There could be several 3PL companies out there, but you need to find one that fits well with your business operations, growth plans, and customer service culture. Ideally, going into a business relationship with a 3PL could be a long-term commitment and could be difficult to separate finding a 3PL means partnering with an established logistics organizations that you can trust to provide solutions and find creative avenues to transfer your products swiftly and inexpensively. If you are looking for a 3PL that can fulfill your business requirements, then here is a list of tips for you to consider.
Review Scalability and Flexibility
Look into what 3PL companies can handle the level of expansion you would want to undergo at some point. Finding a 3PL that can match the ambitions and goals that you have in the long run would be a promising idea. Expanding into new locations and doing business in diverse seasons can be possible through a 3PL with connections to carriers in larger markets.
Another tip is to do a deep dive into what services the 3PL company offers. Compare what services you need with those that are being offered. Most 3PL companies can handle the common service areas like:
- Contract or Public Warehousing
- Freight Consolidation
- Technology Solutions
- Distribution and Transportation Management
- Auditing Freight Bills
Determine the locations that their contracted trucks run and what areas the 3PL considers to be preferred.
Determine Technological Advancement
With technology growing and updating at a rapid speed, finding a 3PL that follows these changes is something to keep in mind. An IT support system that uses innovative technology can uphold the objectives you have for your company. You can find out how much a 3PL is investing in its company for further development. Ask if the functionality of new applications or unique management tools falls into the list of capabilities of a potential 3PL partner.
In addition, more excellent 3PL technological solutions could ease the further expansions explained earlier. Make sure the maintenance of present technology is up to date. Think about how the progressive attributes of future technology could also be user-friendly for employees at each level.
Examine Communication Standards
Actions speak louder than words, however, a good amount of research into past customer reviews or testimonials could allow you to see past just a good 3PL name. Finding a 3PL company that communicates regularly and reports constantly would be better for you and your clients. Be sure to ask all the questions that come to mind and discuss concerns so that you feel confident in your newfound partner.
Customer service, which includes overall responsiveness and professionalism, should be prioritized. Finding a 3PL that also has great relationships with their network connections due to communication efforts will be in your best interest.
Seek Cost Structures
Finding a 3PL that aligns with your budget would keep you ahead of the game. Differentiating 3PL companies could organize their costs of services. There are 5 types of costs of operations that you need for your business. An onboarding cost consists of charges for initial setup, which could take a lengthy amount of time. The cost of picking up and packaging each product or order is referred to as an Order fulfillment cost. The cost of storage, such as the temperature control and specific amount of area demanded, could be priced as an add-on. Lastly, when orders are delivered, the receipt of those orders could cost per unit, per pallet, flat rates, or per hour basis.
Inquire Financial Stability
A final tip we share is for you to consider how the 3PL files insurance and freight claims. Ask if they are secure in the event of weather-related schedule disruptions or if there is accessible financial assistance. You want to be fully aware of the finances of the 3PL company you are looking into. Investigate if the 3PL is in good financial standing because that would mean they have the ability to run a smooth operation without monetary losses. Businesses invest so much time and resources in choosing a 3PL, so it’s important to ensure that the one you select has a proven record of accomplishment and the financial stability to survive in the event of an economic downturn.