Having an on-going self-improvement process and effort to improve services is the basis for continuous improvement. Small changes will add up to big wins over time. But, while many discuss improvement, how can you ensure your 3PL partner really does it?
Review 5 factors that will help you determine your 3PL’s approach to continuous improvement:
- Every initiative begins at the top. Does the owners and executives at your 3PL live the life of continuous improvement? Do they request updates? Are they expecting their teams to improve the business year-on-year? If these questions don’t represent the leadership at the top, then more than likely the continuous improvement initiatives are a selling point not a lifestyle.
- Persistent long-term focus and dedication. There is a difference between PROGRAM and PROCESS. A program has a start and end date whereas a process is an ongoing event. Has continuous improvement be done over the years? Are you seeing indications of an improvement lifestyle in the warehouse? On the bulletin boards?
- Employee Engagement and Ownership are key to a strong process. Changing can be de difficult for people. However, if associates are a part of the change and engaged, and can see the value of the change, they are invested in the outcome. The process can then become sustainable for long-term improvement.
- A proactive operational approach. If you are fire-fighting because of mistakes, then you aren’t in control of your operation. Does your partner show proactive approaches to the business? Does your 3PL provider have a culture that supports an environment for continual change?
- Measuring the progress. If you don’t measure it then how can you improve and raise the bar? The impact of change must be measurable if you want it to be repeatable. Sharing the results constantly with your teams encourage progress.
Having an improvement lifestyle must be a part of your 3PL’s culture.
To stay relevant in today’s supply chain, being adaptable with constant movement toward improvement is a cost-effective approach to long-term success for any organization.