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How to Choose a 3PL Provider

If you’re a business currently looking for a 3PL provider, you may feel overwhelmed by the options. The world of 3PL providers has grown exponentially with the rise of online commerce and an overall increased demand in the supply chain. It’s easy to feel like your business may get lost in the flow of it all, and indeed there are some 3PL providers that don’t always deliver on their promises to their clients. So, what should you look out for when you choose to go with a 3PL?

  1. Choose a provider that has the facility that matches your needs

With so many different businesses and products, 3PL providers can offer a range of storage options. But that doesn’t mean each 3PL provider has all storage options. It may seem like a no-brainer, but you’ll want to ensure that the 3PL provider you partner with actually has the facility to store your product. If you need cold storage, bulk storage, etc., make sure to discuss this with your provider and ensure their facility meets your specific product needs.

  1. Choose a provider that utilizes proper warehouse management technology

A 3PL provider may have the space and proper conditions to store your product, but can they actually manage the storing of your product so things ship out on time and don’t get lost? Ensuring your 3PL provider utilizes an updated warehouse management system (WMS) will keep your product safe. There should be best practice processes for the warehouse workers to follow such as scanning barcodes when moving product, and more. You can also consider the overall scale of the 3PL provider. If you want direct communication about your product and personalized customer service, a smaller 3PL provider may have a better chance of delivering on those expectations than a large scale provider.

  1. Choose a 3PL provider that has clear rates

This one is fairly straightforward. As someone running a business, you know how important it is to understand where every dollar is going. Make sure you can easily access the rate sheets, that there are no gray areas of costs and services, and that there are clear service level agreements (SLA) for ship times and error rates.

With these main tips in mind, you can know what to look out for to pick the 3PL provider that fits your business’s needs.

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