Turning to a third party logistics provider to simplify your shipping process? It’s a smart move.
With 3PL providers, you can streamline your business and be able to serve more end customers. But before you sign up for a 3PL provider, you need to be sure they can bring you what you need – including top quality customer service. Getting all of your questions asked, and being able to rely on a 3PL company when you need them is top priority.
The third-party logistics field has increased by leaps and bound in the last decade and, as a result, there are more choices than ever for your 3PL needs. Fortunately, due to legislation passed in 2013, it’s become more difficult for fraudulent brokers to flood the market. However, you still need to be careful as you make the decision to work with a 3PL company.
Here are three unique questions to consider as you look for a 3PL solution, or evaluate whether your current service is the right fit:
- Does your 3PL provider return your calls?
When you enter into a vendor relationship with a provider, you are putting the growth of your business in their hands. Both of your organizations will be working side by side in order to achieve your business goals. You need to know that they’ll be there for you. If you have a question, you should receive a timely response. Your 3PL service should offer a reliable customer service number with agents that can support you when you need it – especially as you get started with their services initially.
- What does your 3PL do best? Does it fit your needs?
Like most businesses, a 3PL company will excel in a certain aspect of the business. They may have started out in one mode and then expanded as their clients’ needs expanded. They might have more experience in flatbed shipping, global shipments or other specialties. Be sure to ask about the company’s mode and lane strengths. Where do they excel and does it match your needs?
- How does your 3PL company handle claims?
Although it’s a worst-case scenario that you might not want to consider, accidents happen. When claims occur, what is your 3PL company’s process? Some may carry insurance so that costs will be covered if need be – but it’s not a standard practice. Ask before you need to rely on this aspect of the shipping process.
Finding a 3PL company that offers top notch customer service, has experience in areas that you need and a process for handling claims is the best way to find a third party logistics company that will be a good fit for your company.