August 10, 2023

Outsourcing Vs. In-House Logistics: Examining the Pros and Cons

Amidst all the complexities of modern supply chain management, logistics operations take center stage as the conductor of seamless product flows, timely deliveries, and efficient resource utilization. Yet in the boardrooms and strategy meetings of many businesses, the question still remains… Should we entrust these critical operations to external partners? Or would we be better off taking the reins in-house? 

While outsourcing undoubtedly presents advantages to many Shipwell customers who take advantage of our 3PL offerings, the reality is that a business's needs are constantly evolving, and few things in the logistics industry come with a one-size-fits-all solution. So how can a business determine which option best fits with what they're looking for?

Through a comprehensive analysis of the pros and cons that both options bring to the table, we'll unveil how companies can navigate the difficult choices before them — and how technology can help to make that decision easier — ultimately forging a path towards streamlined logistics operations that fuel growth and success.

Outsourcing Logistics Operations



Cost Savings: The allure of cost savings is undeniable. By outsourcing logistics, companies sidestep hefty investments in transportation assets, warehousing facilities, and skilled personnel. This translates to reduced operational costs and improved profit margins.

Lack of Flexibility and Control: Outsourcing can sometimes mean sacrificing control over critical supply chain processes. Companies may find themselves restricted by the 3PL's operational policies and procedures.

Focus on Core Competencies: Outsourcing logistics lets businesses divert their attention and resources to their core competencies. This leads to enhanced product quality, innovation, and market expansion, while logistics experts manage the intricacies of the supply chain.

Disconnection Between Clients and Agents: The intermediary nature of outsourcing can lead to a disconnection between the company and the end customer. Lack of direct communication can result in slower issue resolution and a gap in understanding customer needs.

Access to Logistics Technology: Third-party logistics providers (3PLs) often have a robust technology infrastructure. Businesses can benefit from the technological investments that these providers have made, gaining access to advanced tools for real-time tracking, route optimization, and analytics.

Strategic Misalignment: Outsourced providers might not fully align with the company's overall strategic goals and values, potentially leading to a disjointed supply chain strategy.

In-House Logistics Operations



Increased Control: In-house logistics management offers complete control over supply chain processes. Companies can adapt quickly to market changes and make decisions tailored to their specific needs.

High Cost of Investment: Establishing an in-house logistics operation demands significant upfront investment in technology, infrastructure, and skilled personnel.

Improved Customer Service: Direct involvement in logistics operations allows companies to establish stronger customer relationships and cater to their unique preferences, leading to higher customer satisfaction.

Employee Adoption and Training: Transitioning to an in-house logistics model requires proper training and the adoption of new processes, which can be time-consuming and challenging.

Greater Flexibility: In-house management equips businesses to swiftly adapt to changes, seize new opportunities, and optimize supply chain strategies without the constraints of external partners.

Challenges with Overcoming Issues: In-house operations often means confronting challenges without the immediate support of external experts, which can lead to prolonged problem resolution and potential customer dissatisfaction.

Leveraging Shipwell to Overcome In-House Challenges

Shipwell’s industry-leading Transportation Management System (TMS) offers a solution to shippers aiming to bring logistics management operations in-house. With advanced technology, data-driven insights, and expert support, Shipwell addresses the cons typically associated with in-house supply chain management by delivering:

Exponential Savings and ROI

Shipwell's TMS is engineered to optimize every facet of logistics operations, resulting in significant cost savings and enhanced performance. Most customers experience an impressive ROI in several key areas:

  • 10% from more efficient transportation procurement
  • 15% from improved planning and optimization
  • 5% from greater visibility and event management capabilities
  • 4% from more streamlined financial settlement. 

While these ROI percentages are impressive, some Shipwell clients have achieved savings that surpass even the most optimistic expectations. In fact, one of America’s leading meal kit providers saw cost savings exceeding $1 million within their first weeks of using Shipwell's TMS, showcasing the immediate impact of their investment.

Unmatched Training and Support

Shipwell understands that adopting new technology can be daunting. To ensure a seamless transition and maximize ROI, Shipwell provides thorough and consistent training for all users, empowering them to harness the full potential of the TMS and enhancing efficiency from day one. Additionally, Shipwell provides highly detailed documentation on everything from troubleshooting tips to API documentation, delivering everything needed to provide users with the resources they need to navigate the TMS effectively. On top of all this, Shipwell also offers 24/7 support from dedicated customer support representatives to ensure that any challenges that may be encountered are swiftly addressed and resolved.

“We can always count on a streamlined booking process as well as visibility on the loads. We always have access to a team of customer support, it really makes any glitches in the system non-existent within minutes. It's been a life changer.”

Abiel Venezuela, Logistics Manager, Marcus Technologies

High User Adoption and Peer Recognition

Shipwell's dedication to user experience is evidenced by its high user adoption rate. Gartner Peer Insights ranks Shipwell's TMS with a 100% willingness to recommend to others. Even first-time TMS users have lauded Shipwell for its user-friendly interface and seamless onboarding process. These high ratings and reviews underscore the accessibility and value Shipwell's TMS offers to businesses of all sizes.

“I had never scheduled freight before and Shipwell made the process so easy to learn and stay on top of all the moving pieces. After only a month of running freight, I now feel confident in my ability to work with carriers and know that I am getting the best rates.”

Angela Steele, Head of Inventory & Planning, Crowd Cow

What’s Next?

While outsourcing logistics operations has its merits, it's not the only path to efficient supply chain management. However, for those looking to bring operations in-house, doing so while supported by the right technology and solutions like Shipwell's TMS empowers businesses to navigate the complexities of modern supply chains with confidence.

For more information on how Shipwell can help you to bring your logistics operations in-house to reap all the benefits around flexibility, customer service, and control while overcoming the shortcomings that are often seen in other TMS providers, speak to a platform expert today.


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