Opinion: Outsourcing "Points of Pain" in the Supply Chain

Third-party logistics providers are partnering with companies to handle global sourcing differences, improve product fill rates and eliminate other "points of pain" in the supply chain


"While we had good product availability, we wanted better," explained Black. "With all the resources that go into [research and development (R&D)], production and marketing, we certainly didn't want to miss the last link of the sales chain. In a competitive marketplace that could be the difference between making the sale or giving it to a competitor."

Acting on inventory analysis, Black said Dana Corp. improved the product availability of its fastest selling products by 30 percent. "Further analysis of our order and product in/out flow patterns also helped us to automate order entry, allowing us to cut the lead time on thousands of products," she said.

The bottom line for CEOs and senior executives is that 3PL providers are capable of ensuring that a company's end customers receive on-time, error-free shipment despite today's complex logistics, global sourcing differences and JIT inventory challenges. They can also help a company uphold its brand integrity through customer product receipt, providing product with all the necessary labeling, paperwork and customer-requested extras.

In today's demanding marketplace, 3PL providers are a practical way to eliminate pain in the supply chain, without diverting capital to train and upgrade traditionally inflexible, in-house logistics departments.

About the Author: Del Williams is a technical writer based in Torrance, Calif.

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