What does that actually mean?
“Click here to request our no-obligation supply chain analysis.”
We use that phrase a lot! Pick one of our blogs at random, scroll down to the final paragraph and, sure as onions, there it’ll be: an invitation to pull the trigger on a no-obligation and no-commitment analysis.
Now, we’re no ninnies — and neither are you. We know what a lot of you are thinking when you read that little message. You’ll probably be thinking something along the lines of, “Oh that’s some free white paper or marketing discovery call they offer. Whoopdee doo.” And that’s a fair assumption. After all, the free information schtick is a strategy many 3PLs pull straight from the marketing 101 rule book. Why wouldn’t IL2000 be just the same? But our supply chain analysis is not the squalid equivalent of a prototypical 50’s era encyclopedia salesperson’s ploy to get their spit-polished business loafers in your company’s front door.
You’re at the beginning of blog one of a two-part series that places a magnifying glass over IL2000’s supply chain analysis.
- In this first blog, we’ll walk you through what our supply chain analysis entails, what you get from the process, and how our analysis can transform your freight operation.
- In part two (coming soon), we’ll explain why we’re able to offer hundreds of hours of critical supply chain analysis at zero cost and zero risk to you.
Our goal? To prove to you that the supply chain analysis we link out to at the end of every blog post goes way deeper than mere marketing. On the contrary, it’s at the sharp and pointy end of what makes IL2000 unique as a 3PL.
Supply chain analysis: A process overview
Let’s get the ball rolling with a quick overview of what IL2000’s supply chain analysis process looks like. Hmm, where to begin? It’s probably best that we give you a point of comparison by first describing a “standard” 3PL onboarding approach.
So let’s say you picked up the phone and didn’t call us, instead reaching out to one of the many prototypical 3PL firms speckling the United States. What would happen next?
The standard 3PL onboarding approach
The customer journey a bog-standard 3PL will shunt you along will go something like this:
- You’ll get an email and a call: “Welcome! We’re the best. We look forward to working with you. Yada yada, and perhaps I might venture to add an additional yada. Yours cordially, salesperson on a commission.”
- You’ll get a ton of in-house reading material. Some of it might appear quasi-useful if you squint at it sideways in a low-lit room. Most of it will be the usual logistics gurge.
- Then they’ll request some of your freight data. After a few days, Acme 3PL inc will come back to you with a (g)estimate of how much money they can save you on freight.
The description above is a generalization and, yes, a smidge snarky — writing in December on decaf will do that. But broadly speaking, this is the typical level of detail and engagement you’ll get from any garden variety 3PL discovery interaction. If you want to corroborate that this is indeed how most 3PLs operate, the evidence is right there at your fingertips. Simply reach out to one and express an interest in talking to them.
Watch what happens next.
Setting communicative slapdashery aside, however, here’s a crucial point to remember about the standard 3PL discovery process.
That figure you get at the end of that little exchange? It’s a guesstimate. It’s based on a quick skim of the frothy topmost layer of your freight data, and absolutely nothing about that number is remotely binding.
This is key.
Stick a pin in that.
The IL2000 supply chain analysis approach
Now, let’s flip the coin over and look at the IL2000 approach to walking a potential customer through our supply chain analysis. We never rush through this, and often spend several months on the analysis and consultation portion before we even begin to execute the plan.
Oh, and it’s important to stress up-front that none of this initial time outlay from IL2000 will cost you a bean, nor will it commit you to spending future beans. The marketing manuals tell us never to use the word “free,” so instead, we’ll describe it as a bean-free interaction — a BFI if you will.
Data collection and analysis
First, we’ll collect 90 days' worth of shipping activity from you. Got that in a spreadsheet or an existing TMS? Great! But if all you have are shipping receipts, we can work with that too. And yes, we’ll sign an NDA, and your cybersecurity team can talk to our cybersecurity team about how we can draw from best cybersecurity practices to protect your data’s privacy and confidentiality.
Our experts will then analyze your shipping in minute detail. But “our experts” could mean anything, so let’s pad that out a little. We’re an expertise-focused company. We maintain a team of supply chain veterans across every corner of the logistics industry. This includes:
As a company, we combine our people’s knowledge to wield a profoundly comprehensive understanding of how freight works, how to optimize supply chains, and how to harness supply chains to maximize company profitability and growth potential. To clarify then, by “our experts,” we mean people who’ve been analyzing a niche component of the logistics industry for decades — people with an intricate and battle-tested understanding of why supply chains fail and how to prevent that from happening.
So you’ve got this bright beam of industry-leading expertise, and it’s narrowed down with laser focus on three months of your supply chain’s activities. Putting the data in our hands gives you access to supply chain insights you could only obtain from a cross-sectoral team.
Sometimes the opportunities we’ll identify for you are nifty. Sometimes they’re surprisingly piquant and/or germane. Sometimes, though, the insight we’ll place in front of you will be completely transformative.
And again, remember that this is all BFI (aka free).
A transportation optimization plan
Your deep-dive analysis is bubbling away deep in the capacious brain tank of IL2000’s virtual HQ. What are you doing at that time? (Because, yes, this process requires some time outlay from your side also.)
Well, your team will be talking with us. During that intensive period of analysis, our people will reach out to your people with questions. IL2000 experts assigned to your company will be reaching out to your people with a series of short interviews. And to be clear, we’re not just referring to your supply chain team here. We’ll be talking with stakeholders across your whole organization about how your company’s supply chain affects their daily work.
- We’ll talk to your accounts payable team about how your freight bills are coming in. Could it be done better? How can we consolidate billing to send a booster shot of efficiency through your financial management? What does your audit process look like? What if we told you we could audit all your freight transactions for financial irregularities?
- We’ll have a conversation with your customer service team about delivery dispute resolution. How about integrating more accurate tools for pricing out shipping? We’ll talk about shipment tracking and offer suggestions on how to keep customers happy and improve repeat business.
- Let’s take a look at your inbound shipments while we’re at it. We’ll talk to your procurement team about your production line, and whether new approaches and pricing models might help your vendors successfully rise to your inbound supply chain challenges.
Through a series of overlapping fact-finding missions, we’ll build a comprehensive transportation optimization plan for your company, one that addresses the full complexity of ways transportation can impact your business.
You’ll end up with a refined action plan, and a clear idea of how a radically responsive 3PL like IL2000 can bust apart all those obstacles that hamper the cost-efficiency of your supply chain operation.
A real projection of actual freight savings
Flash forward a few months to the end of our in-depth analysis.
At the end of that process, you’ll receive a number from us, for your consideration. This will be a clear dollar figure, written in black and white: An exact dollar projection of how much we can save you on freight.
You’ll recall we asked you to stick a pin in the conventional 3PL approach, which we can boil down to a quick overview of the top skim of your freight transactions followed by a rough estimate.
Compare that to IL2000’s approach, neatly summarized below by Greg Brown, our Director of LTL Pricing and Revenue Management.
Greg talks about precision – the absolute thoroughness of our data-gathering process.
IL2000’s projection of your freight savings will be based on hundreds of hours of analysis. It’ll be broken down by region and shipping lane. We’ll disaggregate by inbound and outbound, and a grab bag of other variables unique to your business model.
That projection is a number we will sign our name against. If you choose to work with IL2000, you’ll get a guarantee of those savings hard-baked into our contract. These are freight savings you can bank on.
What’s at stake? (Hint: it ain’t stake knives.)
Here endeth part one of our in-depth blogular foray into what IL2000 means when we talk about supply chain analysis. So, what’s at stake when your company is deciding to take the plunge and begin a relationship with IL2000?
Here are a few key take-home points:
- This analysis is a major undertaking for us, throughout which a team of veteran supply chain experts invests hundreds of hours dissecting your freight operation and analyzing how your supply chain touches your daily business operations.
- You get a freight savings dollar figure we’re willing to guarantee in writing. We’re able to offer you something other 3PLs can’t: an absolute forecast of how much money you’ll save.
- What you get at the end of this process goes far deeper than a simple freight savings figure. You gain a transportation optimization plan that unlocks a wide swathe of efficiency gains across your company.
In the next blog post, we’ll directly answer the question we’re asked by every interested prospect at the beginning of their journey with us: How can all this be free?
In the meantime, you can cut to the chase and experience our tried and true supply chain analysis process firsthand. Go a step further with IL2000. Talk to us today.