There are times when every business owner or executive has tackled tasks that are outside of his/her core skillset. That’s how the idiom ‘wearing many hats’ came to be: successful businesspeople must understand many aspects of their business, and must function at a level of proficiency across the board. 

“I understand multitasking all too well,” says John McKenna, President of McKenna Logistics Centres in Mississauga, Ontario. “I do work to achieve some level of knowledge in all facets of my business, but I also know my limitations. It’s then that I look for business functions that may be better served outside the four walls of my warehouse.”

While McKenna turns to outside help when needed, he also understands the other side of the outsourcing equation. His company is a third-party logistics organization (3PL) that handles warehousing, transportation, fulfillment, and other logistics issues for a number of clients. 

“A strong vendor partner can strengthen your ability to deliver for your customers.”

Companies like McKenna’s exist to help customers achieve strategic business goals for inventory management, just-in-time processes, reverse logistics, and even light manufacturing and kitting. They are much more than places to just store your inventory.

How might today’s 3PLs help your business?

1. Strategic partnerships

“When you outsource any function from your business, you want to ensure that doing so adds value,” says Rob Doyle, CWLP, Vice President at Commercial Warehousing in Winter Haven, Florida, and 2015-2016 chairman of the International Warehouse Logistics Association. “A strong vendor partner can strengthen your ability to deliver for your customers.”
Third-party logistics companies focus on enhancements and changes in supply-chain management. They can apply their experience and knowledge to your logistics-related issues – saving you time and money. 

2. Systems

Technology has revolutionized warehousing. Modern warehouse management systems (WMS’s) ensure real-time tracking of your products and give warehouses the ability to sync information and see pertinent information on dashboards. Add to this barcoding, automation, and countless other warehousing innovations, and you can see how warehouse professionals are well-suited to tackle your logistics issues.

3. Staffing

Staffing a warehouse with knowledgeable employees takes massive resources. Outsourcing your warehouse function to a 3PL means that you’ll immediately have employees who are experts in warehousing and fulfillment.

4. Safety

Working around forklifts, in and around trucks, near racking systems, and more means that employees need to be aware of how to mitigate any potential dangers.

“Our employees are trained in the latest safety measures – and our management knows the latest guidelines to ensure we’re in compliance,” Doyle says. This keeps your products safe, too.

5. Seasonality

If the need for your product ebbs and flows with the seasons, an outsourced 3PL allows you to easily expand and contract your warehouse operations.

“We get to know our customers’ needs and timing,” McKenna says. “That way, we can work with them and anticipate what could otherwise become a crunch time. We are set up to add resources when necessary.”