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Smart WarehousingNov 10, 2023 10:00:00 AM4 min read

Six Things To Look for in a 3PL Partner


A third party logistics provider (3PL) can be a valuable asset for your business, helping you increase efficiency, reduce costs, and deliver a strong customer experience. Outsourcing your logistics to a 3PL will allow you to focus internal business initiatives on high-level activities (Think: sales and marketing). And while you’re running your business, your 3PL will ensure all your supply chain management needs are carried out seamlessly and successfully.


So, the question is: what factors should you take into consideration when searching for a 3PL? Here are six things to look for when choosing the right 3PL partner for your business. 


They Offer Personalized Solutions & Attention

Every business has its own unique goals, initiatives, and challenges. It’s crucial to align yourself with a 3PL provider that’s invested in understanding your business and can propose solutions tailored to your needs. The right fulfillment partner will have extensive experience, providing omnichannel solutions focused on bolstering customer loyalty and retention. 


Customization is also an imperative piece of driving brand awareness, so be sure to look for a 3PL that offers custom packaging and inserts. Think about it: if you weave branding into your order fulfillment process, this creates a sense of personalization and lend to a positive customer experience. 


The level of personalization customers expect from your business is the same as you should expect from your 3PL. The right 3PL partner will focus on building a thriving relationship with your business – ensuring everything from your goals to your challenges are actively being discussed and incorporated into your strategy. What’s more, they will value communication and work to quickly resolve any issues that may arise.


Their Reputation Speaks for Itself

There’s simply no substitute for a strong professional reputation. It says everything you need to know about a business. Think about it: would you want to align yourself with a 3PL that has nothing but negative reviews and disgruntled customers? We hope not. When searching for a 3PL, make sure they can provide references that span all their relationships – vendors, customers, employees, and carriers. A 3PL that’s well-respected within their field can be incredibly beneficial for your business as they’ll have a vast network of connections they can call upon to both further your goals as well as mitigate any issues that may arise. And don’t forget, a solid reputation typically comes with longevity and industry experience. 


They Offer Innovative Technology

A forward-thinking 3PL provider will understand the importance technology plays in handling the complexities of logistics and optimizing the supply chain. Look for a 3PL partner that harnesses the power of data and automation to streamline and improve your fulfillment and logistics processes. More importantly, you’ll want to work with a 3PL that can easily integrate with your current technology stack to ensure visibility and cohesiveness. From stock replenishment to warehouse management software, a 3PL who actively invests in technology will ensure you maintain a competitive edge and have the data needed to make smart business decisions. 

They Can Help You Scale

A successful partnership with a 3PL is one that looks beyond what they can offer you today. It’s imperative to have a 3PL equipped with the tools needed to help you scale. After all, how can you effectively grow your business if your 3PL can’t keep up? The right 3PL partner will have the necessary systems in place to help you scale more quickly while minimizing growing pains. 


Some questions to ask yourself: As your sales increase, can the 3PL easily increase the volume of products it manages during warehousing and fulfillment? If your business decides to expand into new markets, does the 3PL have warehousing locations to accommodate your new customers? The bottom line is if you’re looking to grow your business, you need a 3PL that can empower you to do so. 

They Place an Emphasis on Security

There are so many moving parts in the intricate world of logistics. One facet that’s often overlooked, yet crucial to your business, is data protection. It’s vital to look for a 3PL that understands the gravity of security and has systems in place to protect sensitive data and financial information. The 3PL should be able to provide you with data security certifications – something that is simply a non-negotiable in today’s technology-driven landscape. 

They Have Stats to Back Up Their Success

Without order accuracy, you can’t expect to drive repeat business and customer loyalty. Because, let’s face it, your customers won’t be happy if their shipments are delayed or they receive the wrong order. It’s important to seek out a 3PL with a reputation for accuracy across the supply chain – from order placement and inventory management to picking/packing and shipping. 


Don’t settle for anything less than a 99% inventory and order accuracy rate. What’s more, be sure to speak to their references about crisis management. How do they respond when an issue or challenge surfaces? Do they make things right when an error occurs? Are they responsive and offer a speedy resolution? All of these things can greatly impact your bottom line over time, so you’ll want to take them into consideration before signing on the dotted line. 


Your 3PL Partner for All Your Supply Chain Needs

The right 3PL partner will serve as an extension of your team. At Smart Warehousing, we invest time in understanding your business – its needs, challenges, and goals – and developing customized solutions that can help move you forward. From order placement through delivery, we’re dedicated to helping your business grow while strengthening the customer experience. With 38 warehouses located across the country, we can place products closer to your customers to reduce shipping costs and speed up delivery times. 

To learn more about our technology, solutions, and what Smart Warehousing can do for you, contact our team today.