How Asset-Based Logistics Partners Save Time, Money
Supply chains are experiencing something of a renaissance in recent years. The disruptive forces of foreign conflicts, erratic fuel costs and demand for lightning-fast shipping times are driving even small and medium-sized businesses toward more efficient shipping solutions.
Many third-party logistics companies are in a natural position to fill this growing need, making their in-house resources like commercial vehicles, warehouses and integrated technology accessible to companies which may not be in a position to invest in their own supply chain infrastructure.
These are what the industry terms asset-based 3PLs — and they’re an increasingly critical part of the modern shipping ecosystem.
Scaling Up: The Need for Supply Chain Infrastructure
People frequently underestimate the amount of time needed to manage a growing company’s supply chain processes. A small business owner may start out simply packaging products themselves and delivering them to a local dropoff point, but as things scale (and we hope they do!), the complexity of this arrangement grows exponentially.
Soon there are raw materials to acquire at greater volumes, manufacturing processes to manage and a desperate need for additional storage space. Packaging and labeling demand more resources, as does the tricky returns process. Delays anywhere along the line risk losing customers due to inconsistent or impractical wait times, and local or regional disruptions (harsh winter weather, for instance) can threaten an entire operation.
As a business extends its reach, these irritants risk growing into crippling obstacles demanding time and resources to resolve before business can continue. That means less time for product development, marketing efforts, customer acquisition and the full attention a growing operation requires.
Business owners eventually arrive at a crucial decision point: build out their own logistics infrastructure internally, or gain access to one already in place via partnership.
Saving Up: Integrating with an Asset-Based 3PL
This is where asset-based 3PL partners step in. Investing in a full fleet of commercial vehicles, nation-spanning warehousing real estate and the latest transportation management software isn’t generally in a growing company’s budget, whereas collaborating with a 3PL provides access to these resources with the flexibility to scale in either direction, according to shifts in demand.
While the particular in-house resources asset-based logistics partners offer will vary, the good ones will always provide integrated tracking tech (TMS and WMS) to pinpoint your freight’s location and status anywhere along its delivery route. Hybrid 3PLs like First Call will also combine in-house assets with an established network of trusted multi-modal transport options, which afford greater shipping flexibility by diversifying your shipping routes and storage locations.
The ability to identify disruptions and the freedom to act quickly when problems arise are valuable commodities in logistics. Rather than managing countless moving parts across multiple channels to ensure your cargo’s safe delivery, a good logistics partner streamlines operations by keeping fulfillment and delivery processes under one roof, tracked through a single portal and updated through a single point of contact.
Asset-Based Partners in Action: 5 Cost-Saving Perks
From saving on shipping and freight costs to fulfillment center fees and the latest tracking technology systems, the financial benefits of an asset-based 3PL partnership have proven a worthy investment. Here are five specific ways an asset-based 3PL saves businesses money:
- Shipping and Freight Rates: Access to an established shipping network grants better rates with the 3PL’s pre-vetted carriers and suppliers.
- Fulfillment Centers: Between pallet racking, forklifts, conveyor systems, packstations and warehouse labor, in-house fulfillment requires significant investment and offers little flexibility when it comes to your changing storage needs. A 3PL allows your business to expand or contract the storage space it requires through seasonal fluctuations in demand.
- Technology: Partnering with an asset-based 3PL brings your business all the benefits of TMS and WMS tech tools at a fraction of the cost.
- Labor: 3PLs provide their own labor, taking care of overhead costs and benefits as well as securing a sufficient workforce according to seasonal demands.
- Scaling: A 3PL can help businesses scale as needed, without incurring long-term costs or locking in contracts that prove no longer viable as markets fluctuate.
Partnering with an asset-based 3PL is an investment in your company’s long-term success. Scalability, flexibility and cost-savings on rates and essential technology put partners like First Call in an ideal position to aid businesses looking to establish greater shipping capacity and expand their customer base.
Contact our team today for a quote, and learn more about how First Call’s logistics professionals can save you time and money through efficient supply chain management services.
Simplify your Next Shipment with First Call Logistics
Building and managing cost-efficient supply chains is a full-time job. First Call’s rare combination of in-house assets, expert problem-solving and track record of stellar customer service makes us the 3PL of choice for business partners with a wide range of shipping needs.
More Resources for FCL Shippers:
- Article: The Beginning of a New 3PL Partnership
- Article: How Partnering With a 3PL Strengthens Your Supply Chain
- Article: Are 3PLs Cost-Effective?
- Article: Contract vs. Spot Rates: What’s the Difference?
- Article: What’s Going on with Fulfillment by Amazon? (FBA)
- Article: Safeguarding Your Business Against Logistics Fraud
- Article: How to Protect Your Supply Chain from Cargo Theft
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