Being able to focus one’s attention on what was once an interest or passion that transformed into a career is what most people strive for in the workplace. As the old saying goes, “If you do what you love, then you’ll never work a day in your life.” For those entrepreneurs and business professionals that are doing what they love, you need only ask them about their work and their eyes will light up. Unfortunately for most, if you ask them about logistics and supply chain management their hair is likely to catch fire or simply fall out. They downright hate it, don’t understand it, or can’t figure out why it is taking up so much time and leaving so little for the work they love. Logistics has been an essential component in what has separated the successes of your major retailers from the early struggles of small or e-commerce businesses. As any of them can attest, the high costs and time commitment of maintaining a warehouse, or shipping goods to buyers, really hurts their profitability.
Having an extensive network of logistics specialists and supply chain management can do wonders for your bottom line in the new age normal of “slow growth or no growth” industry. For the longest time, big business had been able to keep logistics primarily to themselves. With the advent of Third Party Logistic companies (3PLs) the e-commerce business owner now has equal footing in this complex side of doing business. Where better to look for innovative 3PLs for your e-commerce business than the same logistics companies big retailers are partnering with at an increased rate? After all, even big businesses would prefer to spend time on their business rather than on logistics and supply chain management.
Before listing some of the more reputable and highly rated 3PLs used by some of the major brands, it’s important to know what e-commerce companies are looking for in a partnership. A finely tuned supply chain is one of the biggest prerequisites of an e-commerce company. You’ll want a 3PL partner to be flexible and scalable to your growing needs while using cutting edge technology to improve efficiency. Within that supply chain, ecommerce companies will want a 3PL who has a well-run warehouse facility. This facility should be complete with an excellent consolidation service in order to minimize shipping costs and overhead. Finally, and most importantly, you want a 3PL with a great track record for order fulfillment. Without successful order fulfillment in a timely manner an e-commerce business isn’t providing anything to the consumer and doomed to fail.
A few of the shining examples in the 3PL industry and what their large partners are saying about them according to Reader’s Choice Awards in 3PLs in 2013:
Ryder – Clients include: Cisco, PepsiCo, Domino’s Pizza, CVS, and Toyota
Ryder implements a suite of logistics services that streamlines transportation and distribution activities, consolidate inbound and outbound domestic and international shipments, added cross-docking capabilities, and optimized packaging.
Menlo Worldwide Logistics – Clients include: GM, New Era, HP and Nike
Menlo uses Lean tools and methodologies to streamline transportation management and promote continuous improvement. It also established a continuous improvement roadmap to drive greater year-over-year efficiencies.
UPS Supply Chain Solutions – Clients include: Sprint, Toshiba, and Triumph Motorcycles
Known primarily for their delivery service by the public, UPS is also known as a shining example in supply chain analysis by retailers. Not disclosing too much of what has allowed them to succeed, they note that businesses have done well by using UPS to help them expand into global growth markets, but simplify the supply chain at the same time.
Penske Logistics – Clients Include: BMW, Whirlpool, and Ford Motor Co.
Penske Logistics developed a comprehensive transportation management technology solution, and a gain-sharing agreement to maximize collaboration by cross-border partners. Penske Logistics’ management and monitoring of carrier rates and loads have allowed clients to see immediate benefits in transportation savings.
Brian Levesque, the author, is a small business consultant who, after speaking with many ecommerce businesses who underestimated the problem of logistics, he has taken to writing in the hopes of forestalling this commong problem. Another issue he has noticed is the lack of an effective checkout process, and for resolving that he highly recommends going to http://www.fastspring.com/. You can learn more about Brian by visiting Google+.