Selecting Third Party Logistics Providers Part 1: The Importance of Communication
When selecting third part logistics providers, time to consider differences in 3PL providers is an important decision for any shipper. In hopes of a mutually beneficial business partnership, it is important to make the right choice for your business. To do this there are many considerations to make. An important factor in the success of any relationship is communication. Before entrusting your valuable inventory to your third party logistics provider ask questions about how and when they communicate and what they need from you. Be sure to verify they have the capabilities to meet your needs – you can never be too prepared.
The first stage to selecting a 3PL provider is verifying reliability. You can do this by asking for references and talking to them directly, learning more about their real-world interactions. Using tools such as third party sites (Google, Yahoo, etc.) and viewing reviews and comments left by current and past customers will also provide you with a better understanding of a typical experience with the 3PL.
Next, verify what communication channels will be used and test how easy they are to use. It is important that your team can access data such as inventory levels, order status, shipment status, and invoices and have any questions about these items answered in a timely manner. Negotiating the timeliness of responses is important as well. Work together with your 3PL to determine priority levels and response times for each to ensure business disruptions are minimal.
Determining who may communicate via these set channels is also a factor to consider and discuss. Simplify communication between your teams by limiting the number of people accessing information and communicating on behalf of each party. These limitations can clarify communication, increase accuracy and response time.
Both parties must also communicate what information they think is important for the other to know. For example, the 3PL should know your needs, expectations, company character and any special cases that may occur. This will greatly assist in determining if they can take you on as a customer and what resources they will need to handle your inventory properly. In response, your 3PL should communicate to you their current capabilities and what type of inventory information they need to properly handle and process your inventory.
Lastly, make sure you and your potential third party logistics provider are speaking the same language. Clarify and unclear terminology in items such as your contract or inventory reports provided. This can lessen unnecessary layers of complexity. Keep your relationship simple and clear to help ensure a successful partnership.
To learn more about selecting a third party logistics provider for your business contact Wavelength Logistics experts today or visit our website www.wavelengthlogistics.com.