05 June 2015
Logistics is a broad term which essentially covers the management of the flow of goods and information at every step from the point of origin through to the consumer. It includes the coordination of supplies, resource management, product handling, packaging, warehousing and transportation. Logistics might not be the most exciting element of most businesses, but it is essential for the success of many companies.
Logistics ensures that all the required raw materials are in place exactly when they are needed, so that products can be completed efficiently. It ensures that the production process is able to operate efficiently despite fluctuations in supply and demand. It means that unforeseen issues have little or no impact on a company’s ability to fulfil orders.
Logistics means that a company is tracking and monitoring orders and resources, which supports quality control, customer satisfaction and business efficiency. It can reduce the time taken for products to reach the customer and can reduce the costs of this process, without compromising on quality standards. This helps companies to gain the competitive edge and build strong customer relations, which in turn can result in increased market share.
Logistics has always been an essential process in every industry but since the rise of the internet and changes in our shopping habits, it has become ever more vital. We now expect to be able to order something at any time of day or night, receive confirmation of our order instantly and receive the goods themselves within a few days or less.
Logistic software and the adoption of automated processes has made it possible to meet these requirements, but it requires considerable investment to not only purchase and maintain, but also regularly update the equipment to keep pace with new technology. For this reason many companies look to outsourcing part or all of the logistics process.
To outsource part or all of the logistics management, you need to find a trustworthy and reliable logistics provider, who will maintain the high standards that you and your customers expect. Like you, they must be capable of handling fluctuations in supply and demand and be focused on solutions rather than problems. With the reputation of your business at stake, you need to feel confident in their professionalism and ability to get the job done.
Third Party Logistics (3PL)
Third Party Logistics is where a company manages part of the process in house, but outsources others to another provider. As an example, they may complete every step through to packaging and engage a 3PL provider for warehousing and transport. This approach means that they don’t have to invest in every aspect of the process and can outsource certain elements to a specialist company.
Fourth Party Logistics (4PL)
Fourth Party Logistics is a comprehensive supply chain solution, which manages the entire logistics process. They will be responsible for overseeing every aspect of the process from origin to consumer. 4PL providers will typically coordinate a number of specialist 3PL companies to ensure the most efficient uses of resources, whilst keeping cost and time implications to a minimum. For more information on 4PL providers visit: http://navigatorsolutions.co.uk/pages/services/4th-party-logistics-provider.php