The Competitive Differentiator for SMBs


Small and mid-sized businesses are no longer at a disadvantage to large corporations when it comes to moving freight. In the past, large businesses had more scale, budget and expertise. But, using the supply chain as a competitive tool, companies, no matter the size, can set the bar high by increasing accuracy, visibility and cost efficiency.

Small and mid-size businesses (SMBs) are defined as companies with 1,000 or fewer employees and/or companies with revenues of $500 million or less. When looking for cost savings, better service, improved performance, visibility and information, SMBs implement technology changes through a 3PL. This partnership can net savings from 5-20% on freight spend. Outsourced transportation management and centralized technology are the keys to savings. A 3PL offers solutions and expertise without having to commit to significant internal investments.

SMBs turn to 3PLs for:

  • Scale
  • Buying power
  • Technology
  • Infrastructure
  • Carrier relationships
  • Expertise
  • Network design and transportation solutions

An Inbound Logistics article points out that many SMBs are forced to pay late delivery fees and chargebacks to retailers because they lack visibility into inventory and product movement. By addressing this issue with technology, companies can allocate inventory more efficiency, meet delivery times and fill rates, plus avoid chargebacks while keeping customers happy. To leverage technology efficiently, the best approach for a SMB is to partner with a 3PL. There is instant access to transportation data that lets companies make more informed decisions, while analyzing costs and detecting trends.

A major advantage for SMBs who partner with a 3PL is that when there are surges in demand, a 3PL has the ability to fulfill the needed capacity and generate performance metrics. Traditionally, SMBs turn to 3PLs to reduce transportation costs, but they continue a partnership based on the reduced inventory and claims, shorter cycle times and insight from technology.

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