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Give me a reason

6 reasons why public bodies should take a third-party approach to logistics

Supply chains play a pivotal role in public sector logistics

The public sector relies on a complex network of inhouse resources to manage the warehousing and distribution of its assets. Here’s how we can help.


Supply chains play a pivotal role in public sector logistics – just ask the experts at Granby. 

Whether it’s a government body delivering new guidance, an NHS trust sharing urgent healthcare literature or a university publicising its latest prospectus, the public sector relies on a complex network of inhouse resources to manage the warehousing and distribution of its assets.

But management often comes at considerable cost, and can prove a significant drain on time and resources already in short supply. Inefficiency is never far away, which perhaps explains why more public sector decision makers are adopting a third party approach to market logistics than ever before.

Against this backdrop, a team of third-party logistics (3PL) specialists from Granby have pooled their knowledge and expertise to identify the six biggest reasons why 3PL ought to be the new normal for public sector organisations across the UK.

“Choosing a partner who is passionate about logistics and the customer experience really is a key differential. Allowing your partner in and sharing as much as you can ensures that they care about your challenges and objectives, which leads to a collaborative partnership. 

“At Granby, we care not only about our business but our clients’ business and the individuals we work with.”

– Joanne Kimber, Managing Director, Granby

1. Work smarter, faster and more sustainably

It’s fair to say that, for many, logistics can be a daunting prospect. Warehousing and distribution can place considerable strain on any organisation, irrespective of size – and poor logistics can prove costly and have a disastrous impact on your reputation. 

But it needn’t be such a chore. After all, it’s the role of the 3PL provider to work alongside you and shoulder these responsibilities end to end. 

With a dedicated partner, you’ll be able to manage warehousing and distribution more effectively than ever before – ensuring a smooth journey for your next campaign.

Additionally, in today’s climate-conscious world, sustainability is an obvious concern.

In response, 3PL providers are working to ensure a socially and environmentally responsible approach to logistics. 

Technology has a significant role to play, and many of the industry’s brightest minds are currently working to cut carbon emissions wherever possible. But the public sector can help drive that change – by partnering with a responsible 3PL provider and prioritising sustainability as a matter of course.

2. Leave the legwork to your 3PL partner

As anyone who’s ever overseen complex logistics will tell you, warehousing and distribution on a national (or international) scale can prove tricky at the best of times, and diverts huge amounts of resources better spent elsewhere. 

Entrusting logistics to a 3PL provider can make a world of difference, and enable you to reprioritise your workforce as you see fit.

Simply put, any 3PL provider worth their salt will have dedicated resources to streamline your logistics and take the administrative burden off your shoulders. After all, it’s what they do best.

Case study example –  YoungMinds

YoungMinds is the UK’s leading children’s and young people’s mental health charity. Granby recently employed similar methods to great effect, storing stock and dispatching orders made via YoungMinds’ online portal. This simplified approach took charity staff out of the equation almost entirely, meaning more people focused elsewhere in the organisation. 

3. Innovative solutions to age-old problems

Logistics has existed in one form or another for centuries, though the ideas behind it have historically gone unnoticed. As DHL recently put it*, ‘our last great innovation is often regarded as the shipping container’. 

But digital – the fourth industrial revolution – is redefining our approach to logistics in a way never before seen.

50% of logistics providers use cloud-based services

20% of logistics providers plan to in the near future

Whether it’s the adoption of drones, automation or smart-enabled technology, warehousing and distribution is becoming faster, leaner and more efficient. Already, more than 50% of logistics providers are using cloud-based services, for example – with a further 20% planning to do so in the near future*.

While the public sector is far less likely to have access to the kinds of cutting-edge technology currently revolutionising logistics, 3PL providers have a vested interest in innovation. 

They have to remain in step with the competition after all, and anything that drives efficiency means cost savings which can be passed on to the client themselves.

For public sector stakeholders, partnering with an experienced 3PL provider will grant you access to the technology of tomorrow – and all the benefits that come with it.

4. Take advantage of the 3PL network

 In logistics, a robust and reactive supply chain is an absolute must. Invariably, public sector organisations will have their own network of tried and trusted suppliers – but inefficiencies persist. 

In Granby’s experience, what separates a public sector supply chain from a 3PL provider network is often as simple as oversight.

A competent 3PL partner will have access to a national (and international) network of supply chain contacts – meaning they can ensure deliveries get where they need to go in timely fashion, with contingencies in place in the event of the unexpected. 

They’ll also be able to employ new and emerging technologies to oversee complex logistics from start to finish – rather than the piecemeal approach found elsewhere.

Case study example –  Office for National Statistics

We worked with the Office for National Statistics on the 2021 UK Census trial phase (and delivery of the final project), distributing kits in 35 variations to agents on the ground. 

With so many variations and individuals spanning a variety of locations, this posed a logistical headache – but Granby was able to draw upon a proven network to ensure the right kits ended up with the appropriate people. It is instances like this where infrastructure and experience pays off.

5. Where cost is concerned, think long term

Supply chains matter. It’s why the Bank of England, the Department for Education, London Metropolitan University, the Office for National Statistics and YoungMinds have all enlisted the same Blackburn-based 3PL provider: Granby.

The public sector is often held to a higher standard where cost is concerned. All expenditure must be accounted for, and any opportunity to make savings must be exploited. 

On the surface, managing your own logistics may seem cost-effective – but the short-term costs are consistently outweighed by the long-term savings collaboration brings. 

Partnering with a 3PL provider must be seen as a long-term investment, which – as all good investments do – drives lasting benefit. Depending on your current approach, the savings might be immediate – but only if your partner of choice has the infrastructure in place to take a cost-effective approach from the get-go. 

By implementing a few key considerations, cost and output can be managed, however – which brings us to our sixth and final point… 

6. Collaboration that counts

A true partnership means transparency, and you should expect no less from your 3PL provider. Your relationship is likely to be very hands-on, especially if you plan to make yours a successful partnership. Not only are you trusting an outside company with a core service – you’re entrusting them with the reputation of your organisation as well.

For those looking to make the most of their 3PL partnership, Granby encourages organisations to build a ‘communicative foundation’ from the ground up. Share your aspirations and leave nothing undefined. 

Established as far back as the 1950s, Granby is more than just another marketing logistics provider. They partner with public and private sector organisations to ensure a service that benefits individuals and organisations alike.

You might also try incentivising success by introducing KPIs – and be sure to include your 3PL partner in any long-term planning. In time, a worthwhile partner will be an extension of your own organisation – blurring lines of separation and ensuring communication between both organisations is second nature.

Crucially, this ability to foster collaboration is what separates a standard 3PL provider from a tried and trusted partner. 

*Logistics Trend Radar 2018/19, DHL Trend Research

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“Choosing a partner who is passionate about logistics and the customer experience really is a key differential. At Granby, we care not only about our business but our clients’ business and the individuals we work with.” - Joanne Kimber, Managing Director, Granby