Is a 3PL Not the Best Fit for You?
Q: While some companies have chosen to rely on 3PLs to manage their logistics, Progressive Converting made the choice to keep its logistics in house. Why?
MR: Progressive Converting (Pro-Con) is a service provider to the major paper companies. As such, controlling all aspects of the supply chain is critical in delivering value to our customers. We chose to keep our logistics operations in house because we need to manage the flow of inbound and outbound freight to maximize operational efficiencies on our production lines. Given we are a quick-turn supplier with order lead times that are often less than 24 hours, we need to maintain control of our shipping area to ensure freight does not disrupt our overall operations.
Q: How has the looming capacity shortage influenced your decision to manage your own transportation procurement?
MR: Pro-Con has been following developments in the transportation industry closely for several years and we feel having direct control of our logistics partners gives us the best chance for success. By using U Route’s transportation management system (TMS), we can develop and maintain relationships with carriers and ensure that our direct relationship is significant enough so we will not be adversely affected by driver shortages that are short or long term.
Q: What tools do you use to manage your transportation? And what factors swayed your technology decision process?
MR: Four years ago, Pro-Con managed all freight activity with spreadsheets, phones, and emails. It became clear that with our growth and more than 20,000 annual shipments, we needed something more robust than email and spreadsheets.
We analyzed more than 40 commercially available TMS before selecting U Route. We carefully reviewed the functionality of each system and the ability for each platform to grow with our business. The fact that U Route is a web-based Software-as-a-Service and that it uses web services to obtain rates for our LTL and TL service providers meant that we would not be maintaining or loading rate tables. It was also critical that U Route would be able to easily interface with our ERP.
Q: Why does U Route focus on providing TMS directly to shippers?
JS: First, let me say that I am not anti-3PL or agnostic about the value they can provide. However, there are industries and companies that are better served by managing and controlling their own logistics. This has always been our why. We provide the best web-based transportation software to shippers that benefit from directly managing their own procurement and carriers.