Third-party logistics (3PL) providers play a vital role in the supply chains of virtually every industry in the world. In fact, 90 percent of the Fortune 500 relies on a 3PL model.
3PLs provide significant value to companies by taking on the logistics involved in shipping goods, including warehousing, fulfillment, and transportation. Visibility into each of these components is essential, but it can be challenging for 3PLs to achieve.
Fortunately, the right technology can provide in-transit visibility for 3PLs and reveal new opportunities.
3PL Shipment Visibility
Going Beyond ETAs
Real time transportation visibility solutions help 3PLs track where their cargo is and where it’s headed next. While ETAs and route visibility are important, they are by no means the only ways in which visibility solutions are useful.
Losses and damage due to improper transportation are real risks for 3PLs. But 3PL shipment visibility solutions can alert companies to issues before they spiral. These solutions can alert carriers of cargo theft red flags and natural disasters, from fires to floods and other weather events. They can also alert a 3PL in the event that a product is dropped or experiences a temperature deviation.
“Visibility has been the buzzword in transportation and logistics,” said Amy Shortman, Overhaul’s vice president of product marketing. “Many 3PLs are invested in visibility solutions, but they often lack critical real-time location monitoring. For high-value shipments, it’s not enough to simply know that key milestones have been achieved. And for time- and temperature-sensitive shipments, there’s so much to consider beyond final delivery status.”
If something goes awry during a shipment, corrective action must be taken immediately. A delayed response might result in a damaged or stolen product. However, immediate action can only happen when risks are caught in real-time – that’s where visibility shines.
“A 3PL has to demonstrate that it can proactively manage, report, and mitigate risk,” said Amy. “Real-time visibility means real-time insights. It’s advantageous for a 3PL to adopt this technology so that they can optimize and expand their operations.”
The Drawbacks of a Homegrown 3PL Shipment Visibility Solution
Historically, when 3PLs have identified a need for a new solution to streamline operations, they’ve created it in-house. But what may have worked well in the short term might not be the best approach for the long run.
Most 3PLs, even the largest in the space, are hindered by antiquated and homegrown systems. Some even continue to rely on manual updates.
“Not only are these approaches labor-intensive,” said Amy, “they’re also often unreliable and lagging. Worse, they solely focus on a shipment’s latest milestone or driver location. As a result, these solutions often don’t integrate with one another, which makes it hard to unify internal and external data.”
3PL Supply Chain Visibility: A Competitive Advantage
A technology provider like Overhaul is a must for achieving 3PL supply chain visibility. Real time data, logistics services, and product quality alerts are just some of the key benefits we offer.
“Our software can immediately plug in and help simplify workflows,” said Amy. “An in-house approach might fill an initial gap, but it usually leaves 3PLs swiveling between piecemealed technologies. Overhaul’s solutions, however, streamline all aspects of transportation management. These include even the most complex standards of care, compliance, and security, and real-time, end-to-end visibility.”
With a swift onboarding process and quick time-to-value, 3PLs can have a commercially viable, value-added solution to upsell service levels, enter new markets or industries, or enhance existing services within weeks.
For 3PLs, exceeding expectations is defined by consistently achieving the best outcomes for their clients. It means no thefts, spoilage or accidents during a shipment, or having to pass on costs related to such incidents. It also means optimizing internal teams and resources, as well as identifying when technology can help consolidate and accelerate processes.
“Ultimately, if a 3PL isn’t using a visibility solution like Overhaul, it’s almost impossible to ensure that they’re following their clients’ standards of care,” said Amy. “But once Overhaul is implemented, the benefits are instantaneous. Instead of them needing to spend hours to piece together disparate data to generate a report, we immediately surface information. 3PLs can then apply this reclaimed bandwidth to what they do best: handling the logistics for the multitude of supply chains we all rely on.”
If you want to learn more about how Overhaul’s visibility platform can help your business, reach out to us today.