It takes a lot of work to provide a high-quality 3pl shipping service, and that work has to be done each day by every employee. However, if you want to succeed as a 3PL shipping company then it is something you MUST do.
As with every high-quality service provider, you MUST be able to fit the needs of your customer and then excel in those needs. You have to make the process easy and simple so that they are better off partnering with you. Otherwise, why would they stick around?
We have previously talked about how shippers can find the best 3PL shipping company, but now let’s focus on all the 3PL’s out there, how can YOU provide the best service? What does it take to have a high-quality shipping service?
Steps to Become a High-Quality 3PL Shipping Service
Before we start, it should be said that it takes time to be able to provide a high-quality service. It has taken us 24 years to get to the level that we are at now and we are STILL improving every day. You cannot just decide to start a new career in 3PL shipping and expect instant success. It takes time to learn and develop.
While there is no shortcut to quality, there is are several checkpoints along the way that you want to hit. There’s no set order on most of these. As long as you are able to get to them in some way then you will be set. Let’s get to it and take a look at what a 3PL shipping company needs.
Carrier relations are everything when it comes to the quality of 3PL shipping services. Relations with carriers are to a 3PL shipping company what tools are to a craftsman. And, sure, we all know the saying, ‘it’s a poor craftsman that blames their tools.’ Well… that doesn’t mean tools don’t matter! Having a dependable and quality tool can make all the difference to a craftsman just as having a dependable and reliable carrier can make all the difference for a 3PL.
When an issue arises it’s important that you have a strong set of carriers in your toolbox to get the job done. If you are unable to do so, then you are unable to provide the level of quality that your shipper needs. And if you are not meeting your customers’ needs then you won’t have a customer for long.
Having a strong core of carriers should be one of the first things you focus on as a 3PL shipping company. If you are focused on shipping frozen food then get a strong core of reefer carriers that know and trust you. However, if you are looking to focus on several industries then carrier diversity will start to matter as well.
Depending on how you establish your business, this may go hand in hand with setting up strong carrier relations. However, if you are focused on a particular niche then this is something you will have to work on slowly as you broaden your horizons and take on new industries. Carrier diversity allows you to ship frozen food for one customer, steel beams for the next, and then 20 drayage containers for the other.
Going back to the craftsman analogy, if carrier relations is the quality of your tools, then carrier diversity is the number of tools you have at hand. Some craftsmen just need a select set of tools and they are able to do great work. However, they will eventually be limited to what kind of projects they can take on. With a lack of carrier diversity, a 3PL will be limited in what industries they can work with. In order to provide a high-quality 3PL shipping service to EVERYONE then partnerships must be built with all kinds of modes.
Technology is pretty vague within shipping and logistics. Does it mean a TMS? Automated data transfers and alerts? Track and Trace Technology? Well, yes, it means all of those and more. The landscape of shipping technology is constantly shifting. So, what is needed today may not be needed tomorrow and what was once essential may be replaced already.
Technology for a 3PL shipping company is like the building methods and techniques for that craftsman we’ve been talking about. Some techniques come along and will replace the old. Sometimes there’s a major shift and that allows building cabinets to become easier. And yes, there are some techniques that are tried and true, just like some 3PL technologies that are always going to stick around. So, if you are starting off you want to focus on those tried and true technologies first. These essential technologies are: Transportation management systems (TMS’s), strong communication networks, analytical and reporting capabilities, and shipment visibility.
Having strong internal processes is 100% vital. It’s never the most glamorous thing, I mean who wants to talk about efficient accounting operations? Well, YOU SHOULD! You cannot offer a high-quality 3PL shipping service if you are not constantly streamlining your own internal operations. Finding ways to improve matching loads to carriers, paying carriers faster, and relaying important updates to shippers. These all play a huge role in your quality.
The craftsman analogy is easy on this one, internal processes are to a 3PL shipping company as internal processes are to a craftsman. Are they able to complete a job on time? Do they have an efficient billing system set up? Streamlined and efficient internal processes are something that EVERY company needs.
Creating strong internal processes is something that takes time and patience. What works for some people may not work for others so this is where having strong leadership and experience is important. It takes a deep understanding of running a 3PL to quickly identify how something can be improved and then implement the required changes.
How Becker Logistics Provides High Quality
At Becker Logistics we are able to provide all of our customers with a high-quality service. We have been in business for 24 years and in that time we have established a strong and diverse carrier base that we can rely on. Additionally, we stay up to date on all shipping and logistics technology so that our partners are able to get the most out of their shipping.