One of the areas that a 3PL can set itself apart from the competition is by performing a thorough workflow audit before bringing a new account online. A workflow audit is a review of the daily logistics processes performed by your company. It’s an attempt to take a snapshot from each department’s prospective of the shipping processes and how they are impacted.
Once a clear picture has been determined of the existing process, it can be used as a benchmark to point out and determine:
- Opportunities for change
- Enhancements to existing processes
- Points of interaction between the 3PL and the customer
- Opportunity for task sharing between the 3PL and the customer
- Risks for possible problems
- And many other potential simplifications
Here is an example of a typical customer’s drop shipment workflow before recommended changes:
Below is the same process after considering the additional services provided by a thorough 3PL. It’s clear when comparing the two workflows that many of the steps have been eliminated and streamlined. The purple section indicates areas that are now handed over to a 3PL and the customer is no longer responsible for this additional work:
A service‐based 3pl is going to want to become truly vested in your business. That’s not an easy or quick thing to do; it requires a thorough understanding of your day‐to-day processes and a willingness to integrate wherever synergies can be realized. Many times inefficiencies become clear, bias becomes clear, players and changers become obvious, and those that fear change and the future are typically brought into the light. This is crucial to a successful rollout of a true relationship between a 3PL and their customer. It’s not about putting a system in front of the users and giving them a password to log in, it’s about gaining visibility to the whole process.
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