The road to Third-Party Logistics – It doesn’t matter what name you adopt from that trendy business management blog you follow, simply deploying a lean concept to drive your supply chain function is probably not enough… you also need flexibility.


An agile approach to supply chain helps the team respond to the unpredictability of today’s business world and the individualized demands of customers. Lean identifies and eliminates waste, which is a very good thing. It reduces unnecessary costs, speeds deliveries, and brings everyone together in the constant search for improved efficiency. Anything that doesn’t add value to the supply chain function is out the door at a lean and agile operation. But when the company combines agile with lean, it adds reassurance for customers that the supply chain can adapt and handle new products and deliveries with speed and flexibility. That’s an improved service that customers will appreciate and pay a premium to acquire.


No one wants to see product sitting in the warehouse. It needs to be on the sales floor or delivered to the customer to be profitable. Again, this is not a new concept. But to keep moving to where it needs to be when it needs to be there, the supply chain can’t rely on just lean or agility, it needs both.

With this “both” notion in mind, it brings the supply chain function from only supply all the way back to the manufacturing of product. Agility starts from the legs of the organization, much like a highly agile athlete…it’s all in the lower body!


The agile mindset, once fully implemented has the potential to bring the organization together from top to bottom as long as good communication is in place from the production operation through to final, last-mile delivery to the user.

This requires more people talking and working together. It can be done, and it not only supports the company’s goals, it delivers to today’s omni-channel customers who buy from many different devices and in every physical location imaginable.


If your company is really good at building a quality widget, putting together a Lean, agile supply chain probably sounds like entirely new business that needs to be started. So the real task at hand here is finding the right subcontractor to handle the job and make it a reality.

Now, it’s time to work with a third-party logistics provider. The good news for your business lies in the fact that you know your customer, when and where they expect delivery and how much all of this should cost. Take that knowledge into the meeting with a potential third-party logistics partner to get customized services.