Outsourcing of logistics operation to 3PL

Situation (introduction)

Technical materials manufacturer outsources the operation for the first time to a large, international logistics service provider (3PL). Phase 1 of the project is very difficult, so that all management focuses on getting this part of the project going smoothly. The project team working on phase 2, the implementation of the automated part of the operation, therefore lacks direct control. The restart of phase 1 has to be postponed several times, and there is also a risk of delay in the implementation of phase 2.

Complications (problem)

  • Phase 2 involved the implementation of a complicated automated part of the operation, in which multiple IT systems had to communicate with each other and which would have to process the 10-fold volume compared to phase 1.
  • There was no project plan, including clear time planning, for the implementation of phase 2.
  • There was a bad atmosphere within the project team, so that the team members each operated on an island.
  • The 3PL was under great pressure not to allow the situation that had arisen during the implementation of phase 1 to recur in phase 2. However, this was likely to happen.

Need (solution direction)

The assignment for the interim project manager was to implement the automated part of the operation (phase 2).

Approach (giving substance to the assignment)

  • Inventory of the existing project team, removing obstructive beliefs from team members
  • Creating a realistic project plan with achievable milestones
  • Setting up a clear project management structure
  • Improving communication through daily and weekly project update meetings with both project team and senior stakeholders at 3PL and customer
  • Substantive coaching of team members, including in (re) design of processes and during the various test phases


Results achieved

The atmosphere within the project team has greatly improved. The automated part of the operation went live without delay on the planned date.