December 2015 | Sponsored | Thought Leaders

Realizing the Power of a Leveraged Platform

Tags: 3PL, Trucking, Rail, Partnership, Transportation, Logistics, Third-Party Logistics, Supply Chain, Sustainability

Chuck Fattore is President, RR Donnelley Logistics, 888-744-7773

Q: How can today's manufacturers deal with increasing regulations, demand volatility, and shifting global trade currents?

A: One way a manufacturer can mitigate the effects of increasing regulations and demand volatility is by working with a third-party logistics (3PL) provider with a leveraged platform. When a 3PL provider utilizes a leveraged platform, it is employing the same best practices to manage its own supply chain needs as it uses to meet the needs of its client base. Benefits include consistent and sizeable freight volume and expertise regarding the impact of logistics on a business overall.

A leveraged platform is also likely to have a global transportation network, strong carrier relationships, and simplified pricing to help manufacturers cost-effectively manage domestic and international shipping and distribution needs. Also, advanced transportation management systems employed by providers with leveraged platforms simplify less-than-truckload management by allowing shippers to easily compare competitors and gather reliable quotes for the most cost-effective rates. Shippers can leverage a transparent, technology-backed network to control shipping costs while streamlining the logistics management process.

Q: What innovative sustainability initiatives also increase efficiency in logistics?

A: According to T&L 2030, a series of studies produced by professional services firm PwC, supply chain stakeholders are expected to support sustainability goals of the other parties in the shipping process. With this in mind, successful companies identify, measure, and continuously improve efficiencies associated with consumption and use of energy and other resources. In logistics, companies can join the EPA's SmartWay Partnership to promote energy efficiency throughout their shipping activities. The Partnership brings key freight shippers, trucking companies, railroads, logistics companies, and trade/professional associations together to follow mutually advantageous efficiencies.

Q: Why do companies have such a hard time embracing global trade management?

A: One reason is the ever-increasing complexity of global trade management. This can be mitigated by using a single-source 3PL provider that understands how to put both domestic and international distribution systems to work for its customers. The experts who man such interconnected global networks deliver deep, valuable and actionable insights on the best ways to deliver freight to its final destination. A 3PL provider often has extensive knowledge of U.S. and foreign requirements and regulations, which helps reduce the amount of time spent managing customs, duty/tax calculations, and other transportation requirements.

Another reason organizations experience challenges with global trade management is the lack of visibility into the supply chain. Shippers often seek increased visibility into their global shipments. A leveraged platform with technology-backed solutions can be used to gain a complete understanding of shipping and delivery trends that impact project outcomes. These tools let shippers view tracking information in real time and seamlessly trace shipments to know exactly where freight is, no matter what stage of the delivery process.