If you are to survive, let alone thrive in a cutthroat commercial environment, then you have to make sure that you streamline your processes and enhance relationships with all of your suppliers. Consumers are more demanding than ever and will want access to your product as soon as humanly possible, or they will consider other options, and consequently, you've got to fine-tune your logistical operation. How can you improve your approach so that you can work more effectively with your third-party logistics provider?
To begin with, you need to choose a partner that can be as flexible as you. This is a two-way street, and if you want them to ramp up or ramp down their support in accordance with your production cycle, you've got to give them a good reason to engage.
This means that you need to be as open as you can and bring them into the conversation at every stage. This will help to build a long-term relationship that will survive the test of time and, crucially, be still around despite a downward market cycle.
You will, of course, want to ensure that you are buying your services at the best price and should keep a close eye on this moving forward. While you may want to maintain an existing relationship, you've still got to focus on your bottom line and may need to put your services out to bid in any case. Just make sure that you are very clear about your intention and don't "spring" this onto your existing logistics provider. Also, keep those bidding rounds to a bare minimum as this can elongate the process unnecessarily and cause tension among your suppliers. If you have a multi-bid strategy and this is common knowledge, then the supplier will hold their best price back until the end anyway.
Reach out to your provider to help you streamline your process. You may have a number of inefficiencies in your network, and they may well be able to help you. Make sure that they have access to all of your data through the various electronic logging devices and work with your provider to improve your approach.
You may produce the best product in your marketplace, but if you don't get it to your client according to a strict time schedule, you're likely to fail. Take time to work on your relationship with your third-party logistics provider.