There are many benefits to outsourcing trucking fleet operations to a third-party logistics provider. It’s cost-effective, improves supply chain efficiency and reduces a company’s liabilities and expenses, just to name a few. As with any other relationship, however, there are certain things that must be done to achieve a successful partnership. If you’re thinking about outsourcing, it is a good idea to plan out how you will manage your relationship with your provider.
The most important aspect to consider when looking at the option of outsourcing is determining what you wish to accomplish. Perhaps you’re most interested in reducing your costs, or maybe it’s all about increasing your delivery capabilities. Evaluate your current procedures to see what parts are working, and what parts need improvement. Once you understand what needs to change, write down your specific needs and goals and relay them to prospective 3PLs. The clearer your goals are, the easier it will be to find the perfect match for your company’s logistics needs.
It is vitally important that you keep the lines of communication open, both with your logistics provider and your staff. Third-party transportation companies are experts in logistics, however, they are not mind readers. You must stay in contact with them and communicate any issues, or concerns you have, and never be afraid to ask questions. Likewise, it’s imperative that you keep your staff in the loop when it comes to any changes in logistics. Leaving them out of the decision making process, or failing to keep them informed will lead to lower morale, and perhaps even acts of sabotage.
While you may be excited about transferring your company’s logistics responsibilities to someone else, proceed with caution. Giving up too much control too fast is a potential recipe for disaster. Instead, phase in the outsourcing a little at a time to avoid delivery delays and customer confusion. Plus, until you’ve developed a working relationship with the 3PL, you really don’t know how well they will perform. An experienced, reputable logistics company won’t push you to completely rely upon them until they have proven themselves.
Every business relationship you enter into has the potential to be a long-term and mutually beneficial. The same holds true for outsourcing your fleet. However, you must understand that without clear goals, continuous communication and a caution, you are putting your company’s future at risk. Take the time to evaluate your needs, discuss your plans with industry professionals and your staff and move forward when the time and 3PL feel right to you.