A third-party logistics provider – commonly called a 3PL provider – can help your company focus on growth and your bottom line. But how do you find the right 3PL provider for your business? Here’s what you need to know.
How to Choose a 3PL Provider That Works for Your Business
Most business owners realize that a 3PL provider can increase efficiency, keep costs manageable and improve customer service – but what they don’t know is that 3PL companies are vastly different from each other.
Check out these three characteristics of a solid 3PL provider before you begin your search:
- Longevity in the industry
- A history of financial success and stable leadership
- A strong carrier network
Here’s a closer look at each characteristic so you know what to look for.
1. Longevity in the Industry
Many 3PL providers and freight brokers are here today, gone tomorrow – and that poses a serious problem for business owners who use them. Setting up a new logistics system only to have it vanish when a company goes under is a tremendous waste of time, money and other resources, and if you choose a company without checking its history, your company could suffer losses that you can never recover.
2. A History of Financial Success and Stable Leadership
A good 3PL provider has a history of financial success and leadership. Like your personal credit score shows creditors how likely you are to repay a loan or stay out of financial trouble, a 3PL’s past history of financial success and stable leadership shows business owners that they’re going to get what they paid for – and that they’re getting an exceptional value in doing so. If you were a creditor, would you choose to lend money to someone who has a history of making late (or no) payments, or would you rather lend cash to someone you know is capable of – and has a history of – repaying his or her debt? Look at hiring a 3PL provider the same way and you’ll be able to find a company you can trust to move your goods from your factories, plants, warehouses and production centers.
3. A Strong Carrier Network
Working with a 3PL provider means not having to worry about how your goods get from the point of creation to the point of distribution. You simply let your 3PL provider know what goods need to travel and where they need to go – and then you move on to your next task.
You need a 3PL provider that:
- Can quickly move your product from one place to another without significant delays. Smaller, less-established 3PL companies often have difficulties moving shipments quickly because they need to wait for transportation (or, as is often the case, for a truck to fill up so it’s cost-effective to move it).
- Has a reliable transportation and carrier network. Your goods need to move safely and efficiently, and a 3PL provider with a reliable and vast carrier network can make that happen.
- Owns its own network. Many new 3PL companies don’t even own their trucks – they just coordinate shipping with third parties, which means they don’t need to be invested in successfully moving your goods. However, when you choose a 3PL provider that owns its own carrier network, you know that the company is invested in your success – because your success determines the 3PL provider’s success.
Do You Need to Work With a 3PL Provider?
The main factor in most companies’ decision to hire a 3PL provider is profit. When you have a 3PL company that you can trust in your corner, you’re free to do what’s most important: grow your business. We can help you transport your goods so your company can grow. Contact us today to talk to a 3PL expert who can find the perfect solution for your needs.