Logistics got its start in the military as a way to deliver equipment and supplies to troops. Its evolution into a “tool of the trade” began in the 1950″s, when complexity dictated that businesses find a way to globalize supply and demand by shipping products via an international supply chain. Fast forward to today, and those complexities still exist. Be it at the point of origin or the point of consumption, management is essential. This means that a solid distribution services plan vital in the global marketplace.
Why are distribution services so important?
According to the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), logistics is the management of inventory, at rest or in motion; the flow of these goods is both forward and in reverse. At times both directive flows are happening simultaneously, as goods are shipped to suppliers and also returned by suppliers.
From procurement to disposal, logistics is what makes the supply chain go around. That being said, there is a misconception when it comes to the planning and management behind that supply chain. Many small business owners believe that a distribution services plan is only necessary when the company has reached a certain size. Yet, even small businesses face the following challenges:
- The struggle to find suppliers and build a network of support for contingencies.
- How to transport their goods to stores around the country and/or around the globe.
- Managing inventory, storage, and warehousing.
- How to handle reverse merchandise when goods are returned or service is refused.
While you may not be dealing with all four logistical fields, distribution services come into the picture no matter your size. If you are dealing with any of the issues listed above, you realize why planning is necessary. In a nutshell, it strengthens your supply chain by eliminating breakdowns, a lack of vendors, and delays. It also protects your business against financial losses. How is that possible? With two words: third-party logistics.
What does a distribution services plan entail?
The distribution process tackles three main questions:
- Where are the products going?
- When do the products need to arrive at their destination?
- How are the products getting to their destination?
On the surface, these questions seem to have pretty simple answers, but add wrenches like: information, transportation, inventory, warehousing, material-handling, packaging, the integration of sub-sectors, motor vehicle repair, and suddenly doing everything in-house just isn”t feasible anymore.
A 3PL Links Logistics Management Specialist can design, build, and run comprehensive supply chain solutions. It all starts with a no-cost analysis of your current distribution services plan. Then our specialists give advice on improvements in product quality control, inventory management, packaging, order processing, the transportation of goods, and materials management and handling.
The goal is to implement a plan that:
- Uses inputs better
- Increases productivity
- Decreases the amount of excess inventory
A plan that ultimately links suppliers, producers, and customers together to streamline the distribution process. Logistics is one of the main functions within a company, and the supply chain is a complex and sometimes fragile global endeavor dependent on a network of independent, yet interconnected, moving parts. It requires professional management. A specialist can take responsibility for your company”s distribution services and take that weight from your shoulders.
Contact a 3PL Links specialist to cut costs, reduce your in-house workload, and stop wasting time and materials. They can execute logistics activities and make it look effortless.