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Optimize Your Canadian Supply Chain with 3PL Services from Trusted Experts

There are thousands of transportation and warehousing companies in Canada, with each one claiming to have advantages over the others, and all of them competing for your business. However, if you’re going to trust such critical aspects of your business and the satisfaction of your customers to a third-party, you’re most certainly going to want to choose a partner that is a true expert in the field and can deliver on the needs of your business. This is why it’s essential to know exactly what factors go in to making a true expert in the field of third-party logistics (3PL), especially in Canada where there are many unique challenges that must be met. When you choose a partner, you’re going to want to choose wisely.

That’s why we’ve crafted this article. Here, we will explain the multitude of factors that 3PL companies must be able to provide in order to offer a complete range of 3PL services in Canada, and to ensure that your business is able to provide an exceptional customer experience every step of the way. We will examine the wide range of services that fall under the 3PL logistics umbrella, as well as explore many of the critical questions that you should consider when evaluating your options. This is a decision that will impact the effectiveness of your entire supply chain, so choosing the right partner can ensure your company gains and maintains competitive advantage now and in the future.

What services are offered by 3PL companies?

First, it’s important to understand the vast array of services that fall in to the category of third-party logistics. While many companies claim to offer a complete range of 3PL services, very few are able to actually deliver on the true meaning of that statement. Let’s take a look at how these services are generally organized.

Warehousing & Distribution One of the core elements of logistics is the ability to store and organize large volumes of products, materials and supplies as they flow through the various stages of the supply chain. True 3PL experts will have a wide network of warehousing and distribution centers in strategic locations across the country in order to ensure that products are always available in your core markets at the time when you need them. Since Canada is such a massive country, your supply chain operates much more efficiently if you can service distant markets with shorter lead times, and your customers benefit from faster delivery.

3PL warehousing resources are also scalable, meaning that they will be able to accommodate surges in order volume as your company grows or sales cycle ebb and flow throughout the year due to seasonal trends or product releases. This means you avoid the problems associated with overcrowding and under-capacity by maximizing every inch of space.

Transportation Management Of course, to get those products across the country and in the right places at the right time, you need an efficient method of transportation. 3PL companies that possess the best fleet resources are able to move products through the supply chain quickly and efficiently, as well as providing flexibility and adaptability to serve growing markets and remote locations that may be out of reach for other transportation companies.

As with warehousing, 3PL transportation services are scalable and can adjust as your order volumes change. Whether you’re in need of an LTL shipment for a short haul, or multiple full truckloads going coast-to-coast, you can be sure that your expert 3PL partner will be able to meet your transportation demands.

Inventory Management In addition to managing the storage and movement of goods throughout your supply chain, 3PL experts can also provide advanced inventory management services to help further optimize your operations. By tracking and monitoring stock levels, and leveraging automation technologies, 3PL inventory management helps speed up order processing and reduces risk of error, and provides transparency into inefficiencies, saving your business time and money.

Packaging & Fulfilment As products move throughout your facilities and are getting ready to ship, proper packaging is crucial to ensuring that they arrive in perfect condition each and every time. 3PL packaging and fulfilment services provide enhanced consistency and efficiency during these stages of the logistics process, further reducing risk of errors and resulting in shorter turnaround times.

Reverse Logistics & Returns Another critical part of the customer experience is being able to deliver a smooth and problem-free returns process. Time and time again, it’s been proven that customer satisfaction and repeat business are significantly impacted by their experience when things don’t go exactly as planned. When a customer needs to return a product for any reason, 3PL logistics experts will help provide a seamless and simple returns experience. This helps remove friction points from your logistics operations, saves costs, and can have a big effect on customer loyalty.

Customer & Technical Services For many businesses, reaching multiple markets across large distances with effective customer service and technical service solutions is a major obstacle. The ability to provide on-site service no matter where the customer may be is critical and 3PL experts have the resources to make it happen for your business. Handling customer issues and providing technical services may seem like something that should be handled internally, however partnering with the right 3PL expert can alleviate a great deal of pressure you’re your internal resources and actually improve the overall customer experience.

How can I know that a 3PL is a true expert in Canada?

As you can clearly see, there’s a lot more to being a true 3PL services provider than simply warehousing and trucking. There are very few companies in Canada that can accurately claim to be a complete end-to-end 3PL logistics provider, and when your company begins to evaluate the different options in search of the right strategic partner, it’s important to ask the right questions. Consider these questions when evaluating your choices.

“Where is the company headquartered?”

Knowledge of the Canadian market comes from being immersed in it, so a Canadian-based 3PL provider can deliver a lot of advantages.

“Do they have coast-to-coast coverage?”

A location in Toronto and one in Vancouver doesn’t cut it when talking about complete coverage of the entire country. You’re going to need to look for companies with multiple facilities for distribution and transportation in strategic locations throughout Canada.

“Can they handle the complete range of logistics functions?”

For companies looking to grow, you need to know that your 3PL partner can deliver the resources you need every step of the way. For example, you may not need additional resources to manage returns processing today but planning for the future requires a broader view. Look long-term when choosing partners and find the ones that will grow alongside you with a complete range of services.

Conclusion

Once you start asking these questions, you’ll undoubtedly start to realize just how much value 3PL logistics companies can provide to your business. Canada can be a very challenging place for businesses of all types. Partnering with a 3PL expert that knows the market, understands what it takes to streamline your supply chain, and has the resources to make it happen can be the factor that ensures your success.

Choosing a 3PL partner is not a decision to take lightly, so the team here at SCI would like to help by answering any questions that you may have about how 3PL services can help your business.

Contactour team of experts today and let’s start a conversation. We’re looking forward to speaking with you!

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Why More Canadian Businesses are Leveraging 3PL Logistics Services

The global economy is continuing to evolve at a rapid rate, with distant markets now more accessible than ever and the ferocity of competition becoming greater every day. Canadian businesses are experiencing substantial pressure to improve all aspects of their operations in order to remain competitive and gain advantage in these challenging times. To do this, organizations must embrace the reality that there are many opportunities to leverage third-party resources and capabilities to help achieve growth and success within Canada, as well as outside our borders.

One area of any business that presents significant opportunity for improvement is the world of logistics, including:

While many businesses are proficient at most of these tasks, there will inevitably be ways to redesign logistics processes to reduce costs, improve efficiencies, and deliver greater customer satisfaction. By taking a deep-dive in to your logistics operations with the help of a trusted and reputable third-party logistics firm (3PL), you can pinpoint the areas that present the greatest potential ROI by investing in a more effective approach. For many companies, this approach comes in the form of partnering with a 3PL services provider.

There are many advantages that Canadian companies can obtain through 3PL logistics services. For growing businesses that are feeling the stresses of internal resources being stretched thin, 3PL services can provide the relief you need and set the stage for continued growth and expansion in to new markets. Let’s take a look at some of the key advantages that can be seen as a result of leveraging 3PL services, and that are spurring more and more Canadian companies to incorporate them in to their operations.

An Effective Way to Reduce Costs

One of the most common reasons that companies opt to use 3PL services for their logistics instead of internal resources is the reduction of costs and overhead. Owning a fleet of vehicles requires a huge investment of capital, and carries many ongoing costs of operation, including fuel, maintenance, insurance, and licensing. By utilizing 3PL services, your company can free up a large amount of capital and relieve monthly cashflow problems, which can then enable those dollars to be reinvested in other areas of the business, such as product development, customer service, marketing, or human resources.

Flexible and Scalable Warehousing Capacity

Growing companies are all too familiar with the challenges of fixed warehousing capacity. Many times, especially for seasonally-affected businesses, warehouse space alternates between too much and not enough. When warehouse space sits empty and unused, the result is an inefficient use of capital and overhead. When the demand for space exceeds the capacity, the result again is wasted resources as you scramble to rent short-term storage space or end up accumulating overtime hours as employees struggle with cluttered aisles filled with overstock. 3PL services alleviate these problems by providing warehouse capacity that flexes and scales with the demands of your business. That way, when the seasonal rush hits, you can be sure that your business is able to handle the surge effectively.

Improved Customer Satisfaction

Customer satisfaction is absolutely critical to the success and longevity of a business, especially when factoring in how integral logistics is to the customer experience for e-commerce companies. E-commerce businesses live and die by their shipping times, freight costs, and packaging quality. No customer wants to have their order delivered late, damaged, or at a massive cost, so it’s absolutely essential for businesses to take every step to achieve the best possible customer experience. 3PL firms help provide greater consistency in packing and shipping, shorten fulfilment times, speed up delivery, and even handle returns processing to help reduce friction in the customer experience and improve their overall satisfaction with their transactions.

Reach Distant Markets

Another way that Canadian companies are seeing significant advantage through 3PL services is in their ability to reach distant or remote markets, both within Canada and internationally. 3PL firms offer the ability to service every corner of the country, helping grow the area that your company can effectively serve from local, to regional or national, and even international. Canadian companies can greatly benefit from the expertise of a 3PL partner in the areas of customs and border regulations, simplifying the process for you and ensuring smooth transition of goods from country to country. By helping expand the reach of your business, 3PL services can be the catalyst for your company to achieve the next level of success and profitability.

Conclusion

It’s no secret that businesses in Canada are faced with a unique set of challenges. We have a population that is highly concentrated along an international border, an unpredictable climate, aggressive competition, and many other factors that affect how we approach logistics. As your business seeks to continue its growth, it’s essential that you evaluate all opportunities for improvement that present themselves. While logistics operations may not be the most glamourous or high-profile aspects of your business, they are some of the most critical processes affecting the survival of your company.

Having a solid, predictable, and reliable set of logistics resources and processes in place can be the difference between success and failure, so partnering with the right 3PL provider could be the best decision you ever make for your company. When looking for a logistics partner, you’re going to want to evaluate them based on several factors. You’ll want to ensure they have national coverage for warehousing and transportation, as well as in-depth experience, and a well-established reputation. When you commit to a 3PL logistics partner, you’re going to want to be sure your trust is well-placed.

If you have questions about 3PL logistics services and how they can help your business achieve new levels of success, contact the team at SCI today.

Our experienced logistics professionals will help guide you through the different opportunities that exist for your business, and help you make smart choices that will set the stage for future growth.

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