September 9, 2021 | Insights
How to Evaluate Your Logistics Service Provider
September 9, 2021 | Insights
Most people think of logistics as a sort of directional service. Meaning that logistics is all about moving a shipment from point A to point B. Naturally, that is precisely what you should expect a good logistics provider to do.
What about a great logistics service provider? How do you know you’re working with a vendor that will not just anticipate your needs, but will advise you on how to make your entire shipment process that much more efficient? An excellent logistics provider invests in your whole supply chain, advising you on ideas and solutions that will save you time and money.
What is the Role of Logistics in the Supply Chain?
A good logistics company helps you implement and plan your entire end-to-end supply chain, from origin to end-point. Those supply chains today are very global in nature, so a provider will help you manage:
- International markets
- Inventory management
- Distribution and fulfillment
That provider should offer dedicated resources to integrate these solutions seamlessly, allowing you and your team to manage your customers and business relationships. In fact, your provider should be prepared to analyze your current logistics plan and offer immediate insights on best practices.
How to Evaluate a Logistics Provider
What are the best ways to evaluate a logistics provider to ensure you’re investing in a strategic partnership that will reduce your headaches and overhead?
Global Contacts and Knowledge. As you ship materials to international jurisdictions, as well as source shipments and products from overseas markets, you need to work with someone who is well-versed in international law and regulatory bodies. That knowledge base ensures that your shipments don’t get stuck in customs, that you avoid paying costly fines, and that your shipments don’t spend additional costly time getting to where they need to be.
Technology Leaders. It’s increasingly important to work with a logistics provider that has experience in, and knowledge of, IT. Integrated technology solutions give you a bird’s-eye view of your shipments throughout the process, notifying you of the status of your goods in real-time. As your stock moves up and down, you also need to be aware of those changes in various locations so you have time to plan and make the right decisions.
Track Record of Reliability. Look for a company that has a documented history as a trusted leader with a strong track record. Logistics companies with decades’ worth of experience should be able to provide documentation and client stories to demonstrate their experience and reliability.
Adequate Redundancy and Resources. Big isn’t necessarily always better. You don’t have to work with the largest company in the world, but make sure there is an adequate amount of knowledge and resources. Work with an organization that is using the staff’s collective experience to deliver cutting-edge recommendations and solutions.
Questions to Ask a New Logistics Service Provider
No matter where you are in the decision-making process for your organization—whether you just went out to bid or you’re about to sign the contract—here are some useful questions and talking-points to help guide your decision.
What are their success metrics, and how do they measure them? How does this company score their own success, and what is the basis of that success and scoring system? For example, for companies in the retail industry, how will your supplier manage the fluctuations in seasonal buying and the holiday season? What kind of plans do they have in place for supplemental staffing during seasonal periods, and how can they demonstrate those plans have worked well and served customers in the past?
How will they reduce your challenges and bottlenecks? The entire purpose of a logistics service provider should be removing barriers to your success. Ask for specific observations about what is, and isn’t, working in your current model. Then, ask for documented recommendations for specific improvements.
Ask to see documents related to: security, compliance, safety records, etc. If you need to transport chemical products, grocery/food products, or other specialized goods, engage in discussions and ask to see documentation about the company’s experience and resources in those specific areas.
Scaling and integration. Will this logistics service provider scale up as needed, and are they prepared to integrate their systems with your existing platforms? As your business grows, expands, and adapts, you need a logistics provider that is prepared to scale with you.
Specialization in Logistics
Companies that take specific approaches to specific challenges are more than a vendor. They are strategic partners that bring solutions to the table, integrate them, and then help your business grow. Data-driven yard management utilizes direct measurement and first-hand observations of your day-to-day business to facilitate consistent and improved operational success throughout your logistics supply chain.
Our company has a 30-plus-year history of working with companies just like yours to ensure operational success. During that time, we have constantly addressed opportunities to improve our services, adding to our consistent record of safety and support for the industry.
Your remote yard assessment gives us first-hand experience of your strengths and where and how we can improve your yard operation. Our team is standing by to ship you a gimbal to capture data for your virtual assessment. That team of experts is ready to help you discover your plan of action. Schedule your assessment today.