There are many things to keep in mind when searching for a third-party logistics (3PL) provider. Choosing the correct 3PL provider can help elevate a company above its competitors. The wrong 3PL can cause dysfunction, headaches, or even loss of business. Below are 5 things to keep in mind when choosing a 3PL provider:
How does the 3PL provider stand financially? Having a 3PL suddenly fold due to financial woes could result in a business’s operation coming to a complete stop. A reputable 3PL will have a strong financial foundation and have a plan for future growth. Choosing a 3PL with an uncertain future is a risk that a business shouldn’t take.
Can the 3PL provider scale and keep pace with the company’s needs? If a provider is chosen that cannot scale to current demand, the business will likely need to restart their 3PL search from the beginning. On the other hand, a 3PL should be able to downscale a company’s needs if business slows.
Clear, responsive, and honest communication is vital when partnering with any provider. How quickly do they answer emails and phone calls? Can they be reached easily? Are they quick to solve issues? Are they upfront and honest when an issue arises? These are all questions that should be asked when researching 3PL providers.
Trustworthy and Dependable
In addition to being financially stable, a business should pick a 3PL that is dependable and has industry references. Are they known in the industry? Do they have long-term agreements with clients? Do they have testimonials? A reputable 3PL will be knowledgeable in the logistics and transportation industry. They will also be applying new technologies, researching more efficient methods, and staying current with industry trends.
Additional Services Offered
A company should evaluate its future needs and consider partnering with a 3PL provider that offers those services. These services might include kitting, packaging/co-packaging, dealer returns, government sales assistance, and additive manufacturing (3D Printing). Partnering with a provider that offers these services may eliminate the need to search for another partner in the future.