If you are running an e-commerce business and finding it difficult to deliver your orders on time with your own fleet, then it is the time to hire third-party logistics providers or 3PL. A 3PL is a company that manages everything related to your business logistics to provide smooth, timely, and transparent transportation of goods from your warehouse/hub to customers’ place. It may provide various logistics services including warehouse management, transportation, and order fulfilment.
If you think your business may need such a provider then this article is worth a read. Here, we have mentioned seven significant points that you should consider before partnering with a third-party logistics provider.
7 Factors to consider when partnering with a 3PL provider
1. Know their capability
2. Check for the scalability
3. Take a tour of their facilities
4. Check their safety and security measures
5. Are they responsive?
6. Check what technologies they use
7. Look into their experience and clientele
Now, let’s read these factors in detail:
Know their capability
Make sure the third-party logistics partner you are going to choose is capable of handling the type of logistics operations your business requires. Also, confirm whether the partner uses such systems or 3PL software that can be smoothly integrated to your warehouse management and order management system, and also provides you with an interface or dashboard to control and monitor various tasks.
Check for the scalability
Scalability is one of the important factors to consider when it comes to hiring a third-party logistics partner. Your business’s logistics needs might change with time. Therefore, you have to make sure that the company you are choosing for managing your logistics can cope with the changing logistics requirements. For example, during the sale or festive season, you might expect more orders than usual; therefore, the company should have that much manpower as well as fleet to continue order fulfilment without any pause or delay.
Take a tour of their facilities
By connecting and communicating with a 3PL, you will only get to know about the culture and environment of their company. But this is not the only thing you have to consider before selecting a 3PL to fulfil your business logistics requirements. To understand how they keep your products in their hub or warehouse while it is in transit.
Check their safety and security measures
Not every product requires the same kind of handling. Therefore, check with the 3PL whether they are able to handle different types of products. Also, confirm if they have the right type of vehicles for delivering such products or not. For example, if you are into selling frozen goods, then make sure the partner has such vehicles that can maintain the required temperature while the goods are in transit. Ask the 3PL partner about the measures they opt for the safety and security of your products.
Are they responsive?
Being responsive doesn’t mean to check how the 3PL provider fulfils your orders. Rather, it means how they deal with the problems that arise during the fulfilment of the orders. To ensure the same, ask them questions like-
· How do they deal with the logistics disruptions?
· What do they do in case of a change in the delivery address, the volume of orders, and stock levels?
· What measures do they opt for tracking orders?
Apart from this, ask your 3PL partner about the communication medium or software they use for communicating with their clients.
Check what technologies they use
Managing logistics management these days cannot be solely done by a human. 3PL providers need a third-party logistics system or software to streamline every process involved from transporting goods from the source to the destination. Check whether the 3PL you are going to choose use any advanced logistics management software or not.
Look into their experience and clientele
Check for how long the third-party logistics partner is in business. Also, look for the kind of services they offer to other clients. Make sure you choose a 3PL provider with a good market reputation. Look into their previous and existing clients to have an idea of their work and logistics management. You can also check the feedback submitted by their clients.
How to manage your 3PL?
So you have hired multiple third-party logistics providers after considering the points given in this article. What would you do now? How will you manage them all? Will you hire a team of professionals to connect and communicate with your 3PLs to track your orders? You can certainly do this; however, this might cost you a lot because you will have to pay salaries to those professionals. Moreover, it might not guarantee precision.
What to do then? Well, you can get Shipsy’s 3PL aggregator platform and manage multiple delivery partners under a single roof. You can do unified tracking, check carrier performance, track orders in real-time, and digitize many other operations that would otherwise require huge manpower and time.