From a logistics standpoint the world is evolving faster every day. For example, there are tremendous pressures such as costs constraints, new tastes or requirements to be fulfilled and warehouse operations aren’t exempt from these complexities. Therefore, your third party logistics, or 3PL, provider is not the same as two generations ago when logistics solely meant warehousing and trucking. Today, a 3PL provides such a wide range of services that it becomes key in your profit and loss statement.

Selecting the right 3PL becomes a key task within your organization. You need to consider the full spectrum of knowledge on the topic while setting the parameters for that selection. This covers everything from the role of the warehouse and detailed information on picking, packing, shipping, invoicing process as well as on sustainability, outsourcing, performance management, and the warehouse of the future you have envisioned to accompany your strategic organic growth.

While keeping costs low is essential, the cheapest provider may not be the best provider. It is important to consider whether your provider uses quality carriers with experience, whether they have verified insurance and respectable safety ratings. They must work as an extension of your business and be in line with your organization’s goals and initiatives.

If your business involves importing or exporting, having a 3PL that is also an international freight forwarder and Customs broker is of great benefit. Through one point of contact, you will be able to combine and address all your supply chain and international shipping needs. By releasing a purchase order, your 3PL would arrange the correct documentation, customs clearance, and door-to-door delivery of your product. The more services your 3PL can provide across your international freight, warehousing and customs needs, the less expenditure and time you would spend in transit. The effects trickle down and make a difference to your customer satisfaction too.

Questions to consider when picking a 3PL provider:

Do they manage their warehouse effectively? Its efficient management is critical for minimizing cost and contributing to an effective and efficient supply chain.

Do they have the right technology to keep up with my demands and offer me the greatest potential for optimization? For example, can they create branded packing slips and handle reverse logistics?

Do they cover gaps in my knowledge of the supply chain?

Which region is my provider an expert in? What is their reputation and track record like?

Can the 3PL efficiently scale their operations to the changing needs of my business, whether it is a sudden spike in demand or a need to minimize costs immediately?

Can they provide personalized supply chain solutions? This could range from the right shelving and pallet storage to product packaging labels.

Are there governance mechanisms to manage my business and keep the collaboration on track?

The value a 3PL provides cannot be understated. ILC works hard so that you can focus on what you do best. Our success is based on the belief that a 3PL provider must not only be cost-effective but must also effectively use technology to create customer value. With the complexities that exist today, our consulting team can help you navigate each stage of the supply chain with strategic methodologies for solutions in line with your goals. The right 3PL can be a critical asset in creating a sustainable advantage for your organization.