Benefits of 3PLs

For many companies, third party logistics (3PL) providers seem to be a luxury since they are almost always used in larger companies who have numerous cargo shipping containers arriving daily at their warehouses. The truth is that, yes larger companies definitely benefit from 3PL services, but smaller companies can also use these services to better their business and make their supply chains more efficient. Small companies sometimes think that their freight forwarding company is enough since they only have a small amount of cargo. What happens is that many people do not know the difference between freight forwarding services and 3PL services. While freight forwarders are involved to move the cargo around the world with the best freight rates, 3PLs also provide other services that affect more parts of the supply chain. They can partner with you on computer systems and continuous improvement projects that will give you better visibility of your supply chain which can free up your resources. Overall 3PLs sell it that they will save you money as well as time because they have relationships with carriers and NVOCC’s as well as expertise in warehousing and supply chain management. This can make a bigger difference in smaller companies since these companies will not need to hire a high level import manager or director and can focus on growing their business. While 3PLs can help in many ways, they are not for everyone and should be looked at with scrutiny before signing on with them. Will they save you in shipping charges, will they be able to move your cargo faster, and can they prove it? Once you have it all spelled out, a 3PL can be a great asset to your supply chain.