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Fourth Party Logistic Providers - Tech agent or change agent?

Posted by Kirsten, Michael at Friday, 04/20/2012 5:46 am
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There are now fewer reasons than ever to buy and run your own supply chain technology systems. They’re expensive, they become outdated quickly and they take a huge amount of resources to implement, maintain and train people to use.

While internal upgrades of vendor and client technology capabilities may still be necessary in some cases, more often than not there is already a specific piece of technology that will address your problem or issue. The trouble is finding and plugging into it, quickly.

The proliferation of technology can be overwhelming. And it’s one of the key reasons why clients engage 4PL providers. Yet, choosing the right 4PL provider isn’t just about finding someone with access to multiple technology solutions—it’s finding one that can access and plug you into technology that will enable rapid change for your organization.

A 4PL worth engaging should know that their technology (or that of the supplier they will be working with on your behalf), is the central agent of change, but it’s not the reason for it. Plugging into new tech solutions is just the beginning and this alone will not transform what needs to be transformed in your organization.

Just because a piece of technology is ‘old’ doesn’t mean it’s not delivering. And each element of your supply chain will have different experiences of the same technology—some will love it, others will be happy to see the back of it. 4PLs should dig deeper to find the right, compelling reasons for change that go well beyond simply the desire for better, faster technology— or perceptions of poor functionality.

Technological change is ongoing for most organizations. Increasingly, we all find that we’re playing catch-up and that’s why 4PLs need to do more than just give advice and implement new tech solutions year after year. They need to play a bigger role in managing the ongoing change that comes with technology—and just how well they do this is going to be a key differentiator of 4PL providers going forward.

Fundamentally, 4PLs must see technology as one of the tools for change, but not the catalyst for it. Instead, this will be something far more fundamental within your organization and will always stem back to the desire to get the best possible outcomes for your customers or clients.

We all know now that technology changes behavior as well as outcomes, and it’s the role of high quality 4PL providers to drive the right outcomes in both.

This blog is part of 4PLs - More Bureaucracy or Strategic Change Agent, a white paper in Fourth Party Logistic provider. You can download a free copy here.

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