If you’re in the shipping business, chances are you’ve been hearing the term “integrated logistics” a lot in recent years — but what does it actually mean?

As domestic and international trade processes become increasingly complex, many companies simply don’t have the internal resources, experience, and connections to generate a positive ROI on their shipping programs. Integrated Logistics Services Providers (ISPs) are a direct response to this problem, offering end-to-end solutions and services designed to streamline the entire shipping process and maximize returns for their clients.

What Is an Integrated Logistics Provider?

The main differences between an ISP and the average third-party logistics provider (3PL) are the range of capabilities and depth of service offered. ISPs will not only have extensive expertise across all major modes of transport — they’ll also offer a variety of additional services, such as warehousing, order fulfillment, distribution, and more, in order to provide a complete, end-to-end logistics services package. This high degree of flexibility and control is what enables ISPs to drive so much value for their partners.

Working with a single partner desilos the process and centralizes communication and oversight, thereby reducing the likelihood of delays, mishandlings, and misunderstandings that will derail efficiency. The best ISPs examine every aspect of a client’s operations — from sourcing and manufacturing to warehousing, shipping, and distribution — in order to maximize the value of the program as a whole.

Ultimately, choosing the right partner will help drive down not only landed costs for buyers, but also the total cost of ownership (TCO) of a product for all parties involved. By minimizing the number of resources buyers and sellers need to dedicate to logistics process oversight and administrative support, ISPs are able to streamline the process and boost ROI.

Because they work so closely with companies and handle products from origin to destination, they also develop a much deeper understanding of their customers’ needs and goals, helping them develop bespoke solutions and address issues quickly and efficiently if and when they arise.

What to Look for in an Ideal Partner

While up-front cost savings will undoubtedly factor into the equation, it shouldn’t be the only consideration when choosing a long-term partner. Experience should certainly be taken into account as well; how long has the company been in operation? Does it have a proven track record of success? How many years does the average team member have under his or her belt? How quickly does it adopt and/or develop new solutions or technologies when necessary?

In addition to having a diverse array of capabilities and services, a strong and extensive global trade network, and the financial resources necessary to get the job done, an ideal ISP will take the time to understand their customer’s unique markets, priorities, culture, and goals. The strongest relationships are built on a foundation of trust and shared values, enabling the ISP to effectively become an extension of the client’s in-house team.

After nearly two decades of successful operation as a trusted shipping and logistics partner, Primary Freight has increased its capabilities in the emerging integrated logistics field. The combination of our expansive global trading network, our team’s collective expertise, and our unwavering commitment to customer service has enabled us to thrive in an increasingly competitive marketplace. We develop customized solutions and strategies for our clients, drawing upon the full extent of our considerable resources and knowledge in order to provide the maximum amount of value on every shipment, every time. If you’re looking for a long-term, end-to-end shipping solution, look no further than Primary Freight.

For more information about Primary Freight’s Integrated Logistics services, get in touch with one of our dedicated experts today at (800) 635-0013 — we’re looking forward to your call!