Many companies still make the mistake of relying too heavily upon the responses that they receive from a traditional request for proposal (RFP) when selecting a third-party logistics (3PL) provider.
Quinton de Villiers, managing director of Bridgewater Logistics, a leading South African supply-chain solutions provider, says the downfall of this approach is that it seriously restricts decision-making capacities by shifting focus mainly to the functional costs of the transport logistics solutions on offer.
“It is a very short-sighted approach as partnering an experienced 3PL will provide significantly more value than can ever be identified through this outdated method that is better suited to other industries,” the logistics expert says.
“Considering the nature of the service-driven transport and logistics sector, glowing references from other clients should provide a more accurate indication of the real value that one will be able to derive from partnering a reputable 3PL. Notably, these references will come from many long-term customers to demonstrate an unrivalled ability to provide security and reliability.”
By also engaging their existing clients, one will be able to determine the level of flexibility of a potential 3PL provider.
This is a critical trait as a long-term partner needs to be able to scale up or down to suit the changing needs of its clients – a capability that can have either positive or negative impacts on the efficiencies of supply chains.
De Villiers says that it is also important to note the impact that the partnership has had on the sales of these clients.
This is an example of the quantitative value proposition that comes from partnering a robust company such as Bridgewater Logistics that will definitely be overlooked by merely examining responses to a RFP as part of the selection process.
De Villiers says that, in many instances, this short-sighted approach has actually had a negative impact on sales over the medium term considering the limitations of the 3PL.
“Bear in mind that transport logistics is also a marketing function. An experienced 3PL is, therefore, able to enhance the customer experience, as opposed to merely improving efficiencies. They achieve this by providing access to, among others, an existing network of valuable carrier relationships and providing clear insights into the many ways in which transport and logistics performance can be enhanced. This is in addition to enhancing routes and bolstering existing cost control measures.”
Bridgewater Logistics remains the first point of contact for a sophisticated supply-chain solution that also includes state-of-the-art warehousing and project planning, as well as both line-haul and distribution road transport logistics capabilities.