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How Shippers and Logistics Providers Can Keep The Relationship Fresh

The relationship between a shipper and a logistics provider often starts as a transactional process. The shipper has an immediate need, which leads to a Request for Proposal (RFP) or Request for Quote (RFQ) process then ultimately selects a third-party logistics (3PL) supplier to execute on that need. It’s a routine industry practice that can yield immediate and significant results. Unfortunately, the focus on executing the terms of the contract can lead to a danger that the relationship never quite advances to a more strategic level.

At the beginning of any relationship, both parties go through the honeymoon stage. The overall attitudes toward an outsourcing contract tend to be positive at the outset and performance and cost savings results can be achieved. But too often, this is where the relationship becomes stagnant. When you focus just on fulfilling the original need, you judge success based on that incremental approach to yesterday’s problem and stop innovating. But yesterday’s problems are old news.

To thrive in today’s dynamic supply chain environment, it’s critical to continue challenging the status quo and to proactively find ways to drive innovation and optimization. Central to achieving this is a joint commitment to nurture and evolve the shipper-3PL relationship.

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June 14, 2015