Third-party logistics (3PL) companies are a great resource for any shipper. 3PLs provide services that add value to your supply chain and work with you to maximize efficiencies. It is important shippers take the time and ensure their 3PL partner is the right fit for them. Here are six tips on finding your next 3PL partner that will work with you to further the success of your business.
- Since technology is becoming an ever-important discussion when vetting a potential partner, ask if a 3PL has API/EDI capabilities that will enable real-time communication between companies, reduce manual processes and limit accounting errors.
- Does a 3PL guarantee visibility into your shipments? Ensure you will have access to real-time tracking updates on every shipment whenever needed.
- Learn about the payment cycle of a 3PL before bringing them onboard. Do they have the capabilities to do custom invoicing and the ability to pay with wire payments?
- If a problem arises, which 3PLs have experts 24/7 that you can talk to when needed? Ask your potential partner if they are staffed with operational employees around the clock.
- Your company likely has some specific requirements around your shipments; thus, it is vital that your 3PL partner has a legal department that will help with filling out contracts. Also, look into insurance requirements and pay attention to the cargo insurance and the bond amount a 3PL carries.
- Shipment issues will happen, and it is important that a 3PL has processes put in place when problems occur. Make sure you are aware who to contact in case of a claim. Learn about your potential partner’s claim process and what to expect.
It is important that companies conduct their due diligence and follow these tips before bringing a 3PL onboard. Asking the right questions will create a valuable partnership and protect your company in the long run.