The key to a modern-day successful logistics program and 3PL relationship relies on many factors that impact all stakeholders: shippers, carriers, employees. What mainstream processes are table stakes in creating a successful stakeholder relationship and logistics program?
What’s in this article:
Why is the performance of logistics programs more important than ever?
What 3 soft factors should be considered for a successful logistics program?
What is the benefit to implementing these 3 soft factors into your logistics program?
The key to a modern-day successful logistics program and 3PL relationship relies on many factors that impact all stakeholders: shippers, carriers, employees. Mainstream processes such strategy development, implementation/integration, execution, and continuous improvement are table stakes in creating a successful stakeholder relationship and logistics program. But what about some of the other “soft” factors that add additional value to the relationship, success of a logistics program and that gives stakeholders a competitive advantage?
The performance of supply chain logistics programs is more important than they ever have been given the current marketplace conditions and high demand placed on the industry. The relationship you have with your providers has deeper value today than in previous market cycles. Research shows that the better relationship you have with stakeholders (and providers) yields higher levels of trust, confidence, and overall performance.
Many think of relationships in terms of strategy, execution, contracts and agreements on how business will be transacted. This is where I would suggest there are opportunities for shippers and carriers to drive deeper relationships with those providers to achieve better results and outcomes. “Soft” factors that go beyond contracts and execution, and that drive more value, insights, and a competitive advantage.
3 “Soft” Factors to Consider for a Successful Logistics Program:
More and more trade (and non-trade) research shows that communications is a critical factor to successful logistics programs. What does communication mean? To most it means “please tell me when there is, or is going to be, a disruption in service for my freight.” I suggest there is more communication your stakeholders need to bring further benefit to the relationship. Where is the S.O.P. for communications? Create and live by one.
Communicate and define the benefits for things such as:
- IT roadmaps and new technology releases
- Security and digital frameworks
- Continuity plans
- People strategies, training programs, and recruiting methodology
- Financial processes for credit, billing, receiving and exception handling
- General company updates such as new leadership, new locations, new product lines
Sharing more broadly your functional groups, people and strategies will lead to better business outcomes.
Everyone wants visibility in the supply chain and the freight. How you can go beyond the “where’s my freight” and get deeper levels of visibility into the supply chain.
- Deep level visibility into your data
- Visibility to the accuracy and usability of your data
- Visibility at the customer order level versus load or shipment level
- Visibility to missed shipment opportunities and opportunity costs associated with unoptimized supply chains
Market Insights & Updates
Stakeholders have a great deal of sources they can go to for market updates. Numerous media and analysts cover the trade. However, stakeholders demand insights from their providers and they want to hear directly from real-world practitioners and operators. They want to hear from the people who do the actual work. It gives them an added layer of insight from someone solving the actual logistics problems versus reporting on the activity.
That’s an added value to the relationship when you’re not just receiving aggregated and compiled information of what other sources are reporting, but getting original content and insights based on real-world experiences from the hands of operators who run the business.
There are many “soft” factors that impact stakeholders and the performance of their supply chain logistic programs. Consider them as added value to the relationship and subtle ways to improve top performing programs at the very highest level.
Soft factors to consider:
- Create communications S.O.P.s and deliver on them
- Introduce other business functions and have thoughtful conversations/collaboration across your business
- Go deeper on visibility in terms of data, accuracy, orders, opportunity costs and predictability
- Deliver insights from the desks of trade operators