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Richard Murphy’s Advice for Small Businesses

As the leader of the family owned, Murphy Warehouse Company for the last 22 years, Richard Murphy knows a thing or two about running a small business. In addition to working alongside companies of all shapes and sizes as their supply chain partner, Richard has experience with his own team. Murphy has established the company as a leader within the small business community in Minnesota and Missouri – Winning Family Business of The Year in 2012 and emerging as a finalist for The Business Journal’s Small Business Success Story Award in 2015.

Here is some of his best advice for startups and small businesses:

Tip #1: As you grow, always focus on your core competencies, which may expand into different areas of expertise.

  • A 3PL’s core competency is Logistics. Some focus on warehousing, some have expanded and cover transportation, and value added services. Focus on what you do best, we’ll do the same.

Tip #2: When you are starting to expand, conserve as much cash as possible.

  • By working with a 3PL, capital expenses such as warehouse space and equipment are dramatically reduced.  
  • Outsourcing logistics and supply chain solutions is not a new concept. Many of the world’s largest companies have 3PL partners and have worked with them for decades.  

Tip #3: Do your due diligence.

  • Ask your business friends for references and partners that they have worked with.
  • Look at a few different companies.
    • Visit with them.
    • Walk the warehouse.
    • How are their employees treated?
    • Do your cultures match?
    • Get past the first layer of people if possible; meet with operations folks, and management teams.

Tip #4: Make sure that the 3PL can do all of the things you need within your supply chain, unless you are willing to have multiple vendors.

  • Look at certifications, procedures, quality control, value added services.

Tip #5: Look at ALL of the ways that a 3PL brings value to your business. 

Although outsourcing is generally the cheaper route, you should not look at your 3PL only as a cost cutting vendor. There are many different areas where 3PLs can impact within your supply chain performance and costs.

  • Savings come with
    • Certifications
    • Training
    • Best Practices
    • Experience
    • Efficiency
    • Partnerships

Tip #6: Recognize that good partners can help you reach outside markets.

  • Logistics firms can give recommendations for quality partners in other markets, or can even go with you to other cities if the scope of project is mutually beneficial.
  • References and reputation in the market are two extremely important pieces when looking for quality partners.

Tip # 7: Choose a 3PL that practices sustainability initiatives, if they are important to your company and customer base. 

  • At the moment, sustainability is an added bonus for most companies. But, what if carbon taxes emerge, renewable resources become standard or fuel prices continue to rise? Determine how your potential partner’s sustainability efforts affect your business, bottom line and outside partnerships. 

“Find a PARTNER not a VENDOR.”
– Richard T. Murphy Jr. 

Our team’s experience with both small business practices and the logistics industry as a whole can be a great asset to any growing small business or startup. If you would like more information, or have any questions about for our team, please contact us. Be sure to follow our blog for weekly updates on 3PL operations and benefits. 

Have a wonderful day!