Here in Indianapolis, the Month of May is capitalized, as it brings with it a little auto race called the Indy 500 and many related festivities. One of those festivities is the Indy Mini Marathon - which InTek Freight & Logistics staff will be a part of coincidentally enough - and it brings to mind comparisons to the industry in which we work. When addressing the freight and logistics component of a business, it's tempting to jump right in, look for the lowest spot rate and sprint each shipment to the finish line. However, an approach suitable for a marathon (or a mini marathon in Indy's case) is the smarter bet, as a well-functioning shipping operation requires a steady, measured process and the right preparation. Exploding out of the starting gates at top speed may work for a shipment or two, but that strategy will burn a freight and logistics budget and bandwidth, as moving every load as if it's a fire drill is unsustainable. And you may get a nasty case of shin splints, too.
How to approach logistics
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to logistics, but by definition, logistics is a process - as in, planning every step of how products are stored, distributed and transported to their final destination. That means a smart approach to logistics involves taking the time to
- Review (and re-review) supply chain data
- Make a comprehensive plan
- Develop partnerships with multiple suppliers and freight providers
- Invest in freight & logistics technology (including a TMS)
These are just a few steps, but they all require time and investment on behalf of a business. Developing this foundation also makes it easier to pivot and adjust when needed. Without this baseline, you may find your business jumping from one crisis to another without any standard operating procedures to fall back upon. In other words, sprinting ahead then burning out, rather than maintaining a steady pace suitable for a marathon.
So the question is, how do you get the right plans and resources in place to optimize your supply chain when you lack trained (or enough) staff? A third party logistics provider (3PL), also known as a logistics service provider (LSP), can handle many of these details that can be difficult and time-consuming for a business to tackle on its own. A 3PL strategy developed by a provider in concert with its client can also leverage the 3PL's connections in logistics for cost savings, immediate capacity options and more effective delivery. Taking that a step further, going managed - as in, turning over day to day logistics management to the experts at the provider offer a variety of additional benefits.
Here at InTek Freight & Logistics, we can be that solution, helping you develop and optimize a plan, then execute it every day. Just let us know your situation, and we'll follow up quickly to go over your specific needs.
For more about how our team can help, browse our site and visit our Learning Center, to see what we have to offer, and learn more about freight & logistics.