Out-going IWLA Chief Shares Advice for 3PL Customers at CSCMP

The International Warehouse Logistics Association President & CEO Joel D. Anderson spoke on “pesky regulations” at the recently-concluded Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals Annual Conference in Denver.

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The International Warehouse Logistics Association President & CEO Joel D. Anderson spoke on “pesky regulations” at the recently-concluded Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals Annual Conference in Denver. Now that he’s announced his pending retirement, Anderson wishes to share this “check list” for shippers wising to vet 3PLs promising “optimization.”

Here are some of his observations.

*First, the shipper/customer needs to clearly define its market and service expectations.  For example, if the shipper does not have any trading patterns outside of a defined area, look for someone with a proven track record of services and promises kept within that service area.

*Second, data transparency.  The shipper should always be able to get answers to the questions of inventory in storage, in transit, expected delivery dates, immediate notification of any delays and expected resolution of the delays.

*Third, did the 3PL when presenting responses to an RFP also ask deep questions about the shipper’s supply chain and the shipper’s customer requirements?  3PLs provide substituted services for the shipper and to provide at the same level or better, the 3PL must know all the “ins and outs” of the shipper’s supply chain, including what the shipper’s customers expect.

*Fourth, does the 3PL bring innovation to the shipper’s supply chain.  After examining the deep questions in #3, does the 3PL mull it over and then respond with an alternative approach that can reduce the time and cost, and improve the reliability and efficiency of the supply chain.

*Fifth, does the shipper have the commitment of the senior management of the 3PL.  I have found that the most successful 3PL that secure new business contracts are ones where senior management participates in the service offering.  Nothing says “I care” better than senior management participating in making the proposal a reality.

When asked what other optimized services a shipper expect and/or demand? Anderson provided two more boxes to check: 

*Innovation – because the 3PL is the subject matter expert in logistics, the shipper should create an expectation that the 3PL will bring a new idea to the table.

*Thorough knowledge of any and all regulatory barriers or obstacles that may adversely impact the shipper’s trading patterns.


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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