Choose Your 3PL Wisely

When it comes to delivering products, some companies manage fulfillment and shipping internally, while others outsource to a third-party logistics provider (3PL). If you already utilize or are looking for a 3PL to outsource shipping and fulfillment, then you understand the significant benefits they provide. Whether you are new to outsourcing to a 3PL provider or are already involved in a contract, it is important that the provider is chosen wisely. The decision a 3PL provider makes reflects your brand and reputations.

Here are five steps to choosing the right 3PL provider:

  1. Don’t focus on price.
    Knowing your budget prior to interviewing potential 3PL providers is a good idea, but your decision shouldn’t be made on price alone. There are numerous reasons as to why price varies throughout an industry. Instead, focus on hiring a 3PL that can meet your requirements and deliver products quickly and effectively.
  2. Do a walkthrough of the warehouse.
    To gain a better understanding of how a 3PL provider will respect and treat your inventory, take a walk through of their warehouse. Is it in good condition or is it falling apart, cluttered, or dirty? If it is the latter, chances are they will have little respect for your brand, products, or reputation.
  3. Ask about their technology.
    Inquire about the type of technology they utilize including their inventory management system and whether or not they use analytics. The best 3PL providers have systems in place that can predict shortages or potential incidents that will delay shipping. When 3PLs have this capability, they will help you meet your customer expectations.
  4. Experience with your product type.
    Depending on the type of products you need shipped, experience may be a good deciding factor. Some industries like food have specific requirements that need to be met when shipping. Asking about their experience with your product type will also give you additional information about the kinds of precautions they take when packing and shipping fragile products.
  5. Does their reputation match their claims?
    In today’s digital age, it is hard for companies to hide from upset customers. Before signing a contract with a 3PL provider, make sure to ask for references and check their reputation online. Review websites like Google and Yelp make it easy to see how existing and past customers feel about their experiences. You also get the chance to see how the 3PL handles scrutiny in their responses. If there are negative reviews with no responses, it is also a great idea to inquire about these situations and how they were handled.

Econo-Courier is committed to innovation and customer service and has been helping businesses with shipping needs since 1972. Contact us today to learn how we can help you.