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Working with a 3PL will also easily bundle "unseen" financial concerns such as:

  1. Cost of staff and operational readiness

    With a 3PL in your corner, you won't have to wonder if your order volume can be handled properly.
  2. Cost of scaling your operation

    If your company grows or needs to temporarily scale back their logistics, it won't throw your in-house operations into a chaotic rebalancing.
  3. Cost of determining best methods

    While your company might not have accounts with all major carriers, 3PLs typically do, giving both you and your customers more options.
  4. Cost of opportunity and discovery

    A 3PL has the experience needed to spot room for growth, change, and cost savings without the need for a targeted assessment each time.
  5. Cost of recovery in unforeseen situations and markets

    From hurricanes to dock worker strikes, logistical nightmares do happen. A 3PL has the agility and know-how to quickly deploy an "Option B" for logistics that your company might not have otherwise considered.
  6. Cost of experience when branching to new regions or countries

    Whether it's the next state over or going global, expansion shouldn't be a solo effort.
  7. Cost of professionalism

    When your in-house logistics struggles to keep up consistently with demand, that damages your brand. Relying on a 3PL to keep things running smoothly means you provide better service to your customers, which in turn means repeat orders and recommendations.

While these aren't the type of benefits that come with a concrete price tag, they're still costs which can make or break a business in any market. Shoring these up in your favor by teaming up with a 3PL should be considered insurance for success.

With the right 3PL, you're gaining a partner who not only understands your goals and needs but one who can grow your operations faster and more efficiently than you could ever do on your own. They know the ins and outs of the business, areas of wasted cash flow you can eliminate, how to best spend your resources, and let your team focus on the products that fuel your operation.

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Supply Chain Innovation Technology: No Longer Just a Build Vs. Buy Decision

3PL services also extend into innovations and
cost-cutting strategies in your overall operations.

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These alternatives would take into consideration the:

  1. Holding requirements:

    The size of the inventory on-hand. Unless the inventory is 100% stable, the operation must be designed for high, if not peak, inventory level.
  2. Workflow requirements:

    Everything from how product arrives, to how it leaves the facility and everything in between. The objectives of this aspect of planning are to minimize product handling, to reduce travel distance as much as possible, and to minimize the resource requirements.
  3. Future requirements:

    Accommodating growth in the form of a higher volume of existing SKUs, increase in the number of new SKUs, more orders, more customers.
  4. Other requirements:

    The availability of capital, existing information systems resources and limitations, risk management, flexibility, and the level of uncertainty about projections.

Using all of this information, the most appropriate solution can be determined/evaluated to satisfy the account requirements. Potential considerations for storage and operational types are:

All this information creates the best operational configuration for the activity type and flow of the facility. This flow directs the determination of what staffing and material handling equipment are needed.

This is where your 3PL should truly shine; a balanced, customized warehouse management system (WMS) along with the customized layout flow, and the right material handling equipment would help you automate best-case, efficient placement of your items based on sales volume and frequency, for example, and options like moving overflow to an auxiliary shared warehousing solution can free up valuable space in your in-house facility, too.

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