3PLs: What Makes A Perfect Match

Within your company exists an operations or supply chain department charged with ensuring that products are moved from your manufacturing facility to your retailer customers safely and quickly. You are likely familiar with the idea of a third-party...


The 3PL you select should also be able to grow with you. Ideally, by outsourcing your logistics you save money and begin to grow sales, so your provider’s services must accommodate that growth. While most initial agreements begin with only a few SKUs needing warehousing and transportation or just transactional shipping, the right relationship will grow in years to come, so find a 3PL who handles both domestic and international shipping using a range of modes. Make sure they have multiple warehouse locations throughout your distribution footprint. If you aren’t yet ready for warehousing, choose a 3PL that provides that opportunity should it arise in the future.

Look for a single, dedicated account representative whose job it is to shepherd your orders from start to finish. Providers should have direct access to the shipping terminal and warehouse floor, something you likely do not have the benefit of now given your low order volume. Expert 3PLs operate in extremely high volumes with hundreds of manufacturers, and as a result, receive greater access and offer more order flexibility in addition to substantially discounted rates.

Finally, select a 3PL with experience shipping your type of product. Your supply chain and therefore, your company truly succeed when the focus is on speed and savings. In a stalled economy, providers who look for innovative ways to cut costs while maintaining performance through collaboration, technological advancement and superior customer service will withstand the test of time and take your supply chain into the future.

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