3PL, Finance, Supply ChainMarty Wadle, Senior Vice President of Commercial Solutions, Ruan, 866-782-6669 ext. 1Transportation has often been considered a commodity. Equipment, fuel, software, and wages are all very similar from a cost perspective. A 3PL's culture can be a competitive advantage.Q: Why does culture matter?A: Today, cost is just one of many factors to consider when selecting a 3PL. A low-cost provider may produce short-term savings but will not deliver sustainable efficiencies and the level of service shippers expect. Strategic partnerships that are mutually beneficial stand the test of time and drive waste out of shippers' supply chains.An organization's culture is critically important to attracting talent, creating partnerships, and sustaining outstanding performance. Q: How does cultural alignment produce results?A: Shippers are looking for long-term strategic partners that are culturally aligned. When company cultures mesh, it is difficult to determine if the 3PL team member works for the shipper or the provider. Trusting a 3PL to manage all or a portion of your supply chain is a big decision—and selecting the right culturally aligned partner makes all the difference.A 3PL's team members who are empowered to take actions that positively impact a shipper's supply chain stay engaged in the improvement process. The strategic shipper-3PL relationship is strengthened whenever value is created by providing proactive notification of a late load, producing savings by combining LTL orders into a multi-stop truckload, or eliminating empty miles with a backhaul.Q: Is a cultural connection enough to sustain a business partnership?A: Culture alone won't sustain a shipper-3PL relationship. But having a culture focused on continuous improvement along with the right people, processes, and technology is a formula for success. A flexible 3PL will customize transportation management system (TMS) software to meet the needs of each shipper partner by understanding the intricacies of their unique freight.Implementing a TMS as a shipper can be very time consuming and costly, and there is no guarantee the software will produce expected results. Shippers often don't have in-house expertise and may depend on third-party integrators for future configuration changes and upgrades. The right 3PL has a team solely focused on implementation and integration yet closely aligned with operations.A TMS is a requirement for all 3PLs, but does the 3PL provider bring value with the right people, processes, and platform behind the software? Find a 3PL that has a culture and vision that match your own. If you are successful at that, you will have a long and mutually beneficial partnership.Ruan has expertise in transporting and warehousing goods in every industry—and the right people, processes, and technology to meet your transportation management needs.
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