Getting goods from one place to another is a much more difficult job than you might imagine. No matter what business you’re in, choosing a logistics provider to handle your supply chain is a big decision and not one that should be rushed without much thought.
To help you in that process, we’ve compiled a list of things to consider when choosing a third party logistics (3PL) partner.
- 3PL’s Speciality/Area of Expertise
Many logistics companies out there cater to certain fields or regions. There aren’t many ‘one-size-fits-all providers’ when it comes to logistics.
Therefore, you’ll need to be sure that the company you choose has the capabilities your business requires. It’s not uncommon for companies to utilize multiple providers so all their bases are covered.
Familiarize yourself with different 3PL’s points of origin and final destinations. Consider: Are they able to accommodate time sensitive shipments? Will you need access to storage and warehousing? Do their capabilities, generally, match your needs?
- Customer Service
Another big thing to look for in a logistics company is their customer service record. Generally speaking, customer service and reliability go hand in hand.
Ask potential providers for references from current clients; this typically gives you the most nuanced picture of what working with a particular company is like.
Reviews of many 3PL companies are available online as well. Although the reviews may not be as in depth as a phone call or email exchange with a current client, it gives you a broader idea of what can be expected.
One aspect that is often overlooked is scalability. Your needs this year will be different than your needs two, five, or ten years from now.
Your 3PL will need to adapt to those changes as well. As your company grows and it’s demands evolve, your logistics provider will need to be able to evolve with you. Consider the clients they currently serve and how long they’ve been together.
Before approaching potential providers, make sure you have a sense of your business’ potential growth and future requirements.
- Company Stability and Experience
As with any industry, experience is invaluable.
A 3PL with several years of experience, at the very least, is a necessity. With experienced companies, you can feel a little more secure knowing they have the needed stability and won’t shut down on you a few months in.
Moreover, an experienced and stable company is less likely to become a liability for your supply chain. This is a must since any hiccups become a liability for your business; your customers won’t know or care if your company is at fault or if the issue is with the logistics company.
While price will certainly play a big role in your decision, it should definitely not be the only factor you look at.
Cutting corners on cost of service isn’t something you want to do. A bump in the supply chain can cost you a lot more in the long run, both in headaches and financially.
As a partner with United Van Lines, Schroeder is able to provide reliable corporate services including logistics and supply chain management, last mile delivery, and more!