Freight Dynamics' 10 Common 3PL Mistakes
Freight Dynamics, a recognized leader in Freight Shipping, Nationwide Custom Packaging & Crating Services, Fulfillment Services and Warehousing Distribution Services, released a tip list of “what not to do” when considering a 3PL fulfillment service. This is critical information for any business wanting to outsource their warehousing and product fulfillment to a third party provider.
1.) Not sharing any future volume estimates
Sharing targeted volume always gets you better negotiated rates. Negotiate up front before you start any business relationship by providing all the estimated facts you know of such as your freight shipping patterns, how much warehouse Storage you will need, which warehousing services you may utilize, and so on.
2.) Create difficult SKU’s which can be confused
Create easy to use SKU’s (stock keeping units) and descriptions. Example of what not to use: “SF-01-KY-LG-NY-GY”. Instead use LrgGrey107. Abbreviations become redundant and can cause picking errors. Keep it simple.
3.) Not asking them for ideas or feedback
Many times, customers not familiar with kitting, assembly and fulfillment don’t provide the whole picture up front and get charged more for being unorganized. This is what we specialize in and do day in and day out. We are the experts. Tap that free advice. Also – don’t ever be afraid to ask questions! This is your inventory!
4.) Not viewing them as a partner
Your Fulfillment 3PL is a direct extension of your company. Select a company who mirrors your same values and attitudes.
5.) Not sharing requirements up front
Many companies, such as Target, Best Buy, Wal-Mart, and ShopNBC, have very specific casepack and labeling requirements which need to be followed or serious chargebacks can occur. Provide your fulfillment services with this information in full before beginning any projects with large company end users.
6.) Nickel and Diming them on every issue
Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater here. Negotiate on the bigger items such as monthly storage or order fulfillment. Labeling for example requires actual labels, ink, and labor -- it’s a service that needs to be covered.
7.) Use cheap packaging
Your carton packaging says a lot about the quality of your brand. Using 2 ply cartons over 1 ply costs about the same, but provides much better protection in the shipping environment. Also take advantage of having your logo SKU and description printed right on your cartons. Many claims arise when customers use insufficient packaging. Always invest in the best possible custom packaging depending upon the fragility of your product. If it is damaged, there is no doubt you will be reimbursed, and the odds of it getting damaged drop considerably.
8.) Use cheap shipping carriers
This may save a buck or two up front, but it always bites you in the long haul. LTL ‘Break Bulk’ freight shipping carriers handle your shipment many times before its delivered, sometimes resulting in damage to your product. If they don’t honor claims and destroy your product, then what have you saved? Insist on reputable carriers that go direct, not carriers with numerous hubs they consolidate with.
9.) Don’t renegotiate when your business model changes
Many businesses change over the years as a client needs change in an ever changing world. Don’t be reluctant to send your provider an RFP with a few other reputable companies to keep your pricing in check.
10.) Leave out descriptions and reference numbers with new inbound receipts
Remember garbage in equals garbage out. Provide the SKU, description, qty, casepack, number of pallets, and job number for each pallet you send over in an easy to read packing list.
Edited by Kevin Scarpati
Biden establishes Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force
The US government is to establish a new body with the express purpose of addressing imbalances and other supply chain concerns highlighted in a review of the sector, ordered by President Joe Biden shortly after his inauguration.
The Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force will “focus on areas where a mismatch between supply and demand has been evident,” the White House said. The division will be headed up by the Secretaries of Commerce, Transportation, and Agriculture, and will focus on housing construction, transportation, agriculture and food, and semiconductors - a drastic shortage of which has hit some of the US economy’s biggest industries in consumer technology and vehicle manufacturing.
“The Task Force will bring the full capacity of the federal government to address near-term supply/demand mismatches. It will convene stakeholders to diagnose problems and surface solutions - large and small, public or private - that could help alleviate bottlenecks and supply constraints,” the White House said.
In late February, President Biden ordered a 100 day review of the supply chain across the key areas of medicine, raw materials and agriculture, the findings of which were released this week. While the COVID-19 health crisis had a deleterious effect on the nation’s supply chain, the published assessment of findings says the root cause runs much deeper. The review concludes that “decades of underinvestment”, alongside public policy choices that favour quarterly results and short-term solutions, have left the system “fragile”.
In response, the administration aims to address four key issues head on, strengthening its position in health and medicine, sustainable and alternative energy, critical mineral mining and processing, and computer chips.
Support domestic production of critical medicines
- A syndicate of public and private entities will jointly work towards manufacturing and onshoring of essential medical suppliers, beginning with a list of 50-100 “critical drugs” defined by the Food and Drug Administration.
- The consortium will be led by the Department of Health and Human Services, which will commit an initial $60m towards the development of a “novel platform technologies to increase domestic manufacturing capacity for API”.
- The aim is to increase domestic production and reduce the reliance upon global supply chains, particularly with regards to medications in short supply.
Secure an end-to-end domestic supply chain for advanced batteries
- The Department of Energy will publish a ‘National Blueprint for Lithium Batteries’, beginning a 10 year plan to "develop a domestic lithium battery supply chain that combats the climate crisis by creating good-paying clean energy jobs across America”.
- The effort will leverage billions in funding “to finance key strategic areas of development and fill deficits in the domestic supply chain capacity”.
Invest in sustainable domestic and international production and processing of critical minerals
- An interdepartmental group will be established by the Department of Interior to identify sites where critical minerals can be produced and processed within US borders. It will collaborate with businesses, states, tribal nations and stockholders to “expand sustainable, responsible critical minerals production and processing in the United States”.
- The group will also identify where regulations may need to be updated to ensure new mining and processing “meets strong standards”.
Partner with industry, allies, and partners to address semiconductor shortages
- The Department of Commerce will increase its partnership with industry to support further investment in R&D and production of semiconductor chips. The White House says its aim will be to “facilitate information flow between semiconductor producers and suppliers and end-users”, improving transparency and data sharing.
- Enhanced relationships with foreign allies, including Japan and South Korea will also be strengthened with the express proposed of increasing chip output, promoting further investment in the sector and “to promote fair semiconductor chip allocations”.