Decisions, decisions. There seem to be so many choices out there. Some choices, like what to eat for dinner or what movie to see next Tuesday, are small and do not necessarily have any long-term or even short-term consequences. Sure, you could have eaten or seen something different, something better. But, at most, you are out a few bucks and a couple of hours. However, when it comes to supply change management, changing or even sticking with your current 3PL provider has some pretty serious consequences.
To help you make the best possible choice, here are a few signs that indicate it might be time to make a change. Making the switch is no joke, and it is not something that should be taken lightly. With that said, before making a final decision, make sure you talk with your current provider to see how they can re-accommodate you or address your current concerns.
If you are thinking about switching your logistics provider and going out of your way to find out if you should, well, that might tell you something. But we caution against using this as the only piece of evidence you need. After all, you are in a business relationship, not a romantic one, so there is nothing wrong with seeing what is out there. We will not claim to know the details of your situation, but a series of grievances and concerns are likely why you are seeking help—or service—elsewhere. Or, maybe, you just want to save money. Whatever the case is, take time to consider why you are looking elsewhere.
Many companies claim to be a one-stop shop, the answer to all of your supply chain management problems. But the truth is, as you may probably know by now, many companies are the exact opposite. You may have chosen your current 3PL provider because you felt that they were the end-all solution. You felt that way because that is what they told you. But after a few months, or even a few years, the reality of the situation is much different. If you have realized that it is not just your goods that are being taken for a ride, it may be time to abandon the ship. Additionally, if your current provider is not the one-stop shop you believed them to be, or if they no longer provide many services they used to, it is most likely affecting your bottom line. It is also a telling indicator of things to come.
It is a deeply ironic situation to find yourself in, but it happens—and it is by no means amusing. If the technology your current provider uses cannot keep up with the growing demands of your business, you should be concerned. You have a business to run and fiddling around with a clunky or outdated TMS only gets in the way. If your business is growing (and growing fast), you need a competent technological solution that will grow with you, providing real-time information, ease of use, and clear lines of communication. An advanced information system (IS) can help you save money, as it can keep fulfillment costs low, delivery speeds high, and communication lines open. It makes your company better and more efficient, which makes your job easier and gives you more time to devote to other pertinent business matters and decisions.
It might not have been the case just a few years ago, but today e-commerce and third-party logistics are seemingly inseparable. Customers demand speed, and they are willing to pay extra for it. When you adopt and implement faster shipping rates, you keep your customers happy and make more money in the process. In fact, it is so pertinent at this point in the shipping game, that many 3PL providers are changing their approach to accommodate larger e-commerce needs. So, if your 3PL provider does not have the means to help you in this regard, looking elsewhere makes a lot of sense. With different FTL and LTL shipping services available, DTS can handle any type of e-commerce need, providing speed, efficiency, and transparency throughout the shipping process. You will always know when your shipment leaves, where it is, and when it arrives.
You might keep a watchful, all-seeing eye on your shipping KPIs, but that does not mean your provider is. If you are not reaching or exceeding your goals on a regular basis or in a way that you deem satisfactory, it might be time to rethink your shipping strategy—and a new third-party logistics company might be the answer that you so desperately seek. Any company can read and interpret a few numbers on a page, but only the very best know what to do with the information. Look for a 3PL provider that understands how KPIs influence and impact your bottom line; you want to find a freight shipping company that uses collected, as well as projected, data to achieve better overall success.
If you do decide that it is time to part ways with your current 3PL provider, make sure you have another company ready to go. You do not want to find yourself drowning in the murky waters of a bad, premature decision. Like quitting a job before you have another lined up, going a few hours—let alone a few days, weeks, months, or years—without professional third-party logistics is not advised.
We do not recommend handling your supply chain on your own either, as doing so will cost you both financially and mentally. So, why not consider DTS? We have decades upon decades of combined freight experience, serving everyone from the aerospace and aircraft industry to the pharmaceutical industry. To learn more about the DTS difference, browse our website or contact us at your earliest convenience.
Whether you're a company looking to improve one facet of your supply chain, your entire supply chain, or simply looking for a transportation and logistics consultation, we can help.