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Mid-Size 3PL Companies Aren't Just Relevant—They're Also The Best Fit

Posted by Sean Coakley


Goldilocks was onto something. When she was searching for the perfect bed to nap on, she passed by the one she knew was too soft. She said "pass" to the option that was too hard and uncomfortable. But she found the perfect bed---one that was just right---smack dab in the middle.

This fairy tale translates well to your search through 3PL companies, where you're hoping to find one with just the right fit. Today, we're talking about the option that might be just right: mid-size providers.

Simply put, mid-size 3PL companies have much of the same access and capacity our larger competitors do: people/manpower, expertise, and technology. But unlike other companies, Kenco doesn't have a few things that are crucial to note:

We don't answer to Wall Street, as we're not publicly held by stockholders, but rather a family and privately owned company. Also, we don't have a massive, unmanageable client base. We have the time, resources, and dedication to show you are not just a number; you're a person, and a customer who we strive to serve.

 If you are like Goldilocks and trying to find a fit that is just right, we broke down 4 of the reasons we see mid-size 3PL companies are the best fit.

1."Big Enough":

Unlike small 3PL companies that might struggle to provide great service to every client, we have the resources and manpower to make sure you are always taken care of. The technology, warehousing, and transportation capabilities Kenco offers are on par with the bigger-tiered 3PLs.

Our proprietary WMS package, Warehouse Efficiency System (WES™), as well as many other WMS systems, such as SAP, Manhattan, and Red Prairie, are all a part of Kenco's systems. Working with a variety of systems is not a problem when it comes to interfacing the systems with your data. All Kenco systems can be interfaced with essentially any host ERP or legacy system, including SAP. Interfaces can be accomplished through EDI, XML, Flat Files, and custom file formats via AS/2, FTP, Secure FTP or any other 3 acronymed means needed. If need be, we can also work with a customer’s VAN and have it integrated directly with many legacy proprietary customer systems.

Outside of our tech, our Dedicated Contract Carriage (DCC) and Over the Road (OTR) fleets have over 200 drivers and 300 trailers to offer you white-glove final mile solutions. When that's not enough, our Freight Brokerage service gives access to over 100,000 carriers, and over 400,000 drives.

Oh, and if you're wondering about the facility size we can handle---we operate facilities as small as 10,000 square feet and as large as 1.5 million square feet all on this robust system.

2. Flexibility:

We understand your business needs may change. And we care about you—what you need, and how we can help you reach your goals. When we say we provide flexibility, we mean for our contracts, terms, and your options with us.

For example, when one of our clients performed a small acquisition, we knew we had to be ready to execute. The 24-hour turnaround was not ideal, but pushing for a larger window would have resulted in lost sales and profit, either by customers building inventory prior to the close, or by late or missed shipments immediately after.

Close collaboration with our owners and high-level executives is a hallmark of our lean business model—allowing us to make things happen fast. For us, it's not all about hitting the quarterly numbers or satisfying investors on Wall Street, but about helping you reach your business goals. We know firsthand when we focus on serving our customers and being responsive to their needs, profitability naturally follows.

Following the agile process—using our resources wisely and being flexible—allows us to provide the optimal path to your goals.

Flexibility + "Big Enough" Resources = Agility

3. Shared Resources:

Kenco has a multi-tiered approach to account management which includes both dedicated and shared resources assigned to each account. Complementing the dedicated personnel managing individual operations, your network as a whole is managed by members of senior management, who oversee similar accounts in your industry segment and leverage specific industry experience and best practices across similar sites within the Kenco network.

This combination of dedicated and shared resources ensures that you benefit from the undivided attention of account-specific managers as well as the collaboration and best practices of operations all over North America.

4. Cultural fit:

We care about our employees, and we care about you. When we treat our employees well and provide them with a wonderful workplace, that good energy means they strive for better work with you, our customers.

This part of the procurement process is not usually brought up. While the process is generally done strictly off of the numbers and metrics on a piece of paper, it seldom addresses how it is to work with a company and their employees. Finding a fit that works to the benefit of both parties is what ensures efficiencies and effective use of any 3PLs services.

"How we work together" becomes a much bigger part of the 3PL process as the relationship unfolds between any business partnership. Building a lasting relationship helps ensure that problems are looked at under the same light and that one party isn't acting against another unknowingly. We pride ourselves on our long-lasting relationships and transparency between clients as the process is carried out.

To Sum It All Up

Without having to try different companies, you can easily see the benefits of partnering with a mid-size 3PL company. By providing the same access and capacity as our largest competitors with the services and attentiveness of a smaller company, mid-size 3PLs can deliver a fit that's just right for you---without having to traipse through a bear's house like our friend Goldilocks.

Download the Most Comprehensive Collection of Warehouse Best Practices


Sean Coakley

Written by Sean Coakley

Sean Coakley is Senior Vice President of Kenco. He provides strategic direction for sales and marketing activities for all of the Kenco operating companies.


We'd like to hear about your supply chain and discuss ways Kenco can help address your business needs.

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Kenco provides integrated logistics solutions that include distribution and fulfillment, comprehensive transportation management, material handling services, real estate management, and information technology—all engineered for Operational Excellence. 

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