Hiring a 3PL is a great way to save time, money and resources so you can focus on your business. However, finding the right 3PL can seem daunting and complicated. Rest assured, we’ve provided you with a quick rundown of what you should be looking for.
- Warehouse Size: How big is their warehouse? Do they have room for expansion in the case of large output periods or company growth? Be sure that they can not only keep up with the pace of your business but expand as necessary to keep up with your growth.
- Variety of Services: Do they offer fleet and freight brokerage? What other types of services do they offer? It’s important to get a run-down of what services are and aren’t covered by the 3PL company of your choosing. The more services a single 3PL company can provide, the more you can save on costs and time trying to track down multiple companies to handle what you need.
- Pricing: How do they present their pricing? Is there a statement of work? Are there annual increases? When choosing a 3PL company, it’s important to note how and when you will be billed—and that you’re getting a good deal. Beyond that, making sure the agreement is recorded and signed is a crucial step to prevent any miscommunications or potential problems down the road.
- Documentation: Is there proper and sufficient documentation? When signing off on a 3PL company, be sure that they provide you with the documentation that you need for your records. This step goes hand-in-hand with pricing and statements of work. The right 3PL partner should provide you with a written document of what work will be done, when it will be completed, and what contingencies are in place should anything unexpected happen.
- Technology: How old is their equipment? How knowledgeable are they on current freighting and brokerage trends? What do their data tools and management program look like? Choosing a 3PL is one of the biggest choices you will make for your company—make sure they are current on trends and equipment, and run the place like a modern warehouse. In the fast-paced world of freighting and brokerage, there’s no time to waste on slow machinery or outdated technology.
- Experience: How long have they been in the industry? What’s their reputation? Check out their website, LinkedIn, Yelp, and any other places where you can find listings of their past and present clients, and, even more importantly, reviews of their services. If you can only see their clients but no reviews, try contacting some of those clients to see if they’ll tell you about their experience. Hearing first-hand from a company that has worked with the 3PL you’re interested in will give you an objective perspective that you can weigh against other contenders. At the end of the day, you want a seasoned group of logistics planners who are ready for anything, not a team figuring things out on the fly.
- Readiness and Preparation: Do they have a showcased plan for any problems? Are they prepared for disasters? Even though disaster may be the last thing on your mind, it’s still very important to consider. When speaking to prospective 3PL agencies, ask about their disaster contingency plans. Can they tell you about a time when they had to respond to a crisis? The agency that has been through unexpected bumps along the road, and is proactively addressing them, is the one you want on your team.
Ultimately, when choosing a 3PL, it all comes down to trust. Do you feel that they will be genuinely there for your business? Are they knowledgeable, accommodating, and willing to help? Adcco’s experience in freighting and brokerage services, as well as our years of experience and industry recognition, can help redefine your company as a whole. We consider ourselves part of your team—your outsourced transportation and logistics department—and treat your issues with the same care and consideration that we would treat our own.
Looking for a 3PL solution? Adcco & Spinning Wheels Express is your one-stop-shop for all of your brokerage and freighting needs. Give us a call or reach out today for more information about how we can help you!