Outsourcing the logistics function of a company is an important decision that will hopefully affect business in positive and profitable ways. After determining that outsourcing will be beneficial and deciding what is needed from a provider, you'll begin your search. We've put together a list of attributes to look for, what to expect and some tips for talking to prospective partners in an effort to assist you in the right program for the right price.
Key Attributes- What to Look For
- Cutting edge TMS, WMS and EDI systems (see sidebar)
- Easy On-Boarding, including a thorough data and expectation collboration process. Providing accurate data and program expectations will lead to accurate pricing assumptions and an efficient start up.
- Ample space and growth potential to accomodate your business as it grows.
- A company that can add value to the entire logistical process from warehouse expertise to freight optimization capabilities
-Strategic location (proximity to interstates and rail yards as well as optimal location for your business needs.)
What To Expect- What Providers Are Looking For
Once you've reached out to a prospective provider you should be prepared to provide information about your business and your needs. Expect to answer questions such as what type of product you have, what type of storage you need (refrigerated? Hazmat?), how often you expect your product to come in and go out and what transportation needs you may have. Some providers may have a minimum pallet requirement; some may only deal with certain materials and certain temperatures. Have all of this information at the ready for a smooth provider search.
Tips for Talking To Prospective Partners
Once you've narrowed down your choices and have reached out for quotes from a few providers it will be time to talk about the goals you established in part two. Be open to the provider's ideas, too. Collaboration is what makes outsourcing partnerships flourish. Be clear but reasonable about your anticipated spend for the project.
Importance of Quality Onboarding
Lastly, the importance a successful onboarding cannot be overstated. A team who is experienced in onboarding new customers will ask thought provoking, forward thinking questions in order to uncover opportunities for new efficiencies. Some companies view onboarding as the stage in which "our system learns to talk to yours". However, a true logistics partner will use the implementation as an opportunity to begin the consultative process. The end result is not simply process automation, but process improvement.
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