Using a 3PL to Mitigate Shipping Disruptions

3PL illustration feature

Consumer purchasing power is only a click away, bringing significant pressure on ecommerce sellers to quickly fulfill and delivery orders to keep up with demand. This increased pressure means shippers of all sizes need innovative ways to efficiently track and transport throughout the fulfillment process.

To embrace this challenge, shippers should consider partnering with a third-party logistics (3PL) provider to gain more flexible freight options, increasing efficiency and visibility across their operations.

Many shippers are experiencing a labor gap since older workers are retiring faster than younger ones can replace them. Supplemental services from a top 3PL can help fill these gaps.

To safeguard against current and future disruptions in transportation, a 3PL partner can help mitigate them in the following ways:

Less-Than-Truckload (LTL)

LTL is a great option to address increased demand for faster freight at a higher volume, and a cost-effective way to ship smaller volumes than full truckload with a reduced number of touchpoints. But it can be tricky to understand without a 3PL partner.

LTL shipping offers a multitude of benefits including:

  • Cost savings: Combining freight with other shippers creates lower rates for shippers.
  • Flexibility: LTL can typically handle 150-1,500 lbs. of weight per pallet in a variety of shapes and sizes.
  • Customization: LTL is especially beneficial to those whose shipments are less than 6 pallets, though shippers with more product and freight capacity can still utilize partial LTL services.

Retaining the Current Workforce

In response to the labor shortage, companies are reevaluating relationships with employees and adjusting hiring and outreach to a limited labor pool. The “Great Resignation” has seen more than a third of people considering a change in profession, particularly within trucking and transportation. A 3PL can bring several approaches to help you address the labor shortage, such as:

  • Improving Technology: A transportation management system (TMS) and in-transit visibility technologies can help attract a younger, more tech-savvy labor force while streamlining your transportation workflow.
  • Attracting new, diverse candidates: A 3PL can help incorporate an inclusive, flexible and collaborative culture which is essential to millennial employee retention. Some 3PLs can even place staff directly on site at your facility where they will work together in daily operations.
  • Increasing Employee Safety: 3PLs can make sure employees feel safe during operations with additional safety management such as driver fall protection, monitoring and inspections.

Increased Supply Chain Visibility

A 3PL can offer enhanced supply chain visibility and security for tracking processes. The right partner can integrate the latest technology and save significant time scheduling loads or finding last-minute service providers. Enhanced visibility in warehousing and throughout the supply chain can benefit you in the following ways:

  • Access to Data: Real-time data updates provide the tools to encourage smart and preemptive business decisions instead of reacting blindly to disruptions. A 3PL can utilize business intelligence tools to identify service or cost concerns so you can adapt quicker and ultimately improve the overall customer experience.
  • Efficiency: Enhanced visibility with reliable data allows your shipping operations to run smoothly and more efficiently.
  • Optimization: Clean, digestible data lets businesses make better real-time decisions and see where processes can be improved to increase efficiency and ultimately profit while also reducing

As consumers continue to embrace ecommerce, a 3PL partnership can provide flexible freight options, strong values around employee retention and increased visibility. Benefits can also include cost savings and refined processes. Utilizing LTL services, focusing on the existing workforce, and providing valuable data insights are a few ways you can avoid the adverse impacts of disruption. A 3PL partner will help identify and centralize these solutions.

David Branson is VP of Managed Transportation Operations at TA Services