Building a reliable, seamless and cost-effective supply chain isn’t easy.
It requires a tactical mix of innovative technology, careful strategy and sharp decision-making. And at a time when speed, scalability and cost are critical, choosing the right logistics partner for your business is one decision that simply can’t be overlooked.
Disentangling your business from a poorly suited partner can be both operationally disruptive and financially crippling. Supply chain disruptions caused businesses financial losses of 15% or more in 2022, with 56% of small and medium businesses changing suppliers due to “costs” and “consistent delays.”
So what does a great logistics partner look like? In this article, we’ll explore the key considerations for identifying the right match for your business.
Business partnerships are becoming increasingly transactional, with the lowest cost often being prioritized above all else. This focus has created a race to the bottom.
When the losses of missed shipments and deadlines are weighed against cost, a more “budget-friendly” provider may – paradoxically – be the more expensive option. A culture of “every shipment matters” may come at a slightly increased premium, but with a whole host of benefits:
Each supply chain will have its own strategic demands, based on the lanes and cargo it works with. Businesses that deal in perishable goods will adopt a greater focus on punctuality, whereas those simply looking to ship cargo at high volume may prioritize cost over timeliness. In short, a specific 3PL partner may be ideal for one business, and totally unsuited to another.
It’s always worth considering what makes your supply chain tick, and where value must be added by a potential logistics partner. Most businesses base their choices on the following factors:
Experience & expertise
A long history and proven track record of success is always a good indicator of a reliable logistics partner. Their rich experience means that they will likely have already jumped many supply chain hurdles – both common and unexpected. A younger company is unlikely to have the judgment or capacity to compete in this area.
With the current levels of inflation and variation in fuel prices, many logistics firms are in a precarious financial position. This can lead to a host of problems, such as:
A logistics partner with a high-quality tech stack can be transformative for your operations. Effective logistics software provides clients real-time visibility into the location and transit times of shipments. Combined with a warehouse management system , they can also provide the granularity needed to optimize supply lines, inventory management and staffing levels at distribution centers.
Technology that can integrate with your own systems will give you a real-time view of your shipments, and an in-depth understanding of how and where your money is being spent.
This insight can help facilitate a massive reduction in your logistics costs. For example, a multi-billion-dollar retail client of ours had previously managed all of its logistics operations through spreadsheets. While commendable, the reality is that even with the most talented administrators, you will never achieve the level of oversight necessary to compete with dedicated logistics software.
As a result, in the first year of their partnership with us, and utilizing our Allink360™ software, this business managed to save over 30% in logistics costs.
Selecting the right logistics partner is pivotal for a streamlined supply chain. An overemphasis on cost savings can often prove to be the less financially prudent decision in the long run. A good logistics partner will endeavor to constantly optimize your supply chains and provide you with the best “bang for your buck.”
At Harte Hanks, we have provided logistics services to a wide range of businesses across a variety of industries, from global CPG companies to liquidators. With our holistic Transportation Management System, Allink360™, and over 40 years of logistics expertise behind us, we provide a service where every shipment truly matters.
Contact us today.
Renee is the Harte Hanks Logistics Vice President of Operations. She manages a team of dispatchers responsible for booking competitive freight and a dedicated Client Services team providing flawless execution. Renee has over 30 years of service with Harte Hanks.