There are many reasons to outsource your logistics to a 3PL provider. Many companies realize logistics is not one of their core competencies. Others need to flex in or out of space; using a 3PL allows companies the ability to establish a logistics footprint in other areas in and outside of the country with relatively little capital investment.
Whichever your reason, you’ve decided to outsource your logistics to a 3PL and now you need to find the right 3PL provider that meets your company’s needs. Partnering with the right 3PL is a major decision in any organization.
There are many variables to consider. For example, if your company does an extensive amount of LTL shipments then focusing on a 3PL that only does FTL trucking will not be a good fit.
Accessing a 3PL that provides technological capabilities is one of the most important factors. They should be able to provide you with key measurements that your organization most values. For example, a 3PL should be able to provide you with automatic tracking updates, automatic receipt and shipment confirmations, web visibility and system scalability to meet your organization’s evolving needs.
You might also consider data analytics, inventory and order management reporting, and the ability to provide customized business solutions. These are thing that will give you and your organization granular detail into the day to day operations of your outsourced logistics operations, which will allow you the opportunity to improve your supply chain and increase efficiency.
The right technology can increase productivity and decrease labor costs in your supply chain.
Having a financially stable 3PL partner is essential to ensuring your supply chain will continue to become more efficient and take advantage of new and evolving innovations. Look at how the 3PL invests with increased engineered standard, industry specific certifications and compliance. If you have any questions ask their finance person. If they are interested in your business they should be happy to answer your questions.
How a 3PL provider handles customer service is one of the most fundamental requirements in choosing a logistics provider. Look for a logistics provider that is proud of its customer service. You want a 3PL provider that is not just concerned about being efficient but is also focused on providing its customers with a pleasant experience.
A great 3PL provides customer service that can reduce your workload by offering a customer service team experienced in order management, expediting, data procurement claims management, tracking, invoicing and auditing.
A good 3PL has the ability to understand your business as it relates to logistics and provide insight to continuous improvements that will enhance your operations for years to come.