Outsourcing logistics operations to a 3PL isn’t new. Unfortunately, disillusionment after a year or two isn’t new either and can result in dissatisfaction. The experience of a RedStone Logistics client that manufactures and distributes outdoor recreational equipment across North America illustrates this challenge.
For Alan, the company’s director of distribution and domestic logistics, his frustration was at a point that he knew he had to make a change. “We hired a 3PL to help us save money and ultimately to turn our supply chain into a competitive advantage. Early on, the savings were there, and the 3PL team did everything we told them to. But,” he added, “why should we have to tell them what to do? They are supposed to be the experts.”
“Our business was growing, and we were not sure that our 3PL was looking beyond cost savings to improve our supply chain as business expanded. What we really needed was a partner who would drive innovation and challenge our ideas if they weren’t the best for our business.”
Clients are looking for additional assistance and efficiencies, not just reduced costs. Some 3PLs, having worked hard to deliver on early promises, fall into an operating rhythm with current clients and then must turn their attention to meeting expectations of new clients that are coming onboard. Culturally, the two organizations may be focused on different priorities.