5 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Third Party Logistics Service
Seeking professional third party logistics services is an essential part of your daily business operations since it helps a great deal in the management of your supply chain. For this reason, choosing the right 3PL is not a choice, but something that should be at the helm of your to-do list. Spending ample time to obtain as much information as you can from a 3PL will save you a lot of trouble rather than having to switch from one service provider to another every year because the previous one failed to perform.
With the level of competition in the modern market, you will not be blamed for choosing the wrong 3PL. However, before you begin your search, think about taking your business from a lazy river to the greenest pastures on earth and ask your future 3PL the following questions.
1. How long have you been in business?
Age is not just a number when it comes to choosing a firm that will offer you the best third party logistics services; it is the ultimate sign of trustworthiness. A service provider that has been in business for a long time proves beyond doubt that they have passed the test of time, and have established beneficial relationships in the industry. Additionally, a seasoned service provider has the right skills and infrastructure necessary for the management of your supply chain. If, for instance, you are looking for automotive logistics companies, avoid working with a service provider who has just opened shop. Work with one who will show proof of having endured the competitive market for decades.
2. What are your core values?
Why is this question relevant? Well, apart from the services that you will get from a 3PL, you will also need to work with a company whose business culture is in line with yours. The answer to this question is vital because it will help reduce work-related friction as you develop a mutual-beneficial relationship with your newfound logistics partner.
3. Will you provide customized solutions?
3PLs have a standardized way of doing things, but this doesn’t mean you can’t ask for personalized solutions that will help achieve your business goals. Depending on the answer you get, you can also give your opinion and the right service provider will be more than willing to fulfill your needs.
4. What assembly, packaging, and storage options do you provide?
You need to work with a service provider who has a functioning order-fulfillment system, especially one that won’t require many alterations to adjust to your business requirements. The fact that you need custom services notwithstanding, the 3PL’s operations need to be standardized so that disruptions can be minimized. If you have an automotive business, you will need to know from the automotive logistics companies you visit whether they have strategies in place, in case you get a short-notice fulfillment. Even if you don’t want to make it a habit, you will need to know whether there is a capacity that is in place, in case demand for your products rise unexpectedly.
5. What operational challenges do you expect?
This should be the last question you ask so that you can gauge whether you are on the same page with your 3PL or not. For a fact, challenges might occur on the way, and it is the solutions that the service provider offers that will determine whether you will work with them or not.
The above questions are not the only ones you should ask a potential 3PL. You’ll also need to know things like the technology used, costs of operation, licenses, insurances, and professional accreditations they have, a portfolio that shows their previous works, and so on. However, the five questions above are not only designed to help you in the selection process, but also establish a rapport from the outset, and help you feel comfortable with the company you will be working with on a daily basis.
Remember, getting the best third party logistics services can be a game changer for your business. Choose a service provider wisely.
This is a collaborative article.