3PL Chicago – BFC Print, Fulfillment & Technology – 1051 North Kirk Road – Batavia IL – Call 630-879-9240
It can be a challenge for an Illinois business to determine whether it needs a 3PL (third party logistics) provider or a 4PL logistics provider to maximize supply chain opportunities. Making a faulty choice can wind up costing a lot and negatively affect your customer care results — so you’ll certainly want to make the right decision.
Read on for some helpful information on a few key differences between 3PL Chicago and 4PL and how these effective solutions can help provide support to your supply chain strategies.
In a 3PL Chicago model, a business maintains managerial oversight, while also outsourcing operations of logistics and transportation to a provider who might in some cases subcontract out a part or even all of the process. Other services might be involved like packaging, crating and boxing to add extra value to supply chains.
With regards to a 4PL model, a business may outsources management of its logistics along with the execution throughout the supply chain. A 4PL provider often providers more insight on strategy and management of the company’s supply chain. A manufacturer will utilize a 4PL to basically outsource its whole logistical operations. For example, a 4PL might manage communications with a farmer in order to increase egg production if inventory at a grocery store is declining.
“Third-party logistics provider” is a term that’s been in the lexicon for many years. It essentially refers to a third party that is involved in the logistics operations of a company, along with the shipper, receiver and carrier.
A 3PL Chicago does not take over the title of ownership of the products slated for shipment.
The third party’s role is as a manager or an intermediary between the other parties. Historically, early 3PLs were a form of intermodal marketing firm that received loads from shippers and then tendered them to the railroads, serving as a third party on the contract in between the shippers and the carriers.
Today, any business that provides some version of logistical services is known as a 3PL Chicago. This can include streamlining the movement of materials and components from a supplier to a manufacturer in addition to final products from manufacturers to the distributor and retail outlets.
A 3PL Chicago might or might not possess its own assets, like trucks or storage facilities. In some scenarios, the role of a 3PL Chicago may overlap with a broker.
Typically, though, a broker engages in a trucking capacity for a particular shipment. The third party logistics provider may serve as a broker or utilize other brokers to ship freight for their clients.
Most 3PLs offer a range of integrated supply chain-related services, such as:
- -Warehousing and transportation.
- -Management of inventory.
- -Freight forwarding.
A 3PL may scale and tailor their services to fulfill the needs of their customers based upon what they need to ship, store and provide materials and products.
Companies depend upon 3PLs if their supply chain simply becomes too complicated to manage efficiently. For instance, a company might expand through a merger. Consequently, a supply chain that once was generally manageable outgrows in-house capabilities.
The 3PL provides expertise gained from serving multiple customers across various industries. Also, they offer technological solutions along with warehousing systems and transportation solutions beyond what shippers could likely afford to spend independently. A lasting relationships with a carrier may result in more affordable pricing and efficient services during times when capacity comes at a premium. Lower prices can result from economy of scale on anything from packaging tape to shipping rates.
For those industries facing supply chain requirements that can get complicated, 3PL Chicago offers solutions that help transform obstacles into advantages. For example, in the medical devices industry, high visibility and value-added delivering procedures are always a high priority. To comply with regulatory practices, it’s important to track medical devices throughout each step with a verifiable, dependable chain of custody. This ability calls for complex technological solutions that are able to monitor inventory across many carriers and locations to ensure individual tracking and tracing of devices as needed.
Medical device shipments rely upon 3PL Chicago for services that are beyond just dropping off a few boxes on a loading dock. Clients are searching for reliable deliveries to end-user departments, on-location inventorying, repairs, returns and other relatively minor but still important steps in customer care.
A 3PL Chicago can assist a medical device business develop efficient systems that optimize deliveries from a distribution center to individual sites. Instead of delivering a few items in multiple shipments, a 3PL Chicago can establish the visibility to combine deliveries to lower costs considerably. A 3PL Chicago can also manage expedited shipping to meet just-in-time deliveries for valuable items.
Increasing visibility and transparency into inventories as well as reverse logistics can help reduce the need to do physical auditing.
3PL and the Retail Sector
Thanks to the enormous effect of Amazon, customers these days tend to expect products to be readily accessible in-store or online. After all, if you’re able to receive just about any type of item from Amazon within a couple days or even sooner, customers are not likely to understand if they cannot receive an item from another shippers in a comparable time frame. A 3PL can help you create a strategy that improves supply chain practices to remain competitive.
3PL Chicago Kitting Utilizing Build of Materials (BOM)
BFC provides exceptional kitting solutions for multiple clients across many different industries. Our experience in the fulfillment of welcome kits, for example, includes:
- -Customer enrollment.
- -Education and training programs.
- -VIP entertainment content.
- -Displays at point of sales.
- -Sales samplers.
BFC can power your brand to greater success.
Build of Materials (BOM)
In order to enable our efficient kitting fulfillment, the BFC team implemented an integrated Build of Materials to manage the whole process. The BOM is essentially a module that is within the product management portal. It serves to create, organize, set definitions and provide management of all kits and related items. The module enables the system to handle detail items specs and relationships with additional items.
The BOM functions as a common information source for all kit builds that power the fulfillment. It’s possible to build kits using several individual items, raw materials, item bundles or completed products. Consequently, this enables our customers to mix and match various assemblies in one centralized location. The BOM constructs the playbook on every kit as well as how to put together each individual item or component.
Another significant aspect of the BOM is the capability to manage your on-demand, stock and other assembled items from a single application. Seeing all items in one location allows for accuracy in inventory supplies and ensures each kits can be assembled for any particular order. It’s simple to assess the kits build of materials and list out each component needed for each.
Certainly, productivity output and reporting are a critical feature when it comes to BOM. The systems give a daily processing report that displays the location and status of every item within each kit. Also, we report on all the day-to-day activities and mailings to monitor shipping and delivery costs.