As businesses face increasing pressures in their supply chains, 4PL (fourth-party logistics) can help companies achieve new levels of productivity and visibility. By combining processes, technology, transportation and much, much more under one roof, 4PL is highly cost-effective and can instantly improve operational and financial efficiency. In doing so, it can help business owners lower costs and improve supply chain performance. If you own an eCommerce business and still haven’t decided whether your company should partner with a 4PL, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we will be discussing a few of the many reasons your online business should consider using a 4PL. Here are 6 reasons your eCommerce business should consider using a 4PL and how it could help your business. Read on to learn more.
1. Optimize Operations
4PLs offer a wide range of solutions to help businesses operate at maximum efficiency. They oversee all operations within a supply chain, regardless of who is moving your cargo. This means that, if you are using multiple logistics services, the 4PL manages them all, along with the services that they themselves provide.
The same goes for online sellers who sell on multiple marketplaces or eCommerce platforms. Through a 4PL like Floship, you can manage all your order fulfillment from within one and the same dashboard, regardless of the number of platforms you’re selling on.
A 4PL acts as a single point of contact that simplifies your operations. By taking care of everything from purchase order management and warehousing to customs compliance and carrier allocation, they free up more time for you to focus on other aspects of your business, such as driving more sales. Instead of having to worry about how to store your items and get them from Point A to Point B, you can devote your attention to product development, marketing, etc.
2. Access to Powerful Technology
4PLs have access to powerful, comprehensive technology platforms that enable them to provide solutions to run their clients’ businesses efficiently. When a business sets up a core technology
system, it typically focuses primarily on the operational and financial aspects of running the company. It usually doesn’t have powerful features for managing logistics and transportation
By partnering with a 4PL, you will receive the benefits of having your transportation and logistics functions managed by powerful technology platforms designed specifically for that purpose. Rather than purchasing a system for your business and hoping that it will do everything you need, work with a 4PL to ensure that all of the vital functions of running your company are
3. Vendor Management
For many business owners, the management of multiple vendors is a major pain point. Working with a 4PL will eliminate this issue by managing all of your vendors for you. A 4PL with work
with vendors needed in all states of the supply chain, including procurement, transportation, warehousing, IT and distribution. From ensuring that you have the necessary packing materials to making sure your shipments make it into the right hands in a fast, efficient manner, your 4PL will work with all of the vendors involved in making it happen. A 4PL gets involved in the beginning stages of vendor evaluation and onboarding, which ensures that the appropriate systems, metrics and processes are implemented with each vendor from the beginning. If you’ve ever wondered how much more productive you could be if you didn’t have to worry about dealing with vendors, working with a 4PL could make that a possibility.
4. Data-Driven Analytics and Insights
Because a 4PL keeps track of all of your supply chain information, it can be a powerful tool for turning raw data into business intelligence. With customizable reporting and KPIs, you can monitor things like service levels, staffing costs and more. This allows you to increase value throughout the supply chain.
A good 4PL also keeps your important data secure. As a business, you may not have the time or financial resources to keep up with all of the latest cybersecurity threats. However, 4PLs constantly invest in their systems to make them more secure and ensure that their clients’ data is protected. And if disaster does strike, the 4PL is the one who will have to deal with the fallout and make things right.
5. End-to-End Supply Chain Visibility
Supply chain visibility is a major concern for many business owners. Unfortunately, though, many current platforms are unable to deliver the degree of visibility that organizations demand. As a result, many supply chain executives are seeking new technology to invest in new systems that better meet their needs.
Rather than trying to invest in new technology on your own, a 4PL can help you create and implement cloud-based systems that gather data from numerous external and internal sources. Once up and running, this type of solution provides valuable insight into all parts of the supply chain. This type of end-to-end supply chain visibility makes knowing where your shipping containers are at all times possible and can help you provide better customer service.
6. Access to a Team of Supply Chain Experts
One of the best things about working with a 4PL is that you gain access to a team of supply chain experts. These companies are made up of experienced logistics professionals who have the knowledge to find solutions to any logistics-related problem. They also possess a vast wealth of knowledge and expertise regarding the industry and its segments, regulations and more. They can help you avoid potentially costly mistakes, and they will be there to answer questions and address any concerns you may have.
Take Your Business to the Next Level with 4PL
If you are a business owner, there are a lot of great reasons your business should consider using a 4PL. The ones listed above are just a few of the many benefits of outsourcing all of your logistics functions. If you are still on the fence, schedule a meeting with a 4PL to talk about your needs and the types of solutions they can provide for your company.
Cory Levins serves as the Director of Business Development for Air Sea Containers. Cory oversees the development and implementation of ASC’s internal and external marketing program, driving revenue and profits from the Miami FL headquarters.