Warehouse Basics Blog

Rising Fuel Costs impact 3PL logistics

Posted by Ken Watkins on Thu, Jan 27, 2011 @ 10:52 AM

 As fuel costs rise the impact is felt throughout the industry a3pl logistiscs, atlanta cross dock, warehousend ultimately the consumer.  Foreign and domestic policies, clean energy initiatives and off shore drilling are potential long term solutions, but the results of those intitiaves will not be felt for years or decades.  The immediate solution is for logistics companies and consumers to adapt to the current issue of rising fuel costs.  Consumers and businesses are paying more attention to where their money is going and fuel costs are certainly at the top of the expense category.  Ultimately the increase in fuel costs will be imbedded in the price of goods purchased by consumers.  Businesses can help offset those increased consumer prices by better managing their supply chain solutions.  Freight carriers have the biggest opportunity to help offset the cost to consumers.  By maintaining equipment, combining partial loads and reducing idle times carriers are able to reduce their fuel costs.   Carriers can also partner with 3PL warehouses to help better utilize their equipment.  Third party warehouses give the carriers an opportunity to max out their LCL loads by giving them a location to cross dock mutliple shipments for local deliveries.  Building a relationship and a network of 3PL warehouses throughout the country provides a quick solution to problems that arise everyday for carriers/drivers.  The fuel savings a carrier can gain by having a quick solution to problems can ultimately lead to less fuel waste and unnecssary expenses that ultimately lead to higher margins for the carrier and reduced costs to consumers.

Tags: third party logistics

Third Party Logistics Solutions

Posted by Ken Watkins on Thu, Sep 30, 2010 @ 10:26 AM

The big buzzword sometimes used by marketing folks in the logistics industry is “flexible warehousing.” For those of you who are new to third party logistics or are still in the discovery phase of outsourcing part or all of the management of your company’s supply chain I thought I would provide a description of the phase and how it can help you.

Flexible Warehousing Many warehousing companies tend to use “flexible warehousing” as a way to describe their main benefit to potential customers. If I were to pick one of the biggest advantages of outsourcing to a third party logistics provider I definitely would say its the flexibility they provide. By flexibility they mean the ability to alter your logistics program to fit your current needs at any moment. By the business quarter, by the month, by season etc.. One disadvantage to companies who run their own distribution centers or network is they don’t always have this kind of flexibility. If your product has a very heavy seasonal inventory build followed by months of very low inventory levels then usually flexible space is going to be the best solution.

Using a 3PL offers flexibility in:

* labor

* storage

* handling

* equipment

* location

By using a flexible “variable cost” solution companies can ramp up inventory during their busy seasons and then bring inventory levels significantly down, or opt to completely cease storage of inventory with a provider for a period and then start building inventory again in peak season. Another term that is also sometimes used is “scalability.”

Source: http://www.logisticslist.com/flexible-warehousing-solutions.html#ixzz111KtLIYO

Tags: third party logistics

Solutions for carriers when a delivery problem occurs

Posted by Ken Watkins on Mon, Aug 30, 2010 @ 04:05 PM

Carriers would all agree that when the wheels are not turning, revenue is not being generated.  The biggest problems facing carriers are distressed loads. Distressed loads can be as small as the driver missed their appointment to as big as the load shifted in transit and the consignee has refused to unload the load.  All of these delays create heart ache for dispatchers and drivers.  In this tough economy delays add up to costly expenses and loss in revenue.

*Refused by consignee                                         **Ready for delivery

distress load, cross dockingcool storage atlanta, distribution services atlanta

The best solution for the dispatcher is that they have a reliable warehouse in the area that can correct the problem.  The warehouse has to be flexible and reliable offering a variety of labor and equipment to complete the work and keep the costs as low as possible.  A great warehouse will ask questions over the phone to determine what the problem is with the load.  If the problem is simply a missed appointment, a great warehouse will charge a fee to handle the product into their warehouse and offer transportation to redeliver the load at the newly scheduled time.  This is usually done as a cross dock service, which elimates the need to charge a storage fee. This service allows the company driver to be on their way to get the next load that is waiting on them.  If the problem is the load has shifted the great warehouse will ask questions over the phone to determine what will be involved.  Once the driver arrives, the warehouse will take pictures and email them to the dispatcher.  The warehouse will then estimate the charges to rework the shifted load and the time to complete so that the dispatcher can make a determination whether to keep the driver on the load or allow the local warehouse to deliver the load.  At the end of the day the warehouse partner you choose should provide a flexible, reliable solution.

                       distressed load, shifted load, atlanta warehouse



Tags: warehousing distribution, warehousing, third party logistics

Customer Service...Why is it so hard to find?

Posted by Ken Watkins on Wed, Aug 25, 2010 @ 11:47 AM

Good customer service is the lifeblood of any business. It is even more important when providing a service, such as third party logistics.  You can offer promotions and slash prices to bring in as many new customers as you want, but unless you can get some of those customers to come back, your business won’t be profitable for long.

Good customer service is all about bringing customers back. And about sending them away happy – happy enough to pass positive feedback about your business along to others, who may then try the product or service you offer for themselves and in their turn become repeat customers.

Here's a collection of inspirational Customer Service Quotes.

To my customer.
I may not have the answer, but I’ll find it.
I may not have the time, but I’ll make it.


If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell 6 friends.
If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends.


The Customer is King.

There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.

Quality in a service or product is not what you put into it.
It is what the client or customer gets out of it.


Do what you do so well that they will
want to see it again and bring their friends.


If we don’t take care of our customers, someone else will.

Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify!


Customers don’t expect you to be perfect.
They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong.


Give trust, and you'll get it double in return

The quality of our work depends on the quality of our people.

One of the deep secrets of life is that all that is really worth doing
is what we do for others.


The goal as a company is to have customer service that is
not just the best, but legendary.


Mistakes are the portals of discovery.

Being on par in terms of price and quality only gets you into the game.
Service wins the game.


People expect good service but few are willing to give it.

Well done is better than well said.

To my customer.
I may not have the answer, but I’ll find it.
I may not have the time, but I’ll make it.


Here is a simple but powerful rule - always give people
more than what they expect to get.


In business you get what you want by giving other people what they want.

You’ll never have a product or price advantage again.
They can be easily duplicated, but a strong customer service culture can’t be copied.


Although your customers won’t love you if you give bad service, your competitors will.

Customer service is not a department, it's an attitude!
UNKNOWN (Submitted by Mandy)

The way to gain a good reputation,
is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.




Tags: warehousing, third party logistics