6 Ways The Right Partner Can Streamline Your Reverse Logistics Operations
By Jennifer Foxworthy, Triage Partners
Growing economic pressures and supply chain challenges have strained many 3PL providers and OEMs, especially those with smaller operations. Even at large companies, supply chain operations can become bogged down by talent shortages, insufficient bandwidth, and rising costs.
The solution for many of these companies is to partner with an external services provider that can help relieve the pressure. As a third-party resource, these providers can offer support for the company’s internal team through technology enablement, colocation services, or a combination of both. In addition, engaging a service provider like Triage Partners with deep industry expertise can bring differentiated software to the table, which can mean automation of manual tasks, optimizing resources, and integration with your current software stack including warehouse management systems, diagnostic solutions, etc.
The right combination of additional resources and technology can help 3PLs and OEMS realize significant cost savings and operational efficiencies. For example, a leading IT distributor and OEM partner needed support at their Texas facility for reverse logistics operations, including testing and inspection of OEM parts. Leveraging their relationship with Triage Partners not only provided key talent, but also the specialized software needed to automate processes, facilitate reporting, and increase functional bandwidth. This resulted in the company being able to speed up their reverse logistics operations, optimize quality and inspection processes, and reduce overhead.
HIGHER ROI, INCREASED EFFICIENCY
There are several ways an outsourcing provider can work with you to achieve better outcomes across your reverse logistics operations. An ideal partner will help you determine how to deploy the most efficient processes for your operations, finalize workflows, and implement innovative software and technology to match those workflows and work instructions. The goal is to decrease costs by mitigating touches resulting in lower costs, faster turn time, and fewer errors.
What does that look like in real time? Here are six ways you can expect to streamline your supply chain, generate higher ROI, and increase efficiency.
1. MEET URGENT TALENT NEEDS - In the wake of the Great Resignation, many 3PL providers are struggling to hire enough people to fill their talent needs. Sourcing, recruiting, hiring, onboarding, training, and managing new team members requires both money and time, and can leave companies strapped as they try to fill openings quickly. Working with a third-party solutions provider ensures access to a larger pool of talent that can fill gaps in expertise or volume and accelerate both forward and reverse logistics processes. At the same time, the partnership connects you with an experienced workforce that is ready to hit the ground running.
2. BUILD COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE - The other side of the
talent coin is that increasing your access to quality talent also increases your bandwidth and provides flexible operations control. If you have a backlog of orders to process, the right partner can help you move those orders faster and meet the needs of your customers quicker. Whether you need someone to deploy and perform the service or enable your customers to do it themselves through consulting and software modification, outsourcing to a trusted partner builds competitive advantage by supporting your internal team with the resources they need to improve performance, create operational transparency, and manage costs.
3. REDUCE COSTS - Complicated, lengthy processes inevitably drive up costs. The key to reducing those costs is to mitigate touchpoints, streamline processes, and reduce overhead. When working with a solutions partner, you eliminate personnel costs related to talent shortages as well as the costs associated with extended cycle times, transportation, and software needs.
For example, a tier-one mobility and communication equipment provider recently chose to work with Triage Partners to facilitate product staging and equipment configuration. This partnership enabled them to streamline the inspection process, link software to OEM-specific systems, and customize orders to client specifications quickly and cost effectively, with minimal touchpoints.
4. IMPROVE EFFICIENCIES - Whether processing product returns, configuring equipment, or testing and inspecting products, working with a third-party solutions provider makes it possible to automate, standardize, and streamline operations. Because velocity is a key ingredient for an efficient supply chain, decreasing the turn time enables companies to meet demand with less inventory. This results in faster processing times, more efficient reporting, fewer touchpoints, and reduced overhead.
5. SCALE EFFECTIVELY - Flexibility and scalability are critical for 3PL providers, but figuring out how to scale your logistics operations can be difficult, especially if you are expanding into other states. If you work with a solutions partner, you can outsource those tasks to a team of experienced providers who can help you go to market quicker, scale efficiently, ensure state-specific compliance, and ensure successful outcomes. For example, you can take advantage of software solutions and a variable cost model that enables you to adjust costs based on demand as you scale.
6. ENHANCE CUSTOMER SERVICE - Ramping up velocity and efficiency with an external partner helps you get the right product to the right place at the right time. When those things come together, your customers benefit. Enhanced reporting and process optimization improves the customer planning process, including demand planning, inventory management, and fulfillment.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A SOLUTIONS PARTNER
Partnering with a third-party solutions provider solves these issues by giving 3PL providers and OEMs access to talent, SaaS solutions, and bandwidth to get more done in less time. Bringing all workflows and resources under one roof and optimizing them through colocation and software integration enables companies to position their logistics functions as a competitive advantage rather than a cost center. At the same time, they can improve visibility, maintain flexible control, keep costs low and reduce cycle times.
For example, Triage Partners has worked closely with a variety of tier-one 3PL and OEM companies across industries, which allows the company to bring deep insight, highly-skilled talent and tools such as their proprietary WipIT™ SaaS solution to support in-house teams and simplify complex logistics workflows.
Whichever provider you choose, it is critical to ensure they understand your business and have the experience needed to solve the specific challenges you face. Here’s what to look for in a solutions partner you can trust:
● EXPERIENCE AND TRACK RECORD - Does the provider have experience with companies in your industry? Ask for references you can speak to and take time to fact-check the company’s credibility and track record.
● UNDERSTANDING OF BUSINESS PROBLEMS - Does the provider understand the problems unique to your industry? They should demonstrate deep experience and clear knowledge both of your business structure and of the specific challenges inherent to your business model and industry.
● LONGEVITY IN THE MARKET – How long has the company been in business? Companies that have worked with your industry for many years with a stable management team have demonstrated they have the experience, knowledge, and resources to succeed.
● SOFTWARE TOOLS - What SaaS solutions can the provider offer? Can they integrate with your ERP and WMS? How can they help you to gain a competitive edge? Software tools can help you automate and streamline your operations end-to-end, so look for a provider that offers robust technology solutions.
Partnering with the right solutions provider supports your internal team with the talent, technology, and expertise you need to streamline your supply chain operations. Whether you need colocation services to fill a talent gap and provide expertise or you just need a software solution to streamline and automate processes, the right partner can unlock benefits that lead to faster processes and improved ROI.
The Triage Partners team works with 3PLs and OEMs to create modern, agile supply chain solutions that are built for the future. Our WipIT™ software solution is designed to integrate with ERP, WMS and other systems via APIs, providing increased visibility and flexible control throughout your forward and reverse logistics operations. We also offer colocation services to supplement your workforce, fill gaps in expertise, and provide cost efficient, flexible support for your projects.
Contact Jennifer Foxworthy at firstname.lastname@example.org or (775) 846-2917 to see how Triage Partners can simplify your reverse logistics operations.
Jennifer Foxworthy is the Director of Business Development at Triage Partners, LCC for the Integrated Supply Chain division. Jenn has over 25 years experience in the logistics software space with the majority of that time focused on digital transformation
initiatives in reverse logistics. Her passion for innovation and precise attention to detail are important
for the accuracy and success of the solutions Triage
delivers to its customers.