By Tracy Rosser, Executive Vice President of Operations, Transplace
The modern business world has brought many new innovations, and the transportation industry has become a beneficiary to a number of these over the past few years. And while advanced technology is one of the most obvious outputs of industry evolution, it could be argued that the most impactful industry development to come out of modern innovation has been the rapid change in end-consumer expectations.
Due to the rise of the “Amazon Effect,” businesses are now expected to deliver goods directly to the doorstep of an end customer within days (or even hours). These expectations have shaped the workings of today’s logistics industry, including what level of customer service is required to stay competitive in today’s market.
To succeed in this increasingly demanding environment, shippers must embrace actionable intelligence and the ability to properly leverage data to operational improvement. That’s where the right third party logistics (3PL) provider can help. Below are insights around what it takes to meet evolving customer expectations, and what shippers should expect from logistics providers in order to help them achieve optimal supply chain efficiency.
View the Supply Chain Holistically
Customers today have more choices than ever, and expect retailers to present them with better, more efficient and more convenient options. For online shopping, this includes free and expedited shipping. For in-store shopping this means having sufficient in-stock inventory.
To succeed in the modern commerce landscape, companies must take a holistic approach to serving customers by eliminating silos and fully understanding their end-to-end supply chain in terms of its impact on customer service. It’s important to understand that transportation is just one component of a supply chain, and that it must work in harmony with other parts in order to be effective. Managing transportation separately from other supply chain components can significantly hinder a company’s ability to keep pace with market demands.
The Right 3PL Can Help Meet End Customer Needs
Shippers look to logistics providers to effectively execute daily transportation operations and help fulfill customer expectations. This makes it critical for shippers to select the right 3PL for their business. When choosing a partner, shippers should ask the following questions:
Does the 3PL have deep an understanding of my business and my customer’s business?
Does the provider truly understand my mission and purpose?
Can the 3PL provide strategic insights into customer service and cost-saving strategies?
Do our company cultures align?
To be successful, a logistics provider must be an extension of a shipper’s organization and truly integrate into their full supply chain function.
A 3PL Must Provide Real Value
Businesses today are looking for more from their logistics providers than just execution. Shippers want actionable insights that go beyond the raw data to help improve business operations, better serve customers and gain a competitive advantage. 3PLs that are executing at a high level, and utilizing best-in-class technology, have access to a tremendous amount of data and actionable intelligence that can help shippers improve supply chain visibility, drive operational efficiencies and deliver greater value for the end consumer.