Are you on the hunt for a good third-party logistics provider (or 3PL)? Read on to learn about the qualities to look for when choosing a 3PL for your business.
1. Experience :
This is the most obvious quality, but it’s important. It can be easy to get caught up in the next big thing only to be left unsatisfied. Look for a 3PL warehouse with years of experience that can handle any issue with speed. Be sure to ask for customer testimonials and referrals.
2. IT Services :
A good third-party logistics provider will use cloud hosting technology to keep on top of orders and make communication easier. Your potential provider should offer live support 24/7 along with data storage, web hosting, and printing services.
3. A Sufficient Network :
Whether you are a local or a global e-commerce platform, your perfect 3PL should have several locations around the globe. Even if your store is small right now, consider the potential growth when choosing a 3PL network. Ask the provider about their number of distribution and shipping centers.
4. Close to Transportation :
Of course, you want your products to get to your customers as quickly as possible. So, make sure the 3PL you choose is close to the major transportation hubs. Find out where they are in relation to railroads, airports, highways and shipping docks.
5. Predictive Analytics :
You are sure to anticipate the needs of your customers, and you want to work with a third-party logistics provider who can anticipate your needs. You should ensure that your provider is doing everything it possibly can to keep ahead of things so that your store doesn’t fall behind. The 3PL should anticipate the busiest times of the year for you and then streamline their schedules and delivery routes to fit in with your customers buying behavior.
6. Reliable Carrier :
Savings are important, but at what cost are you willing to save some money? While a 3PL may offer you a good rate, are they using reliable freight carriers? Always find out about the carriers the provider uses and make it clear that there is a list of trusted carriers you’re prepared to work with.
7. Transparent About Liability :
Liability is another thing to watch out for. Find out about the level of liability a 3PL offers to protect you and your customers should something go wrong.
8. Industry Compliance :
Just because a provider says that they follow industry regulations, doesn’t mean they do. Make sure they are indeed following industry compliance standards.
9. Safe Shipments :
When choosing a 3PL for your store, make sure they are equipped to safely ship your products. The company should have prior experience in shipping the products you sell and even experience shipping to your current markets. Be sure to find out about their packaging standards and mixing rules.
10. Hours of Operation :
Finally, when looking for a trusty third party logistics provider, find out how many hours a day they actually work. It could well and truly impact the speed of your deliveries. Ask about the company’s hours. If they tend to work longer during times of high volumes, such as the holiday season, you should also ask what they daily average output usually is.
Use these 10 tips to help you find the right 3PL for your business.