Is Your Logistics Provider a Problem Solver?

With the spotlight pointed directly at the predicted capacity shortage, businesses are looking to ensure that their shipments will not be left behind.  While many businesses are scrambling to lock-in service with a suitable carrier, others may find that the solution may be as easy as a heart-to-heart talk with their current provider.

That’s because a good logistics provider should also be a logistics problem solver.  Rather than just offer scheduled pickups and deliveries, with little room for flexibility, a problem solver will have options at its disposal to meet your specific needs.

In a recent Canadian Transportation & Logistics blog post, Dan Goodwill noted that the issue of delivering solutions had come up at a recent shipper-carrier roundtable he had attended.  “This idea was mentioned by both Heather Felbel, vice president, logistics of Indigo Books & Music, and J.J. Maislin, president of Maisliner, a Quebec-based freight carrier,” Goodwill wrote.  “Shippers are looking for transportation organizations that are problem solvers and can pull together a combination of resources to meet each cluster of customer needs,” he continued.  “Shippers are looking for solutions providers that can provide a range of services and modes, that can offer storage when requested, and that can make available value-added information services as needed.”

So how can your make sure that your logistics carrier is a logistics problem solver?  A few “points of discussion” to consider:

Flexibility:  Does your carrier offer a “one size fits all,” “take it or leave it” approach, or is there a menu of options to choose from to meet your exact needs?

Customized Plans:  Does your carrier understand your business needs and objectives?  Have you worked together to develop a logistics strategy that is specifically designed to meet or exceed those objectives?

Out of the Box Solutions:  Can your provider call on different resources to put together unique logistics plans to address unexpected or “rush” situations?

Contingency Planning:  When the inevitable crisis or SNAFU arises, will your carrier be able to offer a “Plan B” to ensure that your shipments are not delayed?

With 2012’s challenging business climate and transportation shortage on the horizon, it’s more important than ever for a business to have confidence that their logistics provider is also their partner.  A few minutes today to discuss your carrier’s service options could go a long way toward addressing your long-term service needs.