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Third – Party Logistics(3PL), a Better Way to Reach Out to the Customers

This topic seeks to find out how the third-party logistics (3PL) agencies mediate between manufacturing companies and their customers. So many companies’ warehouses and transportation system perform poorly now when customers need them the most. There is usually miss-shipments, invoicing errors, pricing issues and inventory shrinkage which could be remedied if specialization is applied. Hoping that by researching on this topic, one will learn more on how 3PL companies are organized and how they can effectively meet customer needs. This is very significant in supply chain management since it facilitates the distribution of commodities in a more efficient manner, reducing lead times, rendering quality services, and hence customer satisfaction.

A Qualitative Research Question Pertaining to this Dissertation Topic

Staying on top of competition has been the ply of every manufacturing company. Supply chain managers try to develop strategies to meetup with this competitive goal of the organization by optimizing supply chain processes. Despite these efforts, organizations continue to face warehousing and logistics challenges. Richey, Kovács, & Spens (2009) pointed out that the greatest emphasized problem faced by manufacturing companies is the coordination of logistical activities. In warehousing systems, the inventory management and shipping processes usually have significant impacts on supply chain and logistic performances, customer service levels, and production costs (Regattieri Manzini & Gamberi, 2012). The relationship that exist between the third-party logistics (3PL) and the customer is that which specialized services are provided by an expert who claims no title of the goods. Third-party logistics knowledge of the manufacturer and the customer offers a special origin-to-destination services to the customers that renters them more satisfied (Sheffi, 1990). Based on this argument, the qualitative research question will include the following.

  1. What are the warehousing and logistics challenges of manufacturing companies that can affectively be resolved by using the services of the third-party logistic agencies?

Qualitative Research Design Used for the Dissertation

Based on the research question, a narrative qualitative research design can be used for this dissertation. A descriptive narrative design will explain the warehousing and logistics challenges encountered by manufacturing companies as well as the third-party logistics’ performances that can better handle these challenges and render the customer satisfied. Creswell & Poth (2018) maintained that narrative studies broadcast individual and organizational experiences and may throw light on the identities of individual customers and how they perceive these challenges. Narrative research design also has responsibilities as the collection of information about customer experiences through documents, conversations, interviews, and pictures which will be applied in this dissertation.

The Limitations of the Narrative Design and Challenges that one Will Need to Consider

Using the narrative research design to describe the warehousing and logistic challenges faced by manufacturing companies is limited by the fact that it is difficult to obtain information and different opinions about the customer satisfaction from the individual customers as well as from the selected organizations. Using the interview methods to conduct this narrative study for example, presented four stumbling blocks, which include unresponsiveness; inarticulateness; difficulties with the concept of time; and a concrete frame of reference (Booth & Booth, 1996).

Conclusion

Given the fact that company warehouses, logistics and transportation sectors are performing poorly now our days when customers need them the most, it is important to seek expert services. Using the expert services of the 3PL agencies will meetup customer expectation and render the organization more competitive. Hence, acknowledging the important of individual customer experiences to both the manufacturing warehouses and well as their relationship with the 3PL companies through descriptive narrative research design, can help in carrying out the dissertation research that will illustrate how significant the 3PL agency is to both the customer and the manufacturing company.

References

Booth, T., & Booth, W. (1996). Sounds of silence: Narrative research with inarticulate subjects. Disability & Society, 11(1), 55-70.

Creswell, J. W., Poth, C. N. (2018). Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design: Choosing Among Five Approaches. United States: SAGE Publications.

Regattieri A., Manzini R., Gamberi M. (2012) The Logistics Reengineering Process in a Warehouse/Order Fulfillment System: A Case Study. In: Manzini R. (eds) Warehousing in the Global Supply Chain. Springer, London.

Richey, R. G., Kovács, G., & Spens, K. (2009). Identifying challenges in humanitarian logistics. International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management.

Sheffi, Y. (1990). Third party logistics: present and future prospects. Journal of Business Logistics, 11(2), 27.

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