5 Tips Toward Choosing the Right 3PL
Whether your business is a booming international manufacturing company or a brand-new startup, a strong 3PL is a key transportation partner to aid in your business’s success. Finding the right 3PL will help streamline your shipping, receiving, and overall logistics operations. While a simple Google search will deliver hundreds of options for you to sift through, we at C.L. Services, have a few specific tips to help you find the right carrier.
1. Research… & Make it Thorough!
Search engines like Google simplified the task of searching for literally anything. They are also a great tool to use when searching for an experienced 3PL. The first thing you should do is research providers who serve your specific industry. A good way to do this simply searches “3PL for (specific industry)”. While Google can be a godsend when it comes to finding a 3PL, simply relying on the top results may not be the best approach. Make sure you put in the time to research these providers to ensure that they suit your needs. Some things to investigate are their experience, history, and references. Check reviews and feedback online to hear what other customers have to say about the different 3PLs. On the other hand, do further research into your company’s needs. It’s very important that the commodity, quantity and frequency of loads, locations for origins and destinations, and other key factors, align with the carrier’s capabilities.
2. Confirm Their Services.
Some 3PLs are diversified in their service offerings, while certain 3PLs specialize in a specific industry or function. Examples of other offerings are transportation or freight management, warehousing, distribution management, and freight consolidation. There are a handful of 3PLs that specialize in less than truckloads and who are experts in overseas shipping and air freight. Location is an obvious factor to keep in mind; where do the trucks run and what areas are that 3PL’s “bread and butter?” Because of the variation, it’s imperative to deeply investigate the facts regarding their preferred lanes and regions. No matter what the 3PL may specialize in, it is important to verify that they offer all the services you require, not just today, but for the future as well.
3. Review Their Certifications and References.
Now that you have found one or a few optimal 3PL providers and confirmed their services, it is time to verify that they are a licensed broker through the FMCSA. On top of that, it is important to make sure that they have the correct insurance, bonding, and safety standards needed to complete your loads. Something to keep in mind is that these 3PLs are representing your company, so make sure that you find one with the same ethical standards as you, in addition to having all the certifications and licenses required.
4. Ask About Their Claims and Insurance Process.
When you have narrowed down your list to a few select carriers, you should begin questioning them on how they go about protecting your assets. A successful 3PL will have an extensive but easy–to–understand process for setting up insurance and filing damage claims if they occur.
5. Test Their Communication.
Lastly, it important to test providers’ communication standards and practices. Many are skilled at telling you exactly what you want to hear when you are in the interview process. However, the way that they communicate once that process is over, it what is truly important. This is an indicator of how they will act on your behalf. It is pertinent to ensure that they are using platforms that make communication for shipment planning easier. Do not be afraid to ask the 3PL to customize something for you.
Many 3PLs look good on the surface, but when you dig a little deeper you will begin to weed out some of these providers. The top 3PLs will be honest, ethical, and transparent with their clients. Be sure to ask the questions regarding the above topics when finding your provider, to guarantee that they fit your needs. 3PLs are there to serve your company, and you are paying them to do so, so it is authorized to be picky when it comes to who you choose.
When it comes to choosing the right 3PL, look no further than C.L. Services. With over 20 years’ experience, state-of-the-art technology and our signature Prosponsive approach to business and ethics, we are the clear choice for your transportation needs. Fill out the form below to get in touch with one of our in-house logistics experts to see how our you can streamline your shipping strategy and take control of your supply chain.