Decisions within the supply chain can make a huge difference in your performance. Everything from prices, to customer service and product shipping times depends on the supply chain. This makes asking the right questions about your operation extremely important when choosing a 3PL provider. Here are five crucial questions to ask yourself and team when you decide to outsource your logistics.
What type of 3PL provider are you looking for?
Each 3PL provider will have services that they do really well, and some offerings that aren’t the best fit for some companies. Check out our blog post on types of 3PLs. Between freight forwarders, large warehousing providers and small niche there are 3PL providers that will be a great match for each type of client. Some 3PLs, like Murphy handle everything from warehousing and fulfillment to trucking and rail options. These types of 3PLs are a great fit for many types of clients, including companies with many different offerings, themselves.
Where do you want your inventory?
Location. Location. Location. It’s an old cliché that always rings true. Where your product is stored makes a big difference for most companies. Although it may not always be possible to be a couple of minutes away from your product, working with a 3PL that has many locations, spread out throughout a metro area is a great way to stay close. Where are your customers? Choosing a 3PL that is within proximity of your top customers can save you money on shipping and
Do you have an RFP?
Request For Proposal forms are a great way to get a detailed quote from a potential 3PL partner quickly. How much inventory do you have, how often does it come into the warehouse, how large are your average orders? These are all things that can be put on an RFP form.
Just like you, as a company, have core competencies which could be manufacturing, processing, or even retailing, 3PLs have them as well. If you have a lot of inventory, look for a 3PL that excels at handling large amounts of product and storing it efficiently. If you are an e-commerce retailer, finding a 3PL that handles fulfillment with ease can save you money. It is important to learn about what your potential 3PL partners are good at, so that you can find the best value in the relationship.
Are the company cultures a match?
As you dig into the company, reading case studies, customer testimonials and speaking with client solutions specialists you will begin to learn about how the company operates as a whole. Are they a family owned business built on customer service and honesty, or are they less personal with their clients? How will this affect your relationship in the long run? These are questions about the company’s culture, and they can greatly change how smoothly the operation is handled.
Thanks for reading this week’s logistic blog! Be sure to check back every week to learn about our growing company and the logistics industry.