So much emphasis is put on the outbound process for customer deliveries that many Shippers don’t put the time and effort on how they are handling the inbound process into a 3PL distribution center. But why not use the 3PL to manage that inbound process?
The difference between the inbound and outbound process is that the Shipper is dependent on the Supplier to pick the orders accurately, ensure product is available timely and shipments are delivered throughout the supply chain as expected. However, many suppliers don’t have the tools to provide visibility and transparency in their portion of the supply chain. In many cases, it’s a manual process that the Shipper must coordinate which takes a lot of time and effort.
A successful inbound program allows for multiple suppliers to deliver to the Distribution Center in a coordinated, scheduled and efficient approach. The collaboration between the shipper, supplier, carrier, and your distribution center can be complex but having a real-time approach can create efficiencies and savings for all parties.
If your 3PL is a single source logistics provider, your 3PL can manage the inbound process for you to their facilities. MILAN’s distribution centers combined with the hundreds of transportation assets and robust freight brokerage division brings efficiency in the process for Shippers.
There are 6 key benefits to your supply chain efficiency by using a Single Source Logistics Provider:
COLLABORATIVE PARTNERS: Shipper, Supplier, Carrier and 3PL Distribution Center all work together and share information to create an efficient process that not only reduces time but costs. Let your 3PL manage this process for you under your guidelines.
REAL TIME COMMUNICATION: Supplier should communicate order readiness (or unreadiness) to carrier to eliminate wait time by carrier and Supplier facility. If your supplier doesn’t have the system capability then let your 3PL Customer Service handle the consistent communication with your vendor to ensure readiness and on-time needs.
BACKHAUL OPTIMIZATION: Each lane must optimally perform so that backhaul opportunities are available for the carrier. The real-time communication encourages optimal performance and asset efficiency. Your 3PL can coordinate between your supplier and carrier to ensure a no penalty environment from the carrier. Should the 3PL be using their own assets and partners, this penalty elimination is more streamlined.
ASSET OPTIMIZATION: Transportation movement is the highest supply chain costs so eliminating wait time, detention and other inefficiencies will improve asset optimization and capacities. Truck capacity is relevant in today’s supply chain. Allowing your 3PL to communicate often with the carriers ensures equipment optimization.
DC DOCK EFFECTIVENESS: Dock management is one key area of complexity for a 3PL. Having carriers arrive on-time for delivery allows continuous movement throughout the dock and facility. If the 3PL is managing the process, they can accommodate the carrier needs and ensure that product is made available to
COST REDUCTION: If the process is efficient then ultimately, the Shipper will see improved costs in their supply chain. Having your 3PL managing this process will protect your budget and eliminate unnecessary waste and costs in your supply chain.
An established inbound program must address compliance and accountability using a detailed Routing Guide that spells out the details associated to performance. This is the roadmap to logistics efficiency and cost effectiveness in the Inbound Program.