Final word on scorecarding

Meanwhile, it’s still possible to improve your scorecarding proficiency simply by working hard to avoid some of the following all-too-common mistakes

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Editor’s Note: Scorecards are widely used by shippers to monitor and grade the individual performance of their 3PLs today. But not all scorecards in the world are being designed and used to derive the best possible efficacies they are capable of delivering. This is the third of a three-part exclusive web exclusive written by David Frentzel is APL Logistics’ Vice President for Global Contract Logistics.
The article discusses the benefits that can be derived from using scorecards, shares some of the best practices in scorecarding, and highlights the common mistakes that should be avoided in deploying the scorecard system.


Clearly it may not be possible for your company to engage in all of these best scorecarding practices yet.  However each one that you are able to adopt should increase the possibility that you’ll derive more from your scorecards than being able to say you have and use them. Meanwhile, it’s still possible to improve your scorecarding proficiency simply by working hard to avoid some of the following all-too-common mistakes.

Using Scorecards As Punitive Rather Than Collaborative Devices

As many championship athletes can tell you, even the best performers occasionally have a less-than-stellar day or week.  Instead of getting ready to put your 3PL in the penalty box every time you see an underwhelming scorecard result, consider it as a signal that you may need to talk with, rather than yell at, its personnel.

Keeping Scorecard Results To Yourself

Just as you can’t always be sure of where your 3PLs’ performance has room for improvement until you see specific data, neither can the top management at your 3PLs.  If you want your scorecards to inspire performance improvement, you must be willing to grant your 3PLs timely access to their scores.

Making Scorecard Preparation Too Work-Intensive

When you’re dealing with measurement tools, there’s always the possibility that someone will have to be responsible for interpreting or repackaging the results to make them more presentable or accessible.  However if there’s too much preparation required to get your scorecard results “ready for prime time,” there’s always a chance that the process will eventually become too much of a time drain for your company to continue.  Having too big of a gap between how data is collected and how it’s later packaged also exposes your company to another risk:  the possibility that your 3PLs may begin to question whether or not their results were presented accurately. The more simple and direct your company can make the process, the happier everyone will ultimately be.

Treating Scorecards As A One-Way Street

This final note is one so important that it bears repeating, so keep it handy and refer to it again and again:  Your company’s 3PLs may be the parties responsible for supplying the performance data that populates scorecards.  But in the end, only your company can determine whether your scorecarding process will be successful.  Scorecards are only truly useful if they’re being used – and by used I mean reviewed, analyzed and acted upon by the organization that developed them.  So before you invest too much into building better scorecards, make sure you’re prepared as a company to devote a good deal of your own strategic time and energy into looking at them in a timely fashion and using what they reveal to build better relationships with and pave the way for improved performance from your 3PLs.

If you are, you’re already off to an outstanding start.  If you aren’t, well, you probably know the score. 


About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

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