Companies of all sizes are increasing their use of outsourced logistics services as they seek greater efficiency in their supply chains. Here is a 3PL checklist to help you find the best third party logistics partner for your situation. 3PLs bring valuable benefits to companies in a number of ways:
- Reducing transportation costs. 3PLs often have scale and leverage advantages that allow them to negotiate and access better rates than shippers can do on their own. They can also eliminate unwanted administrative costs by efficiently finding and securing capacity, monitoring and auditing carrier and rate compliance, and executing optimal mode selection (all of this often with the aid of specialized technology).
- Improving customer satisfaction. 3PLs can support customer satisfaction improvement goals by helping with accurate order fulfillment, improving on-time pickups and deliveries, providing greater shipment visibility, and reducing losses and damages.
- Providing global expertise. 3PLs can help businesses navigate the more complex aspects of importing and exporting by providing documentation, customs brokerage, duty optimization, and freight forwarding solutions. This can help companies introduce their products to new markets, or source lower-cost materials for production.
- Reducing supply chain risk. 3PLs can help mitigate risks by ensuring companies are using licensed and safe transportation carriers, providing logistics talent acquisition expertise, and staying abreast of special governmental and environmental rules and regulations.
With the above benefits in mind, here is a very simple 3PL checklist you may want to consider when evaluating your partner options:
- Is your potential partner financially stable with a long history of successful operations? Do they have reputable customers from whom they have received testimonials? Have they won any significant awards or recognition?
Assets or Non-Asset?
- Do they manage their own truck fleet or assets? Do they provide non-asset brokerage solutions? Do they have dedicated warehousing and do they manage warehousing using any of their own staff?
- Are they able to manage all transportation modes, including LTL, truckload, expedited, rail, air, and ocean services? Do they have adequate staff with sufficient expertise to manage all aspects of domestic transportation? Can they provide dedicated staff and resources for a complete managed transportation solution?
- Do they have global staff located around the world? Are they able to manage all aspects of imports and exports? Can they manage all international transportation modes, including ocean, air, ground, and rail? Can they manage complex project cargo from start until finish? Do they provide customs broker solutions and can they assist with global trade compliance?
- Do they have a capable transportation management system (TMS)? Do they have international freight forwarding track and trace capabilities? Do they have a warehouse management system (WMS)? Can their technology solutions be integrated into your back office systems?
- What additional services can they bring to your company? Can they help with things like global sourcing, specialized warehousing, linguistic solutions, cargo insurance, and financing options?
- Do they have a customer service-oriented culture? Do they have a mission statement or mantra that resonates with you? Are they proud of, and do they showcase, their people? Do they have a history of successes and “going to bat” for their customers?
Hopefully this gives you a good starting checklist if you are, or will soon be, evaluating 3PL partners. Obviously we feel very confident that Logistics Plus has the credibility, capabilities and cultural fit that works well for most companies and industries. If you’d like to engage us in your evaluation process, request for quote (RFQ), or request for proposal (RFP) – or if you simply want to talk – just let us know. We’re here to help and we’re ready to do so.
Looking for more outside reading on this subject? Check out his article from SuppyChain247.com