Third Party Logistics (3PL) Vs In-house What’s the Right Path For Your Business

Logistics refers to the management of goods flowing between the origin and consumption point in order to meet specific requirements. This process can either break or make e-commerce businesses. For boxes to be correctly delivered to customers on time, exceptional logistic skills are required to meet customers’ expectations.

3PLversesInHouse

Third-Party Logistics Company

Quite a number of start-ups opt for the outsourcing option to fulfill their order through a 3PL company. A third-party company that offers these services manages all the functions in the supply chain on behalf of the consumer. Under the Third-party model, three parties must be involved for a product to reach a customer, i.e., the customer, the manufacturer, and the Third-party firm.

The providers of Third-party firm mainly specialize in warehousing, operation, and transportation services that can be customized and scaled based on the needs of the customers, market conditions and the delivery service, and demand requirements for materials and products. When choosing a third-party provider, it is important to inquire how many locations the firm has to ensure that they can efficiently cover territories with target sales. Also, find out their competitive price, competitors, and area of specialization.

Advantages of a 3PL Firm

Third-party companies have large warehouses with multiple locations from where shipments of products can be done faster. A 3PL allows people to focus on their company’s core competencies and strengths since the handle warehousing, distribution and order fulfillment.

Working with a third-party firm enables customers to scale up or scale down operations as per the volume of an order. Scaling up is useful when a company needs to expand its business into new areas or seasonal and growth periods like the holidays.

Another advantage of a 3PL firm is the availability of accessing a larger resource network that provides fast and high quality as well as volume discounts. The use of a 3PL provider saves on time and the cost of investing in technology, transportation, warehouse storage, and staffing. The 3PL providers are experienced and help companies to cut down on paperwork, audits, and billing. The freight broker from the specialized provider is up to date with the latest technology, software, developments, and techniques in the industry.

Management of In-house Logistics

It is important to ensure that there is enough space to layout paperwork and orders apart from box storage. Setting realistic expectations will guarantee that the customer will be aware of exactly how long it will take for the product to be delivered. Also, customers should be informed if the shipment will be done by a designer or a warehouse. Whenever there is a delay, customers should be updated on the progress. Discounts and dress shipping can also be considered to compensate a screw-up or a customer’s awful shipping experience.

A third-party firm is a great support system for most companies and businesses because it allows them to focus on core competencies. However, it should be a company’s long-term goal to hire specialized company with highly qualified and experienced freight broker to handle their flow of goods from the producer.

Justin Bright – CEO Brighter Logistics

Accessorial Charges That Affect Your LTL Freight Rates

There are many factors that can affect your general LTL shipping rates, accessorial charges are often overlooked and more times than not are one of the main factors.  Having a good working knowledge of what accessorial charges are and how to minimize each of the various occurrences will help reduce your LTL freight costs.  Many of our shippers have never heard of accessorial charges so below I have outlined a few of the most common ones for your review.

Accessorial Charges

Accessorial charges are added services that the transporter of your freight might provide above and beyond the typical shipping and receiving services they provide for a shipment. The fees will more than likely be evaluated and applied after the shipment has been made.  The makes it hard to estimate and account for in your transportation budget. Base rates under the accessorial category are the central portion of all LTL freight costs, accessorial fees can add up quickly, adding up to a substantial rise in your transportation expenses. Here are a few of the most common accessorial charges:

Lift Gate Service

Commercial trucks are specifically designed to be loaded and unloaded using loading docks. When deliveries are made to residential addresses there are no loading docks to quickly unload the truck, therefore a lift gated is used to lower the freight. This is an added expense for the truck, that is where an additional charge is required for use of a lift gate.  if the freight carrier is unaware that a lift gate is needed and they arrive without the required equipment to make the delivery, they will not be able to make the delivery, adding an additional re-delivery charge to your shipment.

Inside Delivery

In most lift gate delivery situations, an inside delivery will be needed. This carries another accessorial charge for inside delivery. It is an extra fee because it involves added equipment (a pallet jack), additional time and in many cases the carrier will need an additional person to help delivery the freight inside.

Restricted Access

Occasionally, the pickup or delivery is slightly more complex offering only limited access to the freight. This can happen with commercial and residential delivery sites. Typically, it’s because the location requires additional time or after hours’ service because they cannot accept deliveries during regular business hours.

Accessorial charges are always negotiable, but need to be considered when negotiating rates with LTL freight brokers into your total shipping cost. When looking to decrease your LTL freight costs, you must keep accessorial rates on your radar and don’t be fooled by low base rates.

To avoid unnecessary accessorial charges always work with a well-established 3PL. They should be able to negotiate rates on accessorial charges as well as the right questions about your shipment to save you the most money as possible.

Justin Bright – CEO Brighter Logistics

Important Factors for an Optimal 3PL Experience

A lot of shippers prefer to first focus on the prices that a 3PL freight broker charges, while at the same time, the price is a matter of concern as most shippers can take this to their advantage and level up, so to speak. SO, how is it that shippers can make improvements to their 3PL experience?

3PL Freight Brokers

Upgrade your Proposal Request

You must ensure that all operational data has been included, and in detail too. This is important for thorough analysis before an informed response can be sent back. Mostly, 3PLs spend thousands in coming up with a response just to lose it. It is for this reason that they may choose to avoid pursuing a project whose proposal doesn’t include the relevant details for an informed proposal. Additionally, accuracy is important and if for any reason a 3PL under prices a project due to inaccurate data, budget and performance are going to be hurt in the process.

Set achievable Expectations

In case your company has been having the same problem year on year, you shouldn’t expect that your problems will immediately incinerate with a 3PL. Even though they are experts, they too will be facing similar challenges as you’d have when trying to fix the issue by yourself. Setting realistic goals and anticipations from the very start and collaboratively working together tends to solve the problem.

Set Terms of Contract Clearly

It is often rumored that the contract can never be an afterthought and most of the times, services, and billing disputes are ruinous to relationships. Indeed, contracts can be daunting not to mention lengthy and they also state precisely what you expect the contract to perform, performance measures and the terms of payment.

Use Resources Available to Manage the relationship

One of the most common failures of companies that use outsourcing is inadequate resources and effort dedicated to communication, management of changes and handing overs as well as performance management. Though it may seem like outsourcing takes away daily motions for logistics execution, it merely adds a need for management in other diverse areas. By working with you person on person, you will be both working towards the benefit of the partnership.

Communicate in regular timeframes sticking to the plan regarding communications matters is imperative and should be with the minimal deviation be it a daily call, monthly meeting or a quarterly gathering, you need to look upon this as a mandatory requirement.

Focus on Important Metrics

The amount of data to be analyzed and reported is virtually endless and there is no good if the data does not lead to gains or improvements in productivity, cuts in cost and the improvement of customer service. First, you need to take a keen look at some key performance indicators which is good, to begin with.

Justin Bright – CEO Brighter Logistics

Brighter Logistics Reviews and Testimonials

Over the past few weeks we have received some kind words from our clients and we want to share these great Brighter Logistics reviews and testimonials in this blog post.

Customer service has been the key to our success and the reason why many of our customers have been with us for years and these testimonials confirm we are on track staying focused on our mission; focusing on the success and growth of small and mid-size companies through unparalleled service, aggressive pricing and one of the most advanced just-in-time delivery systems in the shipping industry.

Brighter Logistics Reviews and Testimonials

Good morning Justin,

My name is C. B. I work at (company left off for privacy). We are very blessed to have found Brighter Logistics for all of our growing business needs. Specifically, Tommy Crank, Lindsay Meatte, and Katie DeSandre. You have quite the team. Each of them has been extremely helpful in some way to us. Tommy has been HUGE for us. Never have I experienced “drop-everything” customer service like this. Minutes after we hang up the phone, Tommy calls back with a solution. He is always on top of things.

If Tommy isn’t available, Katie and Lindsay have quickly and efficiently handled our situations/shipments. Again, they have it solved/situated within minutes. Basically, whenever I call or email y’all, I know that we will be in the best of hands.

I’m a big believer in great work not going unnoticed. I just wanted to inform you of it. We appreciate y’all and can’t wait to see what the future holds for both Over Under and Brighter Logistics!

Have a great Monday!

C.B.


Your team is doing great.

I mostly work with Lindsay and she makes it really easy to book freight.

She answers all my questions, and gives her opinions when I’m stuck on something.

We have no concerns on our end!    –   A.W.


It’s nice doing business with you again and you’ve always been the top 3 service companies I’ve worked or purchased from in my life. I am very serious when I say this and Idk who the other 2 are, but I’m old and that’s a lot of companies to be top 3!   –  L.P.


You guys ROCK as always. Best of all you make me look good to my boss.  R.S


I hope your day is going well and I just wanted to send you an email regarding the customer service at your company.  I know we discussed how great Wendy is along with your staff but I cannot say enough about her and Georgeanne.  When I do business with any company I not only go by price but I go by the customer service because sometimes the headaches become more of a problem than the cost of something.  Everyone makes mistakes and trust me I have made them along with having to learn the industry and when I came aboard it was very fast paced as I started within a month of their busy season.

I am so grateful that Wendy kept calling because when I do make an error I do not have to panic if I need a BOL corrected or a truck rerouted (and that can get costly if the mistake isn’t caught).  Anytime I have needed help all I have to do is call and let them know the story and they take it from there.  It is such a relief knowing I can move on to the next thing at my desk and not have to look back to make sure things were addressed after I called.

Again thank you guys for the excellent customer service!!!!!

J. S.


You guys truly are the best in the industry and I meant that with my heart and soul.  Georgeanne is an absolute pleasure to work with and she fight for us like a junkyard dog.  We are very grateful to have a relationship with your company.  We call Georgeanne our “Super Broker”

N. N.


Thank you so much for your help today. R&L showed up minutes after I got off the phone with you. And that is HUGE! Is there anyway I could get your boss’ email? I’d like to forward some good vibes and compliments to him/her. Y’all are the best in the business. And I believe that hard work and excellent customer service should never go unnoticed!

Again, thank you. You and Tommy have been godsends to us!

C.B.


We are grateful for these amazing testimonials and appreciate all of our clients.

Justin Bright – CEO Brighter Logistics

How Lean Supply Chain Strategies Improve the Competitiveness of Businesses

A lean supply chain helps to build a strong customer base. It also boosts a business’s profitability. A well-formulated flow increases efficiency as wastes get eliminated from the production process. Redundancies are responsible for increased costs of products hence lowered profit margins for the particular organization. Building a formidable supply and logistics management plan is not easy. No, it takes an earnest concerted team effort of various professionals working together to find means and ways to make the most beneficial impact to the customer while also keeping their revenues up.

Lean Supply Chain

How does it work?

According to the experts, there’s no one defined formula to follow when applying a systematic supply and logistics plan. The strategies vary from business to the next but all in all here are some of the salient aspects which get factored into any supply and logistical chain methodology: –

  • Developing an optimized systems perspective
  • Mapping out a value stream information flow
  • Managing your customers demand and volatility trends
  • Developing metrics to streamline the supply chain

Pros of the Strategy

  • Reducing recurrent mistakes ups the returns on investments
  • Adopting a cautious culture leads to reduced accidents at the workplace
  • A lean supply chain ensures that there’s never a shortage in inventory or of raw materials
  • Transparency serves to deter corruption and other forms of malpractices
  • The strategy leads to satisfied customers
  • Process leads to the production of better quality products

Case Study

Let’s say you have company X which specializes in producing high-end clothes and apparel. This American product uses raw materials found in remote parts of Africa or Asia. Company X sets up a processing plant in nearby Mexico owing to high cost of labors and therefore production in the states. The raw material gets transported from its source to the factories where it is then worked on before getting shipped to America where it is transported to retail stores in malls.

Improving Efficiency and Profitability

The company has a non-lean supply flow and this is what it needs to do to gain a better competitive advantage over its peers in the same industry. For starters, they should try to set up a processing plant close to where the raw materials for their finished products come from. Second, company X should strive to set up online stores to sell their wares and stop over relying on the traditional brick-and-stone retail outlets. Additionally, the top management ought to take some time out of their busy schedules to train and enlighten their different suppliers on means and ways to optimize their processes.

Another trick the business can deploy to up their revenues fast would be to avoid flooding the markets with their apparel.

The law of supply and demand dictates that consumers respond better to scarce but quality products on the marketplace. Finally, company X is failing to deliver outstanding results owing to the fact that they most likely don’t have a certified logistics expert working there. These firms should consider hiring such a pro right away to witness tremendous turnaround.

Justin Bright – Brighter Logistics

Your Bill Of Lading And What You Should Know About It

The bill of lading you receive with any shipment is a legal document that you must take quite seriously. The bill is one of the most-misunderstood documents in the business world, and this article explains how the document may be used for your benefit. each step on the list will help you manage your shipping in a better manner. You may learn quite a lot about shipping when you have examined the bill of lading properly.

Freight Broker Bill of Lading

The Manifest

The bill is a document that shows everything in the shipment, and it details all the items, their quantity and how they were shipped. The bill shows the shipping process, and it shares all the customs fees that may be paid. The shipping company compiles the document as it is shipped from one place to another, and it is left with the customer once they have received their shipment.

It Is A Receipt Of Shipment

The bill cannot be received unless the customer has seen their shipment. They may compare the bill to the shipment, and the shipment may be checked if there have been any issues. The shipment that does not match the bill may lead to contacting the company for help, and there are many different people who may need to have more items shipped or replaced if they have received an incomplete shipment.

The Freight Broker Keeps Record Of The Shipment

A freight broker will keep track of the shipments they have sent, and they will hold onto their copy of the bill to ensure they know what was sent to the customer. Customers and shippers may compare notes when a shipment is received, and they will find it quite simple to determine why the two are not the same. There are many instances in which shipments may not be complete, and you must call the shipper to compare the bill to what they sent.

Checking Customs Fees

Checking customs fees is quite important for both parties as they must pay properly before the shipments are sent through. A customs payment is made by the freight company, and they will show the customer how much they owe when the shipment is complete. The bill may show customs fees that must be settled when the customer receives their shipments, and they may start a tab with the freight company when needed.

There are many different ways to send items over freight with a broker, and there are many different things on the bill of lading that must be covered between the shipper and the customer. The customer will learn quite a lot simply by reviewing it. They will show the shipper what has been sent after the fact, and the bill will help the customer know what was shipped. There are many different people who are looking for a better way to track the items they have ordered, and they will notice how simple it is to review the document when they are shipping for business often.

Justin Bright – CEO Brighter Logistics

Supply Chain Best Practices For Going Green

Keeping your supply chain green is a simple process that you may undergo at any time, and you will find that you may make a few choices that will help the environment as you handle logistics. Your company will dive into a supply chain that helps send products and raw materials around the world, and you may go green in a number of areas. This article explains how logistics may be made greener, and you will begin to enjoy the benefits of changing your supply chain to something that you will feel confident in.


Using Natural Gas Vehicles

You may invest in natural gas vehicles that use far less fuel, and they are much better for the planet. You will notice that you may easily invest in new vehicles, or you may use shipping companies that have their own natural gas vehicles. This is a bit like the transit buses that are used in large cities around the world, and each vehicle will be responsible for moving products or raw materials on behalf of your business.

Use Local Suppliers

There are many local suppliers you may use that will ship shorter distances to your facilities, and they will use less fuel. There are many different suppliers you may choose who are close to your location, and they will move short distances to reach you.

Ship Larger Items

You may ship larger shipments to your recipients, and you will send out less products every month. You are paying less for shipping, and you are reducing your carbon footprint simply because you are using less energy to move all your items. You must imagine how many shipments you may reduce your company to, and you will find that reducing the number of shipments will change how much you are spending and using every month.

Plan Better Routes

The environment will begin to change when you choose th most-efficient routes for your drivers. They are willing to drive long distances to serve your company, but they cannot drive the longest distance simply because it seems convenient. You must ensure that you have researched the shortest distances, and you will find it quite easy to choose a route that will save fuel on every trip. The trips will become more and more efficient, and you will notice that you are saving a large amount of money every year when you shorten every route you have. The routes you are using must be altered for the benefit of the driver, and you will calculate how much money you will save in field over the course of that year.

You may create a green logistical plan that will help save money, and you will have a far greener way of approaching your shipping. You may condense your shipments to fewer, and you will save fuel as your routes get shorter. Each step you take to keep your shipping services smaller will have a smaller impact on the planet every year as you move your product.

Justin Bright – CEO Brighter Logistics

10 Questions a Shipper Should Ask a Freight Brokerage Firm

For a shipping company, finding the right freight broker can be the difference between success and failure. To ensure this relationship leads to success, their are a number of questions the shipper needs to ask the freight brokerage firm right from the start. The following are 10 of the most important questions the shipper should before doing business with a freight brokerage firm.


1. May I see a copy of the brokerage authority that you have?

Verifying that the freight broker has the proper legal authority is vital. Make sure that the paper work shows legal authority has been granted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. They are the agency that licenses all transportation intermediaries.

2. How long have you been in operation?

This indicates how much experience and knowledge the company has and lets you know the level of expertise you can expect them to provide in dealing with carriers and customers.

3. Tell me about your dispatch process?

You need a brokers that does more than just fax your load details to carriers. Make sure they have a hands-on approach to the entire process of dealing with your load. They should remain in communication during the process, perform checks and verify on-time loading and delivery.

4. How many employees and offices do you have?

Make sure they have the resources necessary to service your account properly. Even if you primarily deal with regional loads, having a broker that has a presence nationwide ensures you will be covered no matter where your load is headed.

5. What are your pay terms for carriers?

Make sure they pay carriers in a timely manner. Their pay terms also shows their financial strength. Run a credit check on them to ensure they pay on time and in full. If they offer direct deposit and pay load advances for fuel that’s also a good sign.

6. How do you ensure carrier compliance?

Each carrier should be checked to make sure they have the proper insurance, authority, contracts with the providers and CSA Scores. This protects you from lawsuits.

7. To which trade associations do you belong?

Make sure they are Transportation Intermediaries Association members. Look at their Better Business Bureau rating. Only work with a freight broker committed to marketplace ethics.

8. What are the types of services you offer?

Choose a broker that can handle a pallet, a truckload, a rail box, or even an ocean container.  That means you can handle all your shipping needs with one call no matter the mode of transportation you need.

9. May I see references from your shipper and carrier?

Contact their references and ask about both the best and the worst experience they’ve had with the broker.

10. May I see your insurance and surety bond certificates?

Never work with a broker without seeing and verifying they have these certificates. By law all brokers must have a $10,000 surety bond. It provides carriers with protection should a broker not pay the freight charges.

Justin Bright – CEO Brighter Logistics

Brighter Logistics Newest Client Is Turning Shipping Containers Into Homes

Here at Brighter Logistics we have many clients that ship all kinds of different widgets, parts and merchandise across the united states.  But we could not be more excited about our newest client C3 UP and what we will be shipping for them, homes that are made from shipping containers.  C3 UP (a division of C3 Ventures) is currently working on about half a dozen large, metal shipping containers are undergoing modifications to become homes in their facility called C33D and a warehouse C3 UP located in Flint Michigan.

“It’s all part of the culture of what C3 means: Clean air, clean soil, clean water — so are able to make use out of these containers that were just sitting around rotting,” said Chris Williams, president and CEO of C33D.

C3 UP has already completed one storage container home, which was placed in Ferndale, and it’s currently in the beginning stages of building its second home.  The containers, some of which were used only once, were purchased in Detroit and brought back to the warehouse where crews cut holes for windows and doors to be installed.

Gil Opaleski, warehouse operations manager said after that, they’ll paint the outside with a Rhino liner, which is the same material used for pickup truck bed liners. “That’s good for 60 years, and the top of the roof – I mean, it’s better than shingles. You can hit it with a hammer and it won’t dent, it won’t chip or anything,” he said.

Other ideas for containers are also in the works, including creating manufactured park models that are smaller and on wheels with a hitch, as well as apartment complexes, since the containers can be stacked as many as 16 high.

Brighter Logistics will be handing all future transportation needs of C3 UP, from delivering the containers before they are converted into homes as well as delivering them to their dedications where they will be lived in and enjoyed for many years.

Justin Bright – CEO Brighter Logistics

 

Source: www.mlive.com

Overcoming Less-than-truckload (LTL) Shipping Challenges

Transportation of goods and services is one of the most important aspects of any economy. People take for granted whatever they bought will be delivered to them somehow or other. When you go to the store to buy something, that product had to be brought to the store in the first place. But rarely do people think about all that until something goes wrong and they don’t get what they want. Most people don’t know much about trucking or logistics, let alone Less-than-truckload or LTL type of shipping. The simple definition of LTL is, freight that will not fill a large semi-truck trailer. It is a fancy term for the smaller trucks or the little guys in the trucking business. And it is also one of the most challenging parts of the trucking business for, both, the sender and recipient of goods.

The reason why LTL is the weakest link in the freight business is of course because of money. If there is only a small amount of freight, such as one box or pallet, finding an exclusive ride for it is difficult. There are basically only two options in front most senders; wait for the next big truck or hire an entire van to get the job done. However, waiting for the next truck is not an option for time sensitive goods. Now the sender is left with finding a smaller van to send the goods. Most large shipping companies do not even offer LTL services. This leaves you looking for 3rd party vendors. Whatever the method, it is important to follow some basic policies when handling LTL shipping. The following are some ideas.

Insurance is a cost that people tend to overlook when shipping something. Most carriers offer only limited liability coverage. The final rate will be decided by the shipper and there may be times when the insurance does not match the value of what is being shipped. In that scenario, it is a good idea to find out if additional insurance is provided. Peace of mind is not something to be compromised when shipping something important. Next on the list is to find a company that will ship the things, when they say they do. This may seem obvious, but the fact is that small amounts of freight hauling just doesn’t make a freight company as much money as a large amount of freight. That means there is always a chance that the box you are trying to send sits in the back somewhere, unmoved.

All said and done, the dynamics of the freight hauling business is changing. The business is actually shifting more and more towards LTL style of business. The good news is that there are more and more companies stepping up to the plate. With some research and due diligence, it is not that difficult to find a competent LTL.

Justin Bright – CEO Brighter Logistics
Michigan Freight Broker