Today's Manufacturers and 3PLs Need Close Ties
by Max Manikian, on September 6, 2017
Manufacturers are competing on variables such as speed and efficiency today, but there's only so much they can do by improving their own internal processes. The web of contacts and contracts that dominates the 2017 supply chain is its own kind of limiting factor. If these businesses can exchange information seamlessly and quickly, this challenge falls away.
The 3PL Connection
Third-party logistics providers are key allies manufacturers can cultivate relationships with today. As Advanced Manufacturing contributor Doug Farren recently pointed out, 3PLs have carved out their niche in the supply chain, allowing suppliers, manufacturers and middle-market companies to cut down on their spending on logistics. In an era when everything up to and including computing power is sold as a service, it's natural to take this approach to shipping, storage and more.
While successfully harnessing the power of a 3PL is a way for a manufacturing firm to increase its effectiveness and efficiency, this approach brings its own challenges. As Logistics Viewpoints reported, companies within the manufacturing supply chain need to be in constant contact with their partners to ensure they are working within the limitations of the system. Failures of communication could lead to manufacturers signing contracts they are unable to successfully deliver on.
Labeling Access Raises Visibility
One of the most important communication tools in the modern supply chain is a barcode labeling solution, used to ensure items are traceable at every step of production and shipping, from assembling the materials to getting finished items on store shelves.
When manufacturers extend their labeling systems to 3PLs they remove a step - relabeling items for transport purposes - and add consistency. When every partner in a supply chain has its own labeling system, this spawns operational silos and raises the potential for misunderstandings and delays. Conversely, opening barcode labeling up to 3PLs, suppliers and more creates new opportunities for visibility.
For more on supplier labeling check out our report on this topic.