Whether you are a startup business looking for comprehensive logistical services, or need select reverse logistic services to fill the gaps for your regular supply chain operations, a 3PL partner offers solutions tailored to your company.
A 3PL is a third-party logistics company that provides warehousing, fulfillment, distribution, and transportation services. Rely on the below factors to maximize advantages of third-party logistics companies.
Transportation and Warehouse Network Reach
A 3PL may have warehouses, fulfillment centers, and distribution centers located in various areas across the country. Select a 3PL partner with warehouses close to your place of operation . It’s also wise to learn how far its transportation network reaches — whether it is a regional, national, or international logistical strategy provider.
Some 3PLs offer fantastic services for regional deliveries yet simply don’t have the network partners to expand. Others may have the international network yet struggle to reach customers, due to warehouse locations near your operations. Search for the 3PL that offers the best reach based on the locations of your customer base and manufacturing operations.
Market Expertise Based on Your Industry
The benefits of a 3PL involves understanding the needs to transport your products and materials to the destination in the fastest and safest manner possible. Some industry markets have specific requirements for storage and distribution, such as food and beverage processors or chemical manufacturers.
You may require the 3PL to have industry-specific certification or licensing for handling, fulfillment, and transportation of your products. The 3PL you select should have this market expertise about knowing how to correctly store and transport your products as well as the necessary technology and equipment.
Proven Track Record and Reputation
While the 3PL may know your industry and have the partner network to provide thorough transportation services, it also requires a track record that shows its services are reliable. The information used to evaluate the 3PL partner may come from various sources. Reviews and company-provided information are two common places to learn about the company’s expertise.
Yet don’t solely rely on these two places, as they may not provide a transparent or unbiased viewpoint of the company. Speak with previous customers about their experiences with the company. Also look at industry trade news and accredited organizations for more information.
Aspects for which to search include:
- Length of time in the industry
- Accreditations and licensure
- Any accolades or industry awards
- Case studies and success stories
- Long-term clientele list
Scalability to Present and Future Operations
Rarely will operations stay the same throughout a company’s lifetime. A business may expand or downscale based on the economy and other factors. A time may come when you need more robust logistical solutions, or to pare down services to the minimum. Scalability is one of several key benefits of 3PL outsourcing.
How the 3PL models its pricing and service tier structure based on the services you require helps to narrow your choices. Learn whether a 3PL has a set tier structure for services or provides more customizable options. Compare these options among companies and select the solution that is the best fit.
Innovation and Technologies
The types of innovations and technologies in which a 3PL invests may set it apart from competitors. Each 3PL could have varying degrees of available technologies. These technologies and resources can significantly impact how your operations communicate with supply chain and fulfillment providers.
Evaluate whether a 3PL’s technologies integrate smoothly with your network systems. Also review its websites, platforms, and dashboards to evaluate if the technology is user-friendly and interactive. Learn whether the 3PL partner offers versatile and robust tracking metrics and analytical reporting features.
Another thing to keep in mind is that some 3PLs may invest in new technologies more quickly than others. Find out if this is the case, and whether your present systems will remain compatible with the 3PL’s changing technology strategies.
Reliability in Services
Not every supply chain runs smoothly all the time. Sometimes unforeseen circumstances outside of anyone’s control will appear and slow fulfillment and transportation shipments. A 3PL needs to be reliable no matter what issue or challenge is thrown its way. While you can always count on its reliability when things go right, see that it has the strategies, resources, and professionalism on hand that can be implemented immediately when things go wrong. The 3PL should have best practices on hand to get your supply chain running efficiently and productively.
The 3PL’s services should benefit all parties involved. It should strive to form strong business relationships and to please its customers while having a high client retention rate. As part of its reliability, the provider should always maintain open communication with customers to address current needs and obstacles. You should never have to track down the 3PL when needing to discuss services, costs, or service issues. The 3PL should be responsive and proactive, as it should contact you immediately regarding any fulfillment or transportation issues.
WSI: 3PL Supply Chain Solutions
Finding the right 3PL partner allows companies to streamline their supply chains and leverage their services to get products to customers around the world. Here at WSI, we offer a wide range of logistical solutions for our customers: warehousing, distribution, and fulfillment solutions in addition to customer support services, import/export solutions, and reverse logistics work.
We strive to offer customizable solutions since each customer has different supply chain needs. With fully integrated logistic solutions, our customers gain peace of mind that their warehousing and transportation services are in capable hands. We offer specific solutions that provide cost-effective benefits on a global scale, allowing our customers to tailor their operations to best fit into their company values and mission.
Learn more about what 3PLs can offer to your operations, as well as all the benefits that you may gain, by contacting WSI today.