Finding a reliable shipping company is one of the biggest challenges of starting a new business. Bulk orders cannot simply be dropped off at the local post office. More often than not, a company that ships a significant portion of their products must either purchase trucks and hire drivers or contact a third-party logistics provider.
Logistics is a process that was first used on the battlefields of Ancient Greece. It consisted of a series of strategies and techniques designed to ensure the quick and efficient delivery of goods and services to the front lines. This typically included food, weapons, and medical supplies. Because of logistics, the average Greek soldier was better feed, better armed, and healthier than his foes. Battlefield logistics helped Alexander the Great conquer half of the known world.
While still used on the battlefield, modern logistics is not nearly as sanguinary as it was in the past. Most logistics strategies and techniques have been modified to help serve the modern business. Because they do not have the capital to purchase trucks and hire drivers, most new companies that ship goods hire a third-party logistics provider.
What do they do?
It really does depend what you need. Most providers handle all or part of their client’s supply chain management functions. At the very least, they will ship your goods for you. They may also be responsible for warehousing.
Why hire them?
The reason most new business owners fail is because they spread themselves too thin. In business terms, they ignore their core competencies, i.e., the things they do best. Few new owners have the capital or the experience to create their own shipping division that runs like a well-oiled machine. They would need warehouse, a fleet of trucks, and a group of dedicated drivers.
Nine times out of ten, it is much easier and more affordable for them to simply hire a third-party logistics provider. These trained professionals will handle as little or as much of supply chain management functions as needed. This includes
temperature controlled transport.
Most businesses that ships perishable items will need to arrange for temperature controlled transport. This includes companies that ship fresh produce, meats, dairy products, snack foods, and certain beverages. When these products are not
shipped quickly and efficiently they may spoil and the client will refuse to accept them.
To guarantee that perishable items reach the consumer at the peak of freshness, a third-party logistics provider must be on top of his game at every step of the supply chain. Not only must he arrange for temperature controlled transport, but he must also have access to a climate-controlled warehouse. Items that are time-sensitive and have a limited shelf-life must be handled and shipped by trained professionals. Temperature controlled transport is an affordable solution for most new business owners.