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Navigating the 3PL Process

For distribution center and warehouse management considering outsourcing all or part of their operations, Distribution Center Management offers seven steps for navigating the process.

(Boonton, NJ, December 6, 2013) — With 3PLs posting solid growth, outsourcing has emerged as a fast-growing trend in the distribution industry.

Perhaps a quarter of DCs are now run by third-party logistics providers, industry experts estimate, and their market share seems poised to grow as manufacturers and distributors try to squeeze efficiencies from their supply chains.

In the December issue of Distribution Center Management, Robert Ulery, vice president of Johnson Stephens Consulting and Mark Richards, vice president of AWI Logistics, share seven steps to picking the right 3PL.

Step number one is to find the “right fit.”

Because outsourcing distribution is such a big commitment, make sure you’re comfortable with the 3PL you hire — not just the equipment and facilities, but the people, they say.

"If you have that cultural fit, you can work through any problem," Richards adds. “If you don’t, good luck.”

One way to ensure that fit is to have representatives from the top bidders tour your facility, and go tour the facilities they run. Don’t let the common fear that a tour will reveal sensitive information stand in the way of this important step, Ulery says.

When you tour the 3PL’s facility, make note of such details as the cleanliness of the warehouse, the attitude of the workers, and the longevity of the managers.

The full list of seven steps for picking the right 3PL appear in the December issue of Distribution Center Management.

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About the Distribution Group

For more than 40 years, Distribution Group publications have helped distribution center and warehouse managers increase productivity, cut costs, and meet increasing customer demands. Distribution Group publishes Distribution Center Management newsletter, books and reports, and a free e-newsletter.

Website: http://www.DistributionGroup.com

 

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