Tag Archives: 3PL

How a 3PL Can Help You Get Lower Freight Rates

If you are frequently shipping freight, there’s a good chance know what third party-logistics companies do. In fact, 3PL’s can help your business in many ways, and one of those ways is getting lower freight rates for you.

Why is outsourcing so popular?

Outsourcing logistics to a 3PL provider has become more common among many companies, regardless of their size and expertise. Many businesses have chosen to outsource their logistics because of the growing importance of customer experience. People want faster shipping and cheaper delivery costs.

Inventory, warehousing, and logistics costs are constantly rising. Managing logistics becomes costly and complicated for companies to do themselves, so businesses are seeking efficient solutions to save costs on transportation. One of the best ways to cut transportation costs is getting low freight rates on a regular basis. Outsourcing transportation to a 3PL can help companies in many ways and help get you the best rates for your freight.

How can a 3PL get you better freight rates?

An experienced third-party logistics provider has a wide network of carriers and freight brokers with reliable and trusted relationships. This lets a 3PL negotiate exclusive rates for your company. The negotiating process is usually held through a freight broker, who arranges the final shipping cost for a customer.

What are other ways a 3PL can help save transportation costs?

Apart from better freight rates, here are some other benefits of partnering with a 3PL:

Available carrier capacity

One of the primary advantages of third-party logistics providers is that they let you access a wide range of carrier capacity. Regardless of your freight type and volume, an experienced 3PL will always provide you with the required equipment. You don’t have to interact with multiple people and can instead have a single point of contact for anything.

Supply chain management

Usually, a 3PL provides you with a dedicated person or team of experts to manage your company. Apart from freight brokerage, you can also use a 3PL for managing your supply chain. Professional analysts can define gaps in your current supply chain and can help you outline a new strategy. This eliminates waste operations, and, therefore, reduces unnecessary costs.

Custom approach

While you focus on your business, a 3PL should focus on seeking efficient solutions for you. An experienced logistics provider will learn your businesses characteristics and needs so that they can provide you with useful solutions (for example, freight consolidation or shifting to multimodal transportation). Developing a custom approach to your company helps 3PL’s reduce your transportation costs.

Final thoughts

Collaborating with a 3PL can significantly reduce overall transportation spend of your company through competitive freight rates, supply chain management, carrier capacity, and experience in the logistics industry.

Looking for freight quotes? Get one here!

choose a freight shipping company

How To Choose a Freight Company That’s Right For You

The global economy and the entire modern world heavily relies on freight shipping on a daily basis. Everything we eat, wear, use, and work with gets to us through cargo shipping services. A spike in e-commerce growth demands efficient and reliable freight shipping, and it is important to choose a freight shipping company that matches your needs.

Companies all over the world need their products and supplies moved every single day. Just in the U.S. alone, there are almost 6 trillion ton-miles of freight moved annually. There are various options for how businesses manage their transportation. Some of them have in-built logistics departments and run transportation on their own. However, this can be costly, complicated, and lack efficiency. That’s why more and more companies outsource their logistics operations or even their entire supply chain to freight shipping companies. choose a freight shipping company

Once you’ve decided to use professional services for your business transportation needs, the next step is to choose a freight shipping company. Obviously, you want the provider to be experienced, skilled, and match your needs at a fair price. The shipping provider plays a large role in your supply chain, so before setting a partnership with any company, try to research the market and consider a few important traits.

How to choose a freight shipping company?

Industry Experience

Transportation and logistics are complicated industries, saturated with severe competition. If a company has survived on the market and established itself, there is a good chance they are trustworthy and reliable. Pay attention to how many years of experience a logistics provider has. Additionally, look at their expertise field and specialization. The company’s specialty could be what you’ve been searching for!

Freight Services

Essentially, services are what you will need from the freight shipping company in the first place. Clearly define which services you are looking for. Once you’ve determined your needs, look at the shipping providers with expertise in a certain field and service. What companies do they work with? How exactly can they help you? How do they distinguish themselves from competitors? Keep in mind all of these questions during your research.

Carrier Network

It doesn’t matter if you ship cross-country or globally, you want skilled carriers and access to capacity. A wide network of reputable carriers is definitely a ‘must-have’ in a good freight shipping company. Depending on the provider’s primary field, the ratio of carriers can vary. If you ship oversized loads, you would probably benefit from a broad network of flatbed carriers.

Customer Service

Ultimately, when you’ve decided with a few viable options, it’s time to do the final check: customer service. A good company cares about prospects and customers and will help you with your questions. In order to define whether the chosen provider will deliver you a positive customer experience, look at its communication. Whether you’re asking for a freight quote or general consultancy, the reliable shipping company will help you and respond on-time.

Bottom Line

To sum it up, choosing a freight shipping company is an important decision. Therefore, you need to do decent research before making a final choice. Knowing exactly what you need and following the above tips will help you pick a reliable logistics partner.

Freight Shipping with PLS

PLS Logistics Services is one of the country’s leading logistics management services providers. We provide outsourced logistics solutions as well as freight brokerage services. PLS’ transportation network has more than 150,000 trucks represented by 45,000 active carrier partners.

Contact us now with any questions you have!

air freight shipping

Ins and Outs of Air Freight Shipping

The pace of the modern world makes us do everything faster. In the world of freight shipping, the pace is doubled. The higher delivery speed expectations are, the more companies strive to provide next-day shipping. People rely on their shipments arrival all over the globe, and everybody wants their items as soon as possible. One of the most realistic and safe ways to achieve such a quick transit time is air freight shipping.

What are the types of air freight shipping? air freight shipping

Almost everything reaches the destination with a plane: documents, parcels, animals, cars, and more. Air freight moves large volumes of heavy cargo every day. In 2018, commercial airlines carried just under 64 million metric tons of freight worldwide. Depending on the freight type, there are different types of air freight shipping:

  • Air parcel (moved on passenger lines). Shipping cargo on passenger planes is a common practice among airline companies. In most cases, commercial planes handle small shipments and parcels. An average passenger plane can move a freight volume of 2 semi-trailer trucks, apart from the passengers on the board.
  • Dedicated air cargo planes. A cargo aircraft is the most popular way to ship freight across the sky. These planes are constructed to maximize space for freight handling and come in different sizes. The largest cargo airplane can move up to 26,000 cubic feet of large, heavy, and even hazardous freight.
  • Air charter for urgent shipments. When using charter aircraft, you’re confident your freight meets the required deadline and has no transit stops. It’s dedicated just for your needs and essentially is much more expensive than other options. Charters are mainly used for mining and energy industries, movie production, pharmaceutical items, and other urgent shipments.

How does the air freight work?

Depending on your air freight carrier, there can be different ways of arranging air shipping. However, the general scheme looks like this:

  1. Choosing a shipping provider.
  2. Air company or a third party logistics provider registers your shipments and arranges freight pick-up from the facility or warehouse.
  3. Your freight is loaded and taken to the airline, and then loaded on the plane.
  4. After it arrives at the destination, another carrier picks up your freight from the airline and takes it to the final destination.

What are ins and outs of air shipping?

As one of the most commonly used shipping modes, air shipping has many benefits as well as downfalls.

Shipping speed is definitely the most compelling advantage of air shipping. If you need your freight to arrive the next day to another part of the globe, it only can be achieved through air freight shipping. Special relevance of air shipping comes for retail companies that ship consumer packaged goods, fashion, and apparel, medical supplies and equipment, etc. Apart from exclusive delivery speed, air shipping offers shipment safety, large service areas, and fewer disruptions.

On the contrary, the price of air shipping is a huge concern when choosing this option for freight transportation. Essentially, if you want extremely fast and safe delivery, you have to pay for the services accordingly. Parcel shipping on passenger planes is the cheapest option among other aircraft freight moving options, while charter is the most expensive.

Ultimately, air freight shipping is a very beneficial shipping option, if your budget isn’t tight. It suggests secure, fast delivery and covers a wide range of services.

Need a 3PL help? We can help! Contact us now with any questions you have!

How A 3PL Can Benefit An E-Commerce Business

Today, we can buy and sell everything we want online, but one thing still remains the same – items need to reach us. Unlike the traditional method, e-commerce made logistics for retail companies more complicated than it was in the offline era. More and more companies start using 3PL for e-commerce transportation. 

The number of small businesses and retail companies is constantly growing, and the number of customer demands grows even faster. Today, customers define what good service is, and most good customer reviews include fast and smooth shipping experiences.

Here is where third-party logistics providers (or 3PL’s) come to help. 3PL’s are who can help you manage your logistics, warehousing, inventory and load management. In other words, you can fully or partly outsource any transportation needs to a logistics company, and focus on marketing or other parts of your business.

How can you use 3PL for e-commerce business?3PL for ecommerce

  • Supply chain management. A good 3PL can analyze your supply chain, define current gaps and provide solutions to increase efficiency. Also, you can cut unnecessary operational spends with a 3PL and reduce overall spending on logistics.
  • LTL and consolidation. Logistics companies often possess a large carrier network and offer numerous transportation modes. If you are a small company, less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping can be a solution for your time and budget. 3PL also provide consolidation programs to move your goods in the most practical and cost-effective way.
  • Warehousing and inventory. Smooth and consistent order fulfillment is what modern e-commerce companies are looking for. Some 3PL’s can not only manage inbound freight and storage but also take care of your inventory and order fulfillment with the help of their technology and expertise.

Working with a reliable and reputable 3PL can simplify your operational responsibility and enhance your supply chain performance.

Apart from that, here are some comprehensive advantages of outsourcing your logistics to a third-party:

  • Reduce costs, save time. With all the services provided by the 3PL, you can significantly reduce your transportation costs. It also allows you to eliminate manual management and focus on your main competence.
  • Visibility and reporting. Most 3PL providers use transportation management systems (TMS), which lets them efficiently manage every shipment. Technology gives you 360-degree visibility into every operation and assures you keep track of each update.
  • Flexibility. While a 3PL manages your transportation, you stay in control. Regardless of how your transportation needs change with time or demand, a good 3PL can adjust.

To sum it up, working with a reliable third-party logistics provider can benefit e-commerce companies in many ways. From order fulfillment to shipment tracking, a 3PL can provide effective solutions to help your business prosper.

Need logistics help? Contact us now with any questions you have! 

 

3 Main Reasons To Outsource Your Transportation Management

Transportation is a large part of many businesses and occupies a significant piece of their supply chains. Managing such an impactful branch as transportation is complicated, and trusting business to handle your supply chain can be very stressful. To resolve logistics challenges, you can outsource your transportation management.

However, trying to keep all processes organized becomes almost impossible. Especially, when you operate a large company with a complex supply chain. Many businesses think they will save money by running an in-house logistics department, but in most cases, it can be much more stressful than outsourcing. Creating and maintenance of the entire department, investing in a transportation management system is certainly a huge expense and can be a huge burden.

While you may doubt whether outsourcing will benefit you, assigning non-core transportation management is a common practice for both large and small businesses.

Why outsource your transportation management?outsource your transportation management

  • Reduce costs, save time. Firstly, a 3PL simplifies the processes and makes your supply chain consistent, solid and unified. A good third-party logistics provider obtains a wide network of qualified carriers who they work with for years. This ensures you will get lower rates and faster transit times. The company also thinks about ways to optimize your shipments in the most cost-efficient way.
  • Streamlined transportation processes. Integrated systems and technology lets 3PL’s provide complete visibility into loads and freight management. You will get regular reporting and analysis to keep track of your transportation management.
  • No need to buy technology. A reputable 3PL is armed with tech tools such as a robust transportation management system (TMS), tracking tools, etc. While managing all of the transportation processes on your own, you would spend a big part of your budget on a TMS. Using a 3PL you can have management and reporting all in one system with all the needed features.

Ultimately, working with a 3PL can be beneficial both for your budget and operational efficiency. When you outsource your transportation management, it lets you access an enormous network of freight carriers, technology and reports, and all while focusing on your core business.

Learn more about our Outsourced Transportation Management services or contact us now with any questions you have!

How Oil and Gas Companies Can Benefit from 3PL

Unlike any other industry, oil and gas supply chains are incredibly complex. Supplying every operation with heavy equipment, rigs, pipes, and hazardous materials requires extreme organization and strategy. Transporting such materials in such large volume demands using multiple modes, high capacity, special vehicles, and strict regulatory compliance. Therefore, there are many benefits of using a 3PL for oil and gas companies.

outsourcing oil and gas

So, oil and gas supply chains cannot survive any delays, disruptions or poor management. Every mistake and missed deadline can cost a company thousands of dollars. the mismanagement of such global processes can cause worldwide issues because the entire world is highly dependent on energy supplies.

Read How to Optimize Your Oil and Gas Supply Chain

Handling logistics for oil and gas companies by yourself is an expensive and inefficient approach, which often lacks visibility. Since transportation is a large branch of the energy business, it requires tons of time, efforts and enormous responsibility. Just one rig site may involve equipment from 80 different carriers. Also, most of the drilling sites are located in inaccessible areas, it’s hard to imagine the volume of responsibility and costs involved in the process.

That’s why many companies apply customized shipping solutions to their supply chains by outsourcing logistics operations to third-party logistics providers, or 3PLs. Outsourcing offers many benefits to energy companies:

Customized solutions

Finding the right transportation mode and providing necessary equipment is crucial for on-time delivery. 3PLs partner with a wide range of experienced carriers and have a variety of options to offer for your shipping needs. Flatbed trucking, casing and tubing deliveries, rig site delivery, combining transportation modes, warehousing, freight management, and hotshot services – all of these options fall under 3PLs expertise.

Read Do I Need Logistics Help for Mining, Oil & Gas Operations?

Safety

Unlike many other industries, safety is a top priority for the oil and gas sector due to its specific nature. Cutting costs on safety compliance is unacceptable, and 3PLs consider this factor while managing your supply chain. Logistics experts will provide assistance with regulatory compliance and ensure the transportation runs smoothly.

Technology and visibility

Due to its complexity and time-sensitivity, oil and gas logistics operations require increased visibility. Multiple processes mean lots of data that needs to be stored and systematized efficiently. 3PLs leverage advanced transportation management systems (TMS), which give complete visibility into the supply chain and reports at all times.

Read Transportation Management in the Oil & Gas Industry

When choosing a 3PL for oil and gas logistics solutions, consider the experience they have in your sector. While technology and a variety of carriers are important, understanding the specifics of oil and gas industry challenges is a key feature to look for.

Learn more about Oil and Gas shipping services! 

Key Things To Know About Shipping Oversized Loads

Whether you’re shipping equipment, steel items or any other oversized load that is beyond regular shipping services competence, it is considered over-dimensional freight. Shipping such loads may be burdensome and complicated, as freight requires special vehicles, precise control and has to meet delivery deadlines.

What are the measurements of oversized freight?

Navigating the waters of over-dimensional cargo can be tricky, and it’s important to know some essential information before searching for a shipping partner. One of the key aspects you should grasp are the legal limits of oversized freight.

In the U.S., your load is oversized if it exceeds 8 ft 6 in (2.59 m) width, 13 ft 6 in (4.11 m) height, and is more than 48-53 ft in length. However, these measurements are generalized, and every state has its own regulations. You can check the relevant load dimensions here.

What factors should be considered while shipping an oversized load?

Shipping oversized, unusual loads may be challenging. It is important to prepare ahead of time and think through many key points before getting the load on the road:

  • Define your dimensions. As we discussed above, it is important to know what you are going to ship: measurements, weight, and special requirements. Once you’ve determined the load size and your freight class, the next steps should run smoothly.
  • Plan in advance. Shipping heavy hauls may take time and effort, so it’s better to have time for planning. Maybe you will need escorted shipping services, a special vehicle, or other assistance. Once you’re armed with a suitable time frame, the shipping arrangement process becomes less stressful. 
  • Partner with a reliable 3PL. Arranging transportation of oversized freight can cause a lot of stress, expenses and still doesn’t ensure a successful outcome. An experienced shipping partner will execute the most burdensome work, which is obtaining a carrier, negotiating the price, getting permits, providing freight management and expert consulting.
  • Be ready for unpredictable circumstances. Unexpected things can occur during every single shipment, such as weather conditions, hurricanes, driving restrictions, etc. It’s better to reserve some time for unpredictable delays than to think these occurrences won’t happen to you.

Final thoughts

With a well-prepared strategy, reserved amount of time and a dedicated shipping partner, moving oversized freight can be easier than you might imagine. The mentioned practices will help you plan your next oversized shipment efficiently.

Need to ship an oversized load? PLS Logistics Services is here for you. Request a free quote now!

3PL Trends That Are Shaping the Logistics Industry

Third-party logistics providers already make a big impact on the transportation industry today. According to surveys, the amount of 3PLs users is growing and has reached 81 percent for domestic transportation in 2018. There is no surprise that fast and convenient shipping is a must for a company’s success. Demands for delivery rates and customer service rise every day. Therefore, efficient transportation management and awareness of 3PL trends become crucial to stay in the game.

There is a boiling competition between 3PL providers to stay ahead of trends on the market and in the industry. As big players like Amazon set the shipping standards higher and higher, third-party logistics services must apply smart technologies and follow the trends to keep moving forward.

Here are the main 3PL trends that companies should focus on in order to enhance their service and capabilities:

Value-added services and transparency

One of the most influential and enduring trends in 3PLs’ future is effective communication with clients. No business today survives only on a good product or technology — customer service is vital for building brand identity and obtaining loyal partners.

3pl trends

Unorganized and complicated transportation management is reasonably outdated, so transparency and value-added services will become more prevalent in the upcoming years. Free audits, forecasts, list of available services, and freight visibility will increase customers’ confidence level, giving you a primary advantage over the competitors.

Analytics and automation

Year after year, it becomes more relevant and needed, and 3PLs need to invest in new technologies to keep an eye on insights and have more accountability and information for boosting sales. New technology helps bring more consistency to the supply chain, and automation is essential for operating the logistics process. The decrease of labor-intensive tasks and cut of manual work involvement causes faster and more efficient production. 3PLs should utilize technologies that will fill in the current gaps in the chain, from transportation management systems to self-driven vehicles.

Investing in last-mile delivery

We all have to confess that shipping giants like UPS and Amazon are setting the trends for the industry. At this point, they have already developed specialized services for quick and reliable delivery directly to the customer. Last-mile delivery is the final element of the shipping process that leaves a certain impression about the shipping provider in the customer’s mind. Even if someone else failed, you are responsible for the consequences and customers’ experience. Investing in better service and technology to improve the last step of shipping is vital.

There is no doubt that 3PLs are in demand, but this also means an increase in the competition. Technology continues to advance. This means companies integrate their shipping process and supply chains. Ultimately, new trends will come into focus throughout 2019 and into the future.

Learn more about our Outsourced Transportation Management services! 

5 Reasons a Small Business Can Benefit From a 3PL

In the age of Amazon, the only thing that is growing faster than the e-commerce sector is customers’ demands. Once a shipment is scheduled or an item is purchased, the customer is constantly looking for updates on the shipment, no matter if it’s an individual shipper or a large corporation. There is no surprise that companies who provide the fastest and cheapest shipping have a significant advantage over competitors. New technologies are taking over the world, and the world wants you to be as fast and convenient as possible. Companies should consider the services of a 3PL for small business needs.

Customer satisfaction is the main priority for most businesses. Quality and shipment speed is crucial to the customer’s experience and worrying about customer service while managing a whole supply chain is not an easy thing to do. And the cherry on top of it all is, you can’t really maintain everything at the highest level all by yourself.small business front

This is the point where third-party logistics services come in to help save you from a bundle of unwanted work. 3PLs act as the middleman service that takes on all the processes of shipping. They provide all the infrastructure, systems, data and equipment you need to have successful shipments. Building a strong relationship with your 3PL is crucial to a successful supply chain. In a nutshell, you focus on your core specialization while a 3PL provider takes care of your logistics until the last part of the delivery.

Here are the main reasons why using a 3PL for small businesses is beneficial:

It saves you time

If you are a small business owner, you have probably spent a lot of time setting up your businesses shipping to find the right carriers, keep track of all of the paperwork, and handle the freight. This can be very stressful and time consuming for business owners. Outsourcing your company’s logistics can give you more time to focus on your business.

It can save you money

Brokers can provide you with the lowest prices to help save your business money on shipments. Moreover, you just pay for the space and time that you use. For example, less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping allows you to share the truck with other users, but to pay only for space your freight takes up inside of the truck.

It helps ensure customer service

Maintaining the supply chain requires a lot of attention to details. This can cause distractions and may not always bring your customers the positive experience they want to have. When using a 3PL for small business, the provider arranges the cooperation with qualified drivers and carriers, who go through regular reviews, to help ensure your shipments are handled with care and are properly taken care of. Picking the right provider is a good investment for your business.

It provides you with resources

At a first glance, the transportation and shipping process may look like moving an object from A to B. In reality, it’s a complex chain of operations that demand lots of special bulky and pricey equipment. Third-party logistics services save the situation and bring all the needed equipment to complete every single order, no matter how big it is.

It gives you a network

Constantly communicating with all the people involved in the supply chain may be overwhelming. Brokers already have a developed network of professional suppliers and will choose the most relevant to match your requirements.

Ultimately, using a 3PL for small business logistics needs can be beneficial in many ways from cost savings to significant improvements in the entire supply chain flow.

If you are considering outsourcing your logistics, read more about the first steps in outsourcing your businesses transportation management.

4 Tips for a Sustainable Supply Chain

Pressure to push sustainability into the supply chain has significantly increased in recent years. Having a sustainable supply chain is quickly becoming a necessary part of every business model.

By managing and improving economic, social and environmental performance throughout supply chains, companies can cut back on the waste of resources, optimize processes, uncover product innovations, save costs, increase productivity and promote corporate values. Research shows the business case for supply chain sustainability is growing.

Incorporating sustainability into a company’s supply chain can be complex, but the failure to act may be the biggest risk of all. Here are 4 tips for companies to move toward sustainable supply chains:

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1. Map Your Supply Chain

Make sure that you fully understand the unique challenges your company and your suppliers face. Many companies do not have a good understanding of the environmental impacts of their supply chain. A way for companies to get started on being more sustainable is to inventory suppliers, identify the most significant environmental and social challenges they have and prioritize efforts with suppliers.

2. Communicate Expectations

Focusing on sustainability within your supply chain is a great way to communicate corporate values and culture to your suppliers and customers. Establishing and communicating expectations through a supplier code of conduct is a critical step in involving suppliers in your sustainability efforts.

3. Develop Training and Capacity Building Programs

This is an important step in improving sustainability and driving behavioral changes throughout your supply chain. Many external resources are available to support these efforts, and some are tailored to specific sector needs.

4. Join Industry Collaboration

Many companies recognize that complex supply chain challenges cannot be solved by individual efforts and that industry wide collaboration is required. These collaborations help prevent audit fatigue, training redundancy and mountains of paperwork for suppliers working to meet similar requirements from their customers. Working with your industry peers is a great way to share knowledge about the sustainability performance of your suppliers.

Strengthening the industry’s sustainability efforts as a whole, in turn, benefits each company within it individually. The sooner you establish a sustainable supply chain, the better, as the benefits and requirements to do so will only continue to grow as time goes on.

 

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