It’s becoming increasingly vital to run an efficient and profitable logistics operation in order to stay ahead. Yet over recent years, and especially due to the constraints imposed by Covid, organisations have often sourced their logistics equipment, consumables, and services from a broad spectrum of suppliers.

However, this approach tends to run counter to another strategic objective that most companies aim to meet, that of reducing the number of suppliers they deal with. Dan Brasier, CEO at Southgate Global, makes this very point.

“In recent years, we are seeing an increasing number of 3pl, e-commerce and warehouse operatives in general reducing the number of suppliers they are using and instead, searching for companies that can provide as much of what they need to function as efficiently as possible as a single source. The benefits of single sourcing are many and varied but paramount is the reduction in costs that they can gain both by consolidating their bargaining power and also from reducing the number of suppliers in their ERPs.”

But single sourcing goes beyond this as Brasier points out: “This imperative coincides with the fiercely competitive market and how, more so than ever, companies need to be running a more productive and cost-effective operation. Next-day delivery, for example, has now become an expectation rather than an option and with that, it has left no room for delays, errors, or broken links in the chain.

“Whether you are a single site company or large multi-site corporation, juggling various service providers to source your packaging and consumables can be challenging and cause unnecessary strain on your supply chain. Not to mention that it can lead to slower production, products not working alongside others as seamlessly as they could, increased administration costs and an inventory that is more difficult to manage.”

Brasier explained that in today’s market, it’s all about offering an end-to-end solution, being a reliable partner that customers can turn to at every stage. Southgate’s packaging equipment and consumables offer, for example, covers over 5,000 separate SKUs across all the key categories.

But they also ensure that the solutions go beyond all the key products an operational logistics and fulfilment team might need to include. For instance, its Technical Services offer maintains, repairs, and repurposes customers’ equipment even if it hasn’t been supplied by them, providing peace of mind that unplanned downtime can be avoided.

Additionally, Southgate’s bespoke design and development, sourcing and even ESG legislative compliance advice provide additional support when logistics problems can’t be solved with ‘off the shelf’ products and need specific solutions.

Brasier added: “Not only does this single approach reduce customers costs and make further savings by reducing the number of suppliers in their ERP, but it is also a personable approach, with only one place to turn for all the support an organisation might need.

“With that in mind, when companies are then reviewing their operations and looking for ways to reduce the issues of sourcing items and consolidating their spend, they are unsurprisingly turning to the suppliers who offer the full package.”

It’s apparent that the challenges across the logistics industry have never been more acute. In order to make that last step successful, many elements must come into play and work harmoniously together. If they’re all split amongst various different suppliers all working separately, information sharing and dealing effectively with challenging needs, can become a lot trickier.

Looking into 2024 and beyond, Brasier said: “The demand for a supplier who offers the full package will become increasingly more important. Building a strong, long-lasting relationship with a single supplier who has a wealth of expertise and resources will begin to set logistics operators apart from one another.

“At Southgate, we’re proud to be ahead on this, already working in synergy with some of the biggest organisations in key sectors including 3pl, e-commerce, retail, post & parcel and general manufacturing. Through our wealth of equipment, consumables, and servicing expertise, backed up by our global sourcing capabilities, we plan to be the reliable single source that keeps their business moving.”

For more information on Southgate’s full range of services, visit the technical services page.

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