Over the past few decades, the overall business model behind top-level 3PL companies has significantly evolved. Not only do third-party logistics (3PL) providers handle the warehouse storage and logistics distribution needs of the clients, but they also provide host of advanced solutions to help streamline operations for their customers. Below are just three examples in how 3PL companies have advanced their capabilities to provide more advanced logistics and supply chain services.
Integrated Advanced IT Infrastructures
With massive expenses that comes with integrating a robust IT (information technology) infrastructures and support platforms, retail companies seeking to leverage the capabilities of a warehouse management system (WMS) for enterprise resource planning (ERP) can turn to the solutions provided by top-level 3PL companies in the industry.
The ability for 3PL providers connect to customers existing IT systems for the integration of their distribution activities allows clients to minimize the burden of having to establish such systems in house. As a result, 3PL providers who provide such solutions are able to help increase the overall efficiency and cost effectiveness of their clients logistics operations.
Managing Labor & Strategic Workforces
Although in the past 3PLs have not been known to manage and aid the labor force for client’s warehousing and distribution operations, this component supply chain management has become integral for most full-service 3PL companies.
As a result, today’s top 3PL companies in the U.S. are able to provide expert labor and workforce optimization and strategic output solutions for clients. This has particularly become important ever since the U.S.’s post-recession labor shortage that a number of different companies have experienced across multiple industries. Additionally, 3PL companies handle complex frieght requirements and other confusing aspects of distribution that would otherwise be a challenge for most businesses.
With better management and strategic workforces, companies are now able to concentrate on developing and utilizing their staff in the ways that matter most to growing their business. This new industry-standard of applying labor planning solutions among 3PLs has enabled companies cut costs in overall warehouse management and basic supply chain functions.
Last-Minute Kitting and Packaging Solutions
While most 3PL companies provide comprehensive warehousing and distribution services, the added value that only select logistics companies offer includes final-stage, or last-minute kitting and packaging solutions.
This enables warehouse and distribution centers to delay or accelerate specific functions, as well as decision making and predicting variables that are associated with specific order volumes and product needs for end customers. As a result, companies can either distribute their products and shipments in bulk, or have them packaged by the 3PL company according to their needs for their retailers.