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Year in Review: How a 3PL Helps You Learn from Successes and Challenges

"Hindsight is 20/20" goes the old saying. And it's true! The rearview mirror is always a more accurate instructor than the crystal ball. The power of looking back and learning from both your successes and your challenges is definitely applicable to your business shipping, and especially vital as the end of the year approaches.

Even amid the hustle of the peak holiday shipping season, successful  small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) will carve out the time to take a look at the preceding 12 months and do a sometimes eye-opening  but always valuable self-evaluation. The lessons learned from a year-end review, both positive and negative, can inform your decision-making in the coming year, allowing you to avoid previous pitfalls and lean into your wins.

The best way to unlock the full potential of your annual review is to partner with a third-party logistics provider (3PL) with the experience, expertise and resources to give you the actionable insights you need.

Here are some of the ways conducting a year-end review with the right 3PL will set you up for success in the months to come.

Finding opportunities in challenges

Failures and setbacks can often be the best teachers, though usually not the most fun ones. By identifying areas for improvement, you'll unearth opportunities for shipping solutions that will save you time, stress and money.

Through an exhaustive shipping operations review with a 3PL, you could:

  • Identify areas where your business is overpaying on shipping costs and where you can improve your ROI
  • Learn about patterns in shipment losses or damage that are costing you money and time through claims
  • Discover industry trends that are disrupting your shipping operations and learn how to account for them in your planning
  • Investigate gaps in your e-commerce strategy and platform, including areas of opportunity in your returns and reverse logistics processes
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of your supply chain and identify critical shortcomings that are impacting your bottom line

Experienced 3PL companies have seen these and many other shipping challenges many times before and can help you uncover and address them. The right 3PL will also discern your SMB's unique issues that could be holding you back and can help you formulate tactics and strategies to overcome them.

Celebrating and building on successes

Along with revealing any inefficiencies in your shipping operations, your year-end review will also shine a light on where you're succeeding. Conducting your year-end review with your 3PL partner can help you:

  • Identify people that are contributing to your SMB's success so that they can be recognized and rewarded
  • Confirm which operational processes that are functioning well and should be retained, refined and expanded
  • See areas of your shipping services, such as delivery options and speeds, that are the most profitable and efficient
  • Discover which customers are earning your business the most money so that you can devise ways to further enhance the relationship and its profitability

SMBs can tend to focus on the negative issues and problems when they conduct year-end reviews, but as you can see, having a 3PL help you celebrate and perpetuate your successes is just as important!

Pick your 3PL partner carefully

Partnering with an experienced  3PLcompany, like Unishippers, will give your business thorough, thoughtful and strategic analysis of both your challenges and your successes. For more than 30 years, Unishippers has provided innovative and personalized shipping evaluations and solutions for tens of thousands of SMBs all over the country. Unishippers is made up of franchise owners that understand the challenges SMBs like yours face on a daily basis. We've seen it all and fixed it all.

Are you ready to propel your business to greater success in the new year? Stay tuned for the next chapter in this blog series to learn exactly how to convert the findings from your 3PL-aided, year-end review into powerful, effective shipping strategies.