Expect the unexpected.
It’s a scenario all companies need to prepare for to ensure business operations continue as usual if systems crash, software applications get buggy, weather events cause outages, or some other disruption occurs.
Those preparations need to cover both internal and external business activities. In particular, companies that use a third party logistics (3PL) provider for warehousing, distribution, or any other part of their supply chain logistics need to ensure comprehensive procedures are in place to guarantee business continuity when any unexpected circumstance arises.
The first place to start is with this basic question to your 3PL: What is your business continuity plan?
Business Continuity Factors
A business continuity plan is a strategy that describes how business operations will continue if a company is impacted by any type of unplanned situation or disaster. It typically includes how a company will recover its operations or, if necessary, move operations if its current location is damaged.
For a 3PL, a business continuity plan addresses how its core functions and services will continue during an unexpected interruption. A 3PL communicates this plan with all businesses that use its services, as well as the suppliers those businesses employ.
The main 3PL business continuity factors that matter to your business are:
- Its infrastructure backup. If a 3PL’s warehouse management system crashes or cannot operate for whatever reason, it impacts your company’s order fulfillment and processing. It’s important to make sure the 3PL has a backup for its entire system, including inventory files, orders, and distribution records, as well as the proper backup servers and IT support. This ensures no key information is lost that would impact service to your customers.
- Its inventory management backup. If there is a system failure, the 3PL should have some backup plan to manage your inventory in its warehouse. This might entail actual paper copies of inventory sheets or a backup cloud server. An inventory management backup plan is essential for maintaining operations during any type of interruption.
- Its distribution backup to keep picking, sorting, shipping, and other distribution processes moving. Such a business continuity plan needs to be in place in the event an unplanned event causes the warehouse management system or inventory management system to go down or a power outage renders the use of scanners inoperable. Such contingencies ensure your customers receive their orders correctly and on time.
Is Your 3PL Prepared?
While most 3PLs are prepared to move your goods more effectively and efficiently than what you could do in-house, not all have the capabilities of keeping goods moving when a disruption occurs.
For instance, ask your 3PL how it would handle:
- Staying on schedule if its systems crash or its equipment breaks down;
- Distribution during a labor strike or slowdown;
- Order processing and fulfillment if there is a power outage;
- Weather-related events, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, blizzards, wildfires, etc.
- Massive congestion, accidents, or interruptions on distribution routes, such as ports, rail lines, or highways;
- Terrorist attacks;
- The loss of a major facility or vendor in the supply chain.
If your 3PL is not able to demonstrate business continuity in these situations, your business could suffer both in profits and customer service.
Comprehensive Business Continuity
No company should miss orders or have goods delivered late or incorrectly because a 3PL does not have a business continuity plan in place. That’s why it’s so essential to partner with a 3PL that can conduct warehousing and distribution functions in any unforeseen situation.
At Brendamour Warehousing, Distribution & Services, we consistently review and update our business continuity plans. Not only do we have solid plans in place for all the possible disruptions that can occur to our 3PL facilities and functions, we also implement business continuity planning for any unexpected actions that your company may encounter.
At Brendamour, our warehousing, distribution and logistics business continuity plan encompasses:
- A thorough analysis of all types of interruptions that can occur and educating all those involved in your company’s supply chain about how they will be addressed to ensure a continuous improvement process.
- Strategies to minimize risks to critical business functions caused by a disruption.
- Remediation steps that include alternatives for maintaining warehousing, distribution and logistics processes when a disruption occurs or getting them back on track quickly in the event of a disaster.
With our comprehensive business continuity plan, Brendamour Warehousing has backup processes ready to go immediately when the unexpected happens.
To learn more about our approach to business continuity planning, contact Brendamour Warehousing, Distribution & Services. At Brendamour, we look at business continuity planning as another tool to enhance our partnership with your business.