How to Choose the Right 3PL Provider
The 3PL provider you choose will make or break your company’s logistics. 3PL partners have a direct impact on customer satisfaction and repeat purchases, as well as your bottom line. Think of 3PL as an extension to your business and you will want to be certain all the pieces of the puzzle fit. Here is a handy guide you to help you choose the 3PL provider to best fit your needs.
1. Select a 3PL Provider that has Excellent Industry References
You cannot underestimate the importance of a proven track record. Slick marketing materials are no substitute for industry references. How many long-standing relationships do they have? This indicates if they are on top of their game in terms of client satisfaction. How long have they been operating? A new start-up 3PL does not have the depth of experience that a 20-year logistics veteran, such as Direct Mail Corporation, delivers.
2. Can They Effectively Scale as Your Business Experiences Growth?
If a 3PL provider can’t scale to meet your growth, forget them. Confirm that your potential 3PL provider is capable of quickly adjusting to spikes in demand or in response to volume fluctuation. A sudden growth significantly impacts your supply chain. Without the right 3PL in place, it could adversely affect your customer satisfaction and future sales.
A facility tour may indicate a 3PL provider has warehouse space for additional inventory. Capacity, though, is not the only concern in regard to growth. Staff must be able to effectively handle fluctuations in demand efficiently and accurately. Your 3PL logistics partner should be willing to work with you closely to understand your current growth pattern, manage product inventory and help with forecasting.
Direct Mail Corporation delivers scale through its casual workforce, which can be brought in to manage peaks in demand.
3. A 3PL Provider Must Invest in the latest Technology
If your potential 3PL provider doesn’t have technology to integrate with major e-commerce platforms, such as Shopify and WooCommerce, take them off your list. You need to keep logistics visible to you; ask for a dashboard so you see exactly what the 3PL provider sees.
Technology delivers efficiencies in time, cost and accuracy. If a potential 3PL provider uses subpar or old technology, you’ll end up paying more than needed. Direct Mail Corporation has the latest in 3PL technology – technology is a priority investment for our business.
4. Are They Able to Leverage Deep Postal and Courier Discounts?
A key reason business engages a 3PL provider is to maximise postal and courier discounts. Because of volume, 3PL providers can often negotiate much cheaper freight rates than if a business was to handle its logistics in-house.
Direct Mail Corporation passes discounts back to businesses, but some 3PL providers may not. So make sure you check.
5. Will Effective 3PL Account Management Be Provided?
Sometimes, if you’re a little fish in a big pond, you don’t get the attention you deserve. 3PL account management, especially when you’re first starting out, is critical. Without end-to-end 3PL support, your logistics cannot run efficiently. No matter your size, you need someone in your 3PL managing product inventory, returns, and suggesting opportunities to improve your overall efficiency.
Direct Mail Corporation offers full account management to all its clients, from the largest brands through to the entrepreneur starting out in their growing business.
As you can see, there are many factors to consider when choosing a 3PL provider. Do your research. You are bringing a logistics partner into the heart of your business.
Learn more about Direct Mail Corporation’s 3PL services.