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Olympia 3PL Selection and Implementation

The selection and implementation of any technology or service is an enormous undertaking, one that requires ample research, time, and patience. For many, it’s a responsibility so robust it’s best to reach out to a third party to help with the vetting and decision-making process, which is precisely what Olympia Chimney Inc. did. When Olympia found itself operating 12 distribution centers (DCs), it knew there was an opportunity to consolidate some of its DCs and outsource its logistics and transportation needs to a third-party logistics (3PL) provider. That’s when Cornerstone Edge stepped in, to help Olympia filter through the dozens of options available to find the one best suited to its needs. 

The search

Olympia was looking for a 3PL that could deliver on many fronts, including:

  • A nationwide network of existing 3PL sites with the ability to fulfill orders within 24 hours so that shipments reach customers within two days.
  • Ability to receive Purchase Orders from Olympia manufacturing facilities and vendors, receive and process customer returns, and process and ship returns back to vendors.
  • Ability to store all SKUs required, fulfill various order profiles: case picking, each picking, packing, etc., manage freight planning, interface with Olympia’s newly selected ERP electronically in real-time for inbound orders, outbound orders, and inventory management purposes.
  • And much more.

With a detailed list of requirements, Cornerstone Edge was able to move into the vetting process that would provide answers for a successful selection and implementation process. They started with a 3PL screening followed by a thorough investigation of Olympia and its processes to ensure all requirements had been properly defined. 

The evaluation

To help identify appropriate 3PL candidates, Cornerstone Edge considered additional data, such as:

  • High-Level Network Analysis
  • Order of Magnitude by Facility Requirements
  • Transaction Volume Requirements
  • High-Level Review of Inventory Mix and Stock Levels
  • Suggested Regional Sites

Once those details were collected, Cornerstone Edge landed on 23 potential 3PLs, still a fairly unmanageable list, but the screenings continued. Of those 23, only four made the cut when based on a handful of other requirements, such as national footprint, sizing, and supportive technology with integration capabilities. Those four final 3PLs were given RFPs to respond to, and ultimately one stood out, a 3PL headquartered in Edwards, CO.

The decision

With a decision made, Cornerstone Edge was able to guide Olympia through their letter of intent, contract negotiation, and project implementation – a whole additional undertaking. With this new 3PL, Olympia chose a supporting distribution network through Reno, NV., Cleveland, OH., and Bridgeport, NJ., allowing them to leverage two of their existing 12 distribution centers and personnel to minimize risk during the transition. Cornerstone Edge then took the reins in determining the necessary process for launching the new operation with this 3PL in Reno.

The implementation

With a 3PL in place, it was time for Olympia to turn their attention to successfully synching their processes and systems with that of their new 3PL. Once again, Olympia turned to Cornerstone Edge for guidance. Cornerstone Edge started with a comprehensive look at data to make informed decisions. They used historical data from both Olympia and the 3PL to identify weak points within their processes and to coordinate the 3PL’s master data requirements with relation to what Accumatica, Olympia’s ERP system, could provide. With data mapping completed, Cornerstone created a tailored integration design, working with four guiding principles:

  • Having the right inventory, in the right place, at the right time
  • Confirmation that Accumatica functionality could support all of the 3PL’s operational needs
  • Flawless integration between the 3PL’s WMS and Olympia’s ERP 
  • Creating an implementation strategy that empowered the 3PL to effectively execute all their responsibilities 

In the end, by partnering with Cornerstone Edge, Olympia successfully consolidated 12 facilities into three while still meeting customer requirements. But there’s a lot more that goes into the selection and implementation of a 3PL. To get all the details of how the process unfolded for Olympia, check out our Case Studies. You can learn all about the selection process here, and the implementation process here.


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