Outsourcing a company's logistics functions — operational and service requirements from warehousing, fulfilment and inventory management, to components distribution & assembly — is becoming increasingly de rigeur in OEM manufacturing.

Providing a holistic consultancy and service provider offering


The advantages of using a supply chain provider specialist for OEM manufacturing is conclusive.

Acorn have comprehensive expertise in managing supplier relationships, sourcing and delivering high quality materials while providing the optimal mix for 3PL tender management. We have extensive experience realising cost savings and efficiencies, consolidating supplier and procurement networks, and attaining better production processes and storage solutions. Acorn are able to provide a service which goes beyond theoretical consultancy and 'on paper' logistics function transformation to one where real world savings, with prudent, practical and realistic changes can be implemented.

The two biggest factors in not achieving a successful 3PL outsourcing project:

1: Correct data.
The more accurate and meaningful the data to inform change, the better 3PL solutions can be designed.

2: Knowledge meeting theory.
Theoretical consultancy advice without reference to practical knowledge of application on the shop floor, assembly line, and real life.

Considerations for outsourcing

— Supply chain innovation: evaluate on how much value your provider can help unlock and add, how they can reconfigure systems or redesign processes.
— Differentiation in service not in commodity: while people, transport, fuel, and to a certain extent quality components will always be similar in price as relatively fixed costs, your 3PL provider can drive higher savings in combination with improved service levels and inventory management.
— Modelling and analysis: reconfiguring key organisational processes and supplier networks can take time. Give a 3PL the opportunity to assess configurations and scenarios that offer the strongest opportunity and/or the most resilient outcomes.
— A partnership requires excellent personnel and management. What is the competency, training, and skill level of the operational team, and partner culture and ethics?
— Modelling and due diligence assessments need to be evaluated against assumptions and operational data. False or inaccurate information in, will result in will result in bad or faulty solutions out.

Evaluation of outsourcing providers

— Quality and safety, how are they defined, and what are the core performance factors
— Cost elements associated with process operations, not simply parts and materials
— Serviceability, how all elements and their utility can be measured
— Innovation and ideas to improve outcomes across service, production, stock and inventory
— Contract compliance, service levels and risk mitigation

Questions to ask in your request for tender

— What management capability do you hold to deliver solutions?
— What experience of delivery and skills base can you provide?
— What is the length and depth of performance in these activities?
— What are the qualities and capabilities of the personnel assigned to the project?