November 17 2022 | 12 Min Read

Consultancy firms looking for the perfect 3PL, read this first!

Posted By
Matt Tanner
Consultancy firms looking for the perfect 3PL, read this first!
There’s this old story about three blindfolded people being led to an elephant and then asked to describe what it is.
Elephant skin
One reaches out and touches its ear. “It’s a butterfly,” he says. Another touches the trunk and reels back. “You’re delusional,” he cries. “This thing is a snake!” The third traces her finger along the intricate network of creases on the elephant’s wrinkly skin. “You’re both being ridiculous,” she says. “This creature is merely a symbolic representation of the many complex threads of causality that make up my company’s supply chain.”

That story has a million versions, and yes, this version took a particularly self-serving turn, but the moral holds true. You can’t understand something by just touching part of it.

Logistics is one small part of a bigger picture.

We have a theory about why you’re here

So let’s say you’re not just idly browsing this page looking for cool stories about monumental history and missions to Mars, but that you’re here with a purpose. You looked at the brutally direct heading up there at the top of the page and decided that, as a person working for a consultancy firm, you may as well follow our suggestion and read this first.

You see, we’ve been talking about you. Yes, you. Are your ears burning? We’ve talked about what makes a company like yours tick and why IL2000 is particularly well-suited to work with you. And it all gets back to our figurative elephant. But let’s take a step back for a moment. We’d like to share our theory about why you’re reading this page and what you’re looking for.

Group of Four Professional Young Businessmen Having a Meeting at the Table Inside the Office.Right now, you have a multifaceted, dare we say elephantine, challenge on your hands that goes something like this:

  1. You’ve developed an optimization plan for a client, and one small part of that plan relates to logistics.

    Therefore …

  2. … you have a specific supply chain problem you want to solve, and you’re looking for a 3PL with a proven track record solving this particular problem.

    However …

  3. … it’s not that easy. The 3PL you’re looking for must also be a team player. After all, this logistics project is only part of a much bigger strategy with many competing overlapping dimensions.

    Meanwhile …

  4. … you’re working within a budget. This 3PL you seek needs to be able to see the whole financial picture and to be able to make you look good by delivering excellent value for money.

    And on top of all that …

  5. … this project is only one of many your consultancy firm is pursuing. At the back of your mind, you’re on the lookout for a partner who can support your success across multiple projects.

How did we do? Are we close?

Even if only a few of the above apply, we hope you’d agree that the supply chain partner you need is … well … kind of unusual.

Most 3PLs offer a small suite of solutions. They just don’t have the breadth, the flexibility, or even the business model to accommodate the moving pieces you have in play. They’re like the people in our elephant story, who, when presented with something enormous, are only equipped to describe it from a limited frame of experience.

The whole elephant

The ideal 3PL partner for your firm needs to have a handle on the whole dang elephant. Here’s how we deliver that broader perspective.

Supply chain optimization and strategic alignment

The 3PL you’re looking for has to be able to step away from the proverbial elephant. On the one hand, you have a very specific supply chain problem you need a 3PL to help you solve. That problem requires specialized tools, expertise, and insight. On the other hand, that solution is only one part of a much larger and more involved optimization process. In other words, you have a specific problem to solve, but a broader perspective to fit it in.

We are that 3PL.

IL2000 can maintain that broader perspective because we don’t just offer one service. We specialize in delivering end-to-end supply chain optimization encompassing everything from how our clients warehouse and distribute their products, to improved pricing tools, to detailed freight auditing and strategic planning.

Here are some case examples of how we’ve helped clients with flexible, adaptable, and broad-visioned solutions:

Risk analysis

Then there’s risk. From a supply chain standpoint, it isn’t hyperbole to say that risk is pervasive. The last few years have seen supply chains becoming increasingly volatile. So much so that whereas short-term cost savings might have dominated supply chain science as little as five years ago, today, every strategic freight decision must take potential fallout into account.

Drawing from years of industry leadership, our team of supply chain subject matter experts can help you and your client identify, quantify and plan for all those new and emerging risks that lurk just around the corner. Here are some of the tools and resources we draw from to identify potential disruptions before they become a problem:

Customizable tools

Most 3PLs don’t own their transportation management system (TMS); they merely implement a third-party package for clients. This can place a significant additional cost on clients. Some companies will charge a company up to a half-million dollars to implement their TMS solution. Beyond the considerable added cost, a pre-baked TMS solution can lock your client into an inefficient strategy. Most TMS solutions offer little more than cosmetic customizations. In other words, they force your client to figure out how our figurative elephant ticks from one fixed and blinkered perspective.

When your client’s perspective is narrowed that way, your scope to work with them narrows too.

We own our transport management system. IL2000’s supply chain experts (not faceless freelance developers) developed it from the ground up. Owning our TMS and having in-house expertise to customize it means we have deep flexibility in the kinds of solutions we can develop. Moreover, we leverage our in-house team of supply chain analysts to enrich your client’s TMS with targeted business intelligence and round-the-clock support.

Whatever your client needs, we can build it, support its use, and integrate it into other systems and strategies. And, of course, the smoother your client’s operations, the better positioned you are to deliver strong outcomes, satisfied customers and repeat business. We’d also be remiss not to mention that we implement our TMS at no added cost as part of our broader package of solutions.

Keen to learn more about our TMS and how we can adapt it to many different use cases?

Flexibility and reliability

Consultant in meetingUp at the beginning of this blog, we posited the idea that your ideal 3PL is a company that sees the whole elephant – someone who has the expertise and flexibility to tackle supply chain problems from many angles.

Over 20+ years of operation, IL2000 has gained a reputation for helping partners solve tough, seemingly intractable supply chain problems. You can have confidence in IL2000 as a flexible and reliable supply chain partner that can help you deliver great outcomes no matter the logistics challenge.

Let’s name the elephant in the room …

Elephant sitting on branchWe’d love to work with you. There, we said it.

If you’re with a consultancy firm and seeking a 3PL uniquely positioned to observe, catalog, and wrangle the whole elephant, talk to IL2000. We can help you with a broad spectrum of supply chain challenges. With a team composed specifically to deliver end-to-end logistics solutions, we can support your vision with clear thinking, thought partnership, and flexible supply chain management solutions.

Contact us today to schedule a no-obligation supply chain analysis.

Topics: Supply Chain Management, Freight Costs, Core Values

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