What Makes a Good 3PL Company

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Finding a good 3rd Party Logistics Company can be challenging. Many companies claim to be the best so it is important to look at a number of different factors when choosing a provider for your company. Taking your time looking at these critical success factors will help ensure that you choose the best 3PL company for your business.

There must be good communication between you and the 3PL Company in order to facilitate a successful relationship. Communication process should include:

Understanding of one anothers needs and objectives

Agreement on clearly defined metrics

Analyzation of metrics and brainstorming of solutions to new challenges

Evaluate your current and future needs regarding storage and shipping.

Have seasonal characteristics that require flexible modifications?

Will your inventory levels change at different times of the year?

Being able to communicate clear objectives to the 3PL is important.

And in return, youll need to be sure that you choose a company that values communication, has established capabilities and processes to facilitate this type of interaction and knows what it needs from you to successfully operate.FINANCIAL SNAPSHOT

What  is the financial status of the 3PL Company? Many seemingly strong logistics companies go out of business, especially in these difficult economic times. Investigating a 3PL Companys financials is a necessary step in the selection process

Analyze Dunn and Bradstreet reports

Ask for relevant company financil information they are willing to share

How long have they been in business?

Have they taken on the commitment of time, money and people to successfully run their company?

Shipping is a critical part of the logistics process in terms of:

Third party transportation services

Its important to find out what services are offered and what charges would be incurred, including the rates youd pay for shipments.

Say NO to a one-price-fits-all concept. 3PL Companies should:

Be able to tailor a plan just for you

Be able to change on a moments notice

Accomodate expansion due to a changing environment and needs

Can the company youre considering handle changes?

One of the most important aspects of logistics is technology. It can be used to:

Do they stay up to date with the latest processing, shipping, tracking tools and technology

What systems are in place for dealing with reporting order processing, system limitations integration and inventory control

How will this be presented to your business?

Oftentimes the difference between average 3PLs and high performing logistics companies are their people. Look for those with:

A commitment to going the extra mile

The ability to connect with customers

An extensive knowledge of the industry, transportation and management

Knowledge of how to negotiate cost saving

You should look for a company whose people will help you:

Stay on top of regulatory and legislature issues

Impact your business now and in the future

Are able to build your relationship based on trust?

There are a lot of things to consider when looking for a 3PL Company to do your storage and shipping. As you can probably see, it takes a company with a full scale offering that can function on multiple levels. There are a lot of 3PL companies that perform well in one area or a couple of areas, but partnering with a company that can offer all of the above attributes will put your company in the best possible situation.

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