Logistics Q&A: What Are the Benefits of Logistics/Transportation Providers?

A new series focusing on plant operations and logistics.

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Q. What's the benefit of a logistics and transportation provider who offers combined services?

A. Great question. You may almost always need the same transportation service on the same route on the same schedule, so it would make sense to find a third party logistics provider (3PL) who specializes in that particular route or service offering. When considering a 3PL, don't forget about any seasonal surges or declines in your shipping volume, as well as any other possible exceptions.

Rather than needing to call multiple carriers to cover those shipments or paying for shipments you don't have, it makes sense to choose a provider with flexible capacity and multiple service offerings. These carriers can work with your specific needs to develop a plan based on your requirements, rather than force-fitting you into the services they do well. Plus, if you're a smaller operation with a small internal staff, it saves you valuable time to make one call to cover your transportation needs, rather than calling around to find the best deal. That way, you can focus on what you do best.

At the risk of over-simplifying the concept, it's the same as buying your meal as a whole, instead of a la carte. Rather than taking the time to go to several different restaurants to pick up the individual components, you can make one stop and buy the whole meal from soup to nuts, resulting in a more efficient use of time and often financial savings.

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