Businesses in the hospitality industry like hotels, retail stores, restaurants, hospitals, assisted living facilities, and casinos each have unique pain points in their business models, but supply chain and logistics struggles are something that they all encounter.  After researching some of these pain points, I discovered that there were several universal problems.

The most significant problems that I found were: creating transparent plans and schedules for shipments; products requiring specialized equipment and methods for shipping; projects with limiting time constraints; maintaining the furniture, fixtures, and equipment (FF&E); and having separate spaces to house and quickly access the operating supplies and equipment (OS&E).

Planning and Scheduling with a 3PL Company

Creating a transparent plan and schedule that illustrates where each shipment is within the supply chain is a necessity for businesses in the hospitality industry.  This is specifically true because consumers have high expectations of service received from this industry, so having a highly efficient supply chain is mandatory. These high expectations create the need for a robust and easily understandable plan for the logistic operations of a business in the hospitality sector (Click to Tweet).  

A 3PL company that specializes in servicing this industry should have the ability to offer a series of services to improve the transparency and effectiveness of the supply chain.  Such services include: providing a dedicated team of logistics professionals that understand the supply chain, planning and enforcing accurate scheduling in the supply chain, and generating contingency plans if problems arise.

Complex Shipments

Irregular shipments are not uncommon occurrences in the hospitality industry.  Often the amount of product shipped will vary in size from small, to large, to abstract.  When using standard shipping methods, situations such as these are frequently costly and in certain cases ineffective.  This is further emphasized by a study conducted by UPS. Forty-eight percent of the survey respondents reported spending between 3 and 10 percent of their annual renovation/project budget on transportation alone. Eleven percent indicated that transportation costs consume more than 10 percent of their budget.

By working with a 3PL company, this problem can be solved quickly and effectively.  3PL companies should be able to provide air and sea shipments, less than truckload shipments (LTL), full truckload shipments (TL), and specialized equipment shipments (refrigerated, hazardous, unconventional load sizes, etc.).  Providing these options, a 3PL company can help businesses in the hospitality sector reduce the cost of their transportation budget.

Time Constraints and Installation Specific to the Hospitality Industry

When a project is completed in the hospitality industry it is typically frequented by customers immediately thereafter.  This poses a series of unique time constraints, which in turn affect the supply chain greatly.  So, coordinating the effort to have all materials in place to complete a project is paramount in order to avoid costly consequences.

As mentioned above in the planning and scheduling part of this post, 3PL companies have a team of logistics professionals that specialize in creating plans specific to the time constraints of project.  Additionally, expedited and overnight shipping methods are should be available to further provide support to projects with strict time-constraints.

Installing, Maintaining, and Replacing FF&E

The installation, maintenance, and replacement of furniture, fixtures, and equipment (FF&E) can be an arduous task, especially for large businesses in the hospitality industry.  Coordinating ongoing operations such as this are often difficult due to the amount of companies involved in purchasing, shipping, installing, and maintaining/replacing businesses FF&E

However, with the help of a hospitality logistics company, much of this problem can be avoided altogether.  This is because a hospitality logistics company should manage and consolidate the details of the relationships between the different vendors and then coordinate the shipments, installation, and maintenance or replacement of the furniture fixtures or equipment.  

Additionally, the relationships between a hospitality logistics company and different vendors can be easily monitored by using your logistics company’s IT software. (Click to Tweet)  This IT software can also be used to monitor price fluctuation between vendors to find the best market price.

Warehouses and OS&E

An additional pain point for hospitality businesses is the management and distribution of the operating supplies and equipment (OS&E).  Having access to these supplies and equipment at a convenient and secure off-site storage facility equipped with a reliable inventory tracking system is a necessity.  

Here is where 3PL companies are capable of providing effective solutions specifically for managing the distribution and inventory tracking of your business’ OS&E.  By offer a large network of nationwide warehouses equipped a transportation management systems (TMS), a 3PL company has the potential to greatly improve the efficiency of organization, storage, and delivery of OS&E.


The hospitality industry has a series of pain points that are specific to the difficulties of effectively managing their supply chains.  These problems are not easily solved due to the complex and abstract nature of the logistic needs in this business sector.  The most efficient solution to this problem is outsourcing the supply chain management to a 3PL company (Click to Tweet).  3PL companies can clearly be seen as experts capable of managing the scheduling, logistics, installation, and transportation of FF&E and OS&E within specific time constraints.