Want to Run a More Successful 3PL? Learn from the Best.
Today's third-party logistics and warehouse community is accomplishing spectacular things in our rapidly changing environment. From increasing productivity, to growing their customer base, to raking in higher profits, warehouses are thriving in today's marketplace.
Like any 3PL owner, you're always looking for ways to improve your own results, as well. At 3PL Central, we have always found that the best way to replicate the success of industry leaders is to study their tactics and strategies—and then implement them in your own operations.
We are happy to report that we have many examples of highly successful 3PLs among our own customers. This has enabled us to identify five crucial best practices our most successful 3PLs are using to help drive accuracy and increase efficiencies—all while simplifying their processes.
These best practices have formed the foundation of their remarkable success. But most of all, 3PL Central found that these 3PLs believe, as we do, that great businesses are built on "people, process and technology." As such, each of these aspects are equally important in their efforts to become a more productive and customer-driven warehouse.
Warehouses who use this philosophy to create disciplined, rigorous strategies were able to achieve superior results. These plans are largely based on these 3PLs' own self-knowledge. And of all the things they know about themselves, we found these to be the most important:
1. Know who you are—and what type of customers you serve. A clear knowledge of what you do—and do better than the competition—can help reduce the blind spots in your business and provide a clear path when looking to grow. The best 3PL warehouses know exactly what they do best, which enables them to target a specific customer type and provide superior service.
This laser focus allows 3PLs to be incredibly efficient and extremely profitable—while helping them to retain their most lucrative clients for years on end—without having to chase new clients outside of their areas of expertise.
2. Know you must be built to change—and change quickly. Top-performing 3PLs don't simply react to changes in our industry. Instead, they anticipate their arrival, spot trends as they are developing, and are already up and running in the changed environment before other warehouses can even begin to respond.
This mind-set impacts everything from the staff they hire—to the technology they purchase. This mentality helps ensure they can capitalize on fast-moving, but extremely lucrative, opportunities as they arise.
3. Know how to retain your current warehouse staff. The disastrous shortage of qualified warehouse workers has been an industry-wide crisis for years. Yet the best warehouses have no trouble attracting and retaining the top talent needed to succeed.
Warehouses who invest into their staff by creating a positive working environment and providing on-the-job training—while maintaining the highest ethical standards—can expect to have a happy and productive group of employees. In return, many warehouses find that employees reward them with hard work, innovative thinking and long-term loyalty.
4. Know the importance of monitoring your warehouse data. Like many of you, top-tier 3PLs know we all operate in an increasingly digital world. But rather than seeing the terabytes of data produced as a mere by-product of daily work, top 3PLs realize it is a potential goldmine for new services, greater efficiency and happier customers.
Analyzing warehouse data can enable 3PLs to forecast everything from their staffing needs, to process efficiencies, costs-per-service and more. It can even show which customers a warehouse should hang on to—and which ones they may choose to replace.
5. Know when to upgrade your technology and when to hold off. In addition to monitoring data, top-tier 3PLs create rigorous internal processes that track business expenses, operational efficiencies, and costs to service their customers. In addition, these 3PLs always keep abreast of their customers' future plans.
This information helps ensure that every technological purchase is made at the right time—for the right reasons—and provides the return on investment they demand.
At 3PL Central, we're dedicated to helping all 3PLs capitalize on the incredible opportunities our industry now offers. We hope this article provides your 3PL with the insights it needs to become an even more successful, efficient and lucrative operation.