Be Choosy About Your 3PL

The life of a small or mid-sized business owner is filled with a dizzying array of daily choices. From major contracts to be signed down to the type of soap to stock in the bathroom, the decisions (and headaches) never seem to stop!

As you time-share your brain with your many business duties, don’t skimp on the time you spend considering a major decision: Which third-party logistics provider (3PL) are you going to use?

A well-chosen 3PL is an invaluable partner in your quest to provide your customers with outstanding service while still controlling your costs and minimizing your time investment in your shipping. Unishippers’ CEO Dan Lockwood contributed an informative article on this topic to Inbound Logistics magazine.

Here are some quick tips to consider when you are selecting your 3PL:

1. Consider choice and cost savings. The right 3PL will have negotiated an outstanding array of carrier options for you at prices that you would not be able to obtain on your own.

2. Assess their invoice options. The convenience of having all of your shipping handled through a single 3PL that distills the complex invoicing process from shipping through multiple carriers into one easy-to-understand invoice can’t be overstated.

3. Determine if they know you and your business. A great 3PL is a true partner that has you and your business’ best interests in mind constantly. The right 3PL knows your business inside and out and can quickly resolve claims, lost shipments, insurance issues, and other problems.

4. Make sure they have terrific technology. A top-tier 3PL will offer a comprehensive online transportation management system (TMS). This powerful solution can give you at-a-glance cost and transit time comparisons, tracking tools, instant invoice visibility, one-step conversion of quotes to bills of lading, and much more.

To sum it all up, the right 3PL will give you value, value, and more value! Doing your homework and selecting the perfect 3PL partner for your business is some of the most valuable time you’ll spend.