In the logistics industry, partnering with a 3PL (third-party service provider) has many benefits. A well-performing 3PL provider can help improve customer experience, increase efficiency, and control costs. However, selecting the right provider can be a demanding experience.
Why Find a 3PL?
Running a well-maintained supply chain is a challenging task, and you should not do it alone. The right 3PLs can effectively handle your entire fulfillment, including storing, picking, packing, and shipping your products.
Other inherent advantages that come with hiring a 3PL include:
Keeping costs down
3PL firms have an extensive network. They enjoy exclusive relationships within logistics circles and can significantly influence negotiations. They can also offer greater volume discounts that minimize overhead costs. Also, when you partner with a 3PL firm, you avoid the costs of substantial infrastructural investments such as warehouse space, staffing, and tracking technology.
Gain access to expertise and experience
A 3 PL provider comes with extensive industry knowledge and experience that can greatly benefit your business. They have greater insights on transport documentation, import and export, international compliance, and industry regulations. The logistic support and technical knowhow that the provider offers can help reduce costly delays, cut down-cycled time, and enable a smooth entry into new markets
Flexibility and scalability
When you partner with a 3PL, you can benefit from excellent business flexibility and scalability. Ideally, the providers offer supply and distribution resources based on your current business needs. When your sales are down, you won’t have to deal with redundant investments and unutilized resources. During a peak season, you can easily upscale to accommodate the surging demand.
Improved customer demands
A 3PL provider ensures improved services, timely deliveries, and faster response times and enhances brand reliability. All these benefits eventually lead to improved customer satisfaction.
How to Choose a 3PL Provider
Your first step is to do thorough research of your potential provider to ensure you are getting value. Look for a company with proven processes, expertise, and an ability to integrate well into your systems. Importantly, ensure your 3PL has a robust technology that can handle ever-evolving business needs.
Establish your needs and goals
You should also examine your goals to determine whether you need a global supply chain provider or a 3PL specializing in a specific regional market. The logistics services you need are influenced by the markets you are trying to reach. If your goals include market expansion, ensure you are partnering with a logistics provider that can scale up your services to meet your business’s growing needs.
Have options (talk to multiple providers)
Look for a range of offerings by comparing at least three prospective providers. Go for a provider that boasts of a range of capabilities that can be customized to meet your needs. The right third-party logistics providers should offer expertise, save time and money and help streamline supply chains. You should also consider whether you need a single general provider or multiple providers. This will likely be informed by the size of your operation and all the needs you have. If you can find a single provider with several locations in different markets, the better
Find an omnichannel expert
In the current highly volatile business environment, you have to be exceptional just to remain competitive. The right 3PL provider should offer a seamless omnichannel journey, 24/7 customer service, and personalized communication. Work with a partner who can provide a holistic omnichannel strategy and expertise needed to combine all channels into one seamless experience.
Proven track record
The right 3PL should have a solid reputation for reliably delivering a range of products on time. Find out the type of client they serve and whether they have any specialties. Go for a provider who is best suited to help the type of business you run. Importantly check to read reviews about potential providers online. You can also ask potential 3PL providers who some of their current clients are. Those clients may offer valuable insights.
Look for stability
Be sure to evaluate the financial health of your prospective 3PL provider before hiring them. A company with shaky stability can fail you and occasion heavy losses. To determine stability, examine the prospective provider’s clientele base, their size of operations and how long they have been in business, and ask if they own or lease their facilities. You should also explore the kinds of investments they’re currently making in their facilities and their personnel size.
What TALG Offers
At TALG, we boast over 30 years of retail experience with touchpoints across nearly every major U.S. retailer and over 25,000 specialty retailers. We leverage integrated technologies that take action from the moment a consumer places an order to the final steps of ensuring packages arrive at their doorstep.
TALG provides third-party logistics and warehousing services for companies emerging and growing. We focus on same-day shipping, fully integrated technologies, and competitive freight rates to domestic and international destinations. For more details, contact us today.