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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Risks and challenges in the 3PL world

Earlier this year, I spoke with one of the writers from WT100, Gail Dutton (who interviewed John Kelemen last year), and her latest story has come out—focusing on how 3PLs can minimize risks. In the article, Getting Past the Fear Factor, Gail addresses various issues of concern for shippers, ranging from delays and damaged cargo to civil unrest and regulatory changes. More importantly, she covers how 3PLs and transportation providers are helping their customers navigate these issues.

I talked to Gail a lot about how Pilot is helping our clients move into new markets—specifically in Latin America and Europe. We're seeing more and more customers showing interest in Latin America, thanks to the closeness to U.S. markets, and the availability of inexpensive labor. I explained that one of the best tactics in working internationally can be choosing great local partners. These partners are carefully vetted by us, but often have far more expertise on their region than we do, allowing our customers to benefit from that knowledge.

We also spoke about the growing trend of "merge and deliver" services, and how these can really help ensure customer satisfaction. Historically, manufacturing or service companies would ship parts directly to the customer before an install. That led to delays and confusion, as components were invariably misplaced. However, merge and deliver services eliminate that issue by having the different deliveries ship to Pilot sites. Before an installation team is scheduled, Pilot confirms that all the components have arrived at its warehouse, and coordinates their delivery with the installation team and the store.

To read the full story, head over to WT100’s website.