Many businesses looking to grow often do not have a solid idea of what to look for in a third party logistics provider (3PL), or even which 3PL is the right fit for them. Aside from being great cost-reducers for supply chain management, partnering with a 3PL can be an amazing benefit to any business looking for warehouse management or transport facilities. How should customers differentiate between the many 3PL companies out there?
1. FlexibilityA good 3PL would be able to stretch themselves for a client company to make sure their specifications would be met. Adaptability, customization, and urgency are key differentiators to consider as well. A flexible 3PL would be able to handle any segment of the supply chain system, from inventory and packaging to fulfillment, all while meeting the business consumers specified needs. Flexible 3PL's would also offer custom services to meet any client needs. Being centered in a critical geographic location helps a 3PL with faster distribution to ensure more consumer growth as well.
2. QualityOn-time delivery and customer satisfaction with the shipping process are vital differentiators when considering the quality of a 3PL. This is achieved at a high service level with excellent assembly processes, kitting and packaging, and expedited distribution for high volume orders. This is done with advanced transport, warehouse management systems, and shipping technologies that track inventory at a faster rate than ever. All of these factors help reduce error rates, which not only cost in shipping but customer retention as well.
3. ReliabilityEmploying a 3PL that is lacking in reliability is essentially a drain of resources, which no company needs. A quality 3PL company should be able to offer supply chain solutions with customers and the primary business alike to ensure seamless interaction between the two parties. When the 3PL provider does their job perfectly, both parties benefit from one another, leading to greater sales in the future. This involves intentionality on the 3PL’s part to build relationships on the customer’s behalf, as well as providing repeated quality service.
4. Cost-EfficientThe primary benefit of a 3PL has to be the cost-efficiency. Producing or selling companies often do not have the resources to maintain every aspect of supply chain management. A good company will lower shipping and 3PL warehousing costs while also offering added services, such as serving as logistical operations center and providing inventory solutions. This allows the business to focus on their core competencies, saving resources that would have been used elsewhere.
Not only is it important for a 3PL to be able to provide expert supply chain management and order fulfillment, but its culture should reflect values of collaboration and entrepreneurship. A 3PL service should always put its worker’s safety first, and be supportive for those who have a stake in the company. Quality 3PL corporate values make a world of a difference in ensuring that exceptional workspace culture is experienced by client companies.
Many businesses and companies today all benefit from e-commerce, especially those who do not have the physical stores for customers to enter. Looking for the right party logistic provider can be hard when one does not know what to look for. In searching for the best 3PL to serve client needs, businesses need to be on the lookout for flexibility, quality, reliability, cost-efficiency, and a good corporate structure.