. What many companies fail to realize is that innovation within the 3PL sector is a continuous process. Unlike technology companies such as Apple or Microsoft, 3PL’s rely on incremental efficiencies to drive costs down. From the employees picking orders all the way up to managers and executives, a great 3PL is always searching for new ways to reduce their clients shipping and warehousing costs. And while this may effectively reduce revenues for the 3PL, the benefits of a strong client relationship far out-weigh the lost revenue.
Focusing on the basic variables of cost and size may hide the important details that can truly benefit your business. When considering a 3PL, one should also be concerned with the technological abilities and experience with your product line. For example, if your main product is athletic footwear, does the 3PL of interest have experience dealing with other footwear companies? (Sales pitch warning: Barrett does!) These elements can prove extremely valuable in developing new, dynamic processes and generating higher efficiencies in your logistics operations.
As a business seeking an advantage, it’s clear you want to be proactive. With that being said, you need a partner that shares the same forward thinking. It’s important to share these prerequisites and consider all of the variables as you select the best 3PL for your business. At Barrett Distribution Centers, we work with our clients to create the best supply chain plan for their business. We embrace visibility and technology to generate ROI and a higher level of service.