Today’s business environment is getting more and more complex with rapidly changing technologies, newer markets and varied sourcing locations. With highly extended supply chains, the demands from logistics professionals is also increasing. Quick and efficient decision making is the need of the hour from logistic partners.
However, the choice of 3PL partner, if not done carefully and with due diligence, can be a process full of pitfalls and can hamper growth. Considering that there are numerous 3PL players and their numbers are not diminishing anytime soon, choosing the right 3PL partner can be a daunting task. Important point to note is that the price of service of 3PL provider is rarely the only criteria. It is the overall supply chain cost that needs to be considered while choosing a 3PL service provider.
Here are a few critical essentials that should be weighed, analysed and considered carefully while choosing a 3PL partner.
Infrastructure. With increased globalization and ever improving new technologies, the 3PL provider should have large space which can be quickly, easily and seamlessly scaled up. They should be located near the ports or other distribution hubs. Not only the location, but the facility itself should be capable to cater to any special requirement for handling your products.
3 PL providers such as Sungistix have their warehouses in southern California, close to two of the largest ports in United states, the Los Angeles Port and Long Beach Port in California. Sungistix also has a large warehouse on east coast, in New jersey, which is the largest port by volume on east coast. This reduces your cost of landing, on-land shipping and leverages multiple advantages of being located in a major distribution hub.
As an example, Sungistix’s Temperature controlled warehouse, along with facilities for lot control, expiry date tracking, tracking and quarantine is well suited for perishable items. Facilities for sterilization and pathogen kill-step processes are available to treat sensitive food items. They also provide Quality Control Laboratory service to help you control and evaluate the quality of consignment right at the site. With certifications like NSF, AIB, Organic, Kosher and Halal, SpecRightProcessing (A sungistix Company) facilities can handle any kind of food, which may require special handling. They can support repacking from bulk drums and bags into various smaller size packaging. Similarly, Sungistix’s facilities can cater to special needs of other industries such as Pharmaceutical and manufacturing.
Tools and IT capabilities. This goes hand in hand with infrastructure capabilities. The 3PL provider should be able to integrate their systems with shipper’s and other partner’s tools for seamless information flow between the supply chain partners. Today a company needs to know the level of inventory in the warehouse, status of the order, exact location of shipment, support for shipment documentation on real time basis. For e-commerce, the integration needs to be even tighter. Direct integration with order acceptance, integrated fulfilment process update, regular reporting of SKU’s, returns, integrated customer billing and integration with customer care of the store are just certain things that need to be in order.
Sungistix’s IT capabilities such as direct integration with client’s website’s shopping cart, subscription billing, enhanced inventory reporting on individual SKUs, detailed shipping costs along with host of other customized reports, integrate with client’s systems and provide real time data. The client is up to date with the information about their inventory and shipments, so that they can take quick and informed decision about their business.
Breadth of Services. As your business grows, and you grow into your business, you would want to outsource more and more of your non-core activities and focus on your key strengths. You need to tie up with a 3 PL partner who can take on more and more of your processes from you, and perform them efficiently and at a reasonable cost. You should choose a 3 PL partner not only for his basic logistics services, but also based on the value added services it provides. A 3PL partner who can help take more and more work off your hands and perform it efficiently as well as at reasonable costs, should be your choice. Having a single partner for all these services, provides advantages of managing single partner and get you overall better pricing.
3 PL providers such as Sungistix provide not only basic services such as distribution and warehousing, pick and pack fulfilment, cross docking, Port Drayage, real time reporting etc, but also, Value added services such as packaging and co-packaging, assembly support, e-commerce support, retail support, re-labelling, re packing, Documentation and regulatory compliance support and can take, more than just simple logistics, off your hands. They let you focus on more important aspects of your business such as marketing and procurement. Added services such as, Import & export services, custom brokerage, back end solutions, office space for remote staff, and handling return and reverse logistics make 3 PL service providers such as Sungistix your partner in a true sense.
Depth of Industries and suppliers. A 3 PL service provider who works with different industries, has depth of knowledge about processes and best practices followed in different industries. He would also have a ready setup to support these industries. There might be some practices from other industries that may suit your requirement better. A 3 PL service provider, who works with multiple industries is better positioned to understand them, make recommendations and quickly implement these processes for you. Having wide array of clients, makes it possible that you might find a supplier partner, who is already with them, thus making logistics simpler and cost effective. Moreover, for business such as e-commerce, a 3PL provider having existing tie ups with multiple shipping service providers, gives you multiple options to choose from and makes your life easier.
A 3PL service provider such as Sungistix, work with clients from Pharma industry and maintains high standards of hygiene and environment to cater to sensitive products. These experiences can be leveraged to cater to sensitive food items as well. Their experience from retail logistics can be leveraged to provide improved additional sorting services for e-commerce. Their tie ups with several shipping providers such as UPS, Fedex, US Post etc, give you the option to choose what is best suited for your needs.
Choosing a right 3 PL partner with all these dimensions can define how much time you spend on your logistics and subsequently on your core business. A flexible, experienced partner such as Sungistix, can take a lot of your process off your hands and fulfil them more efficiently, adding to the bottom line of your business.