5 Questions You Must Ask When Picking a 3PL Fulfillment Provider
3rd party logistics is a process in which logistic services such as order fulfillment, warehousing, shipping and distribution are outsourced to a provider. 3PL is different for every business, since the logistics of a particular company can involve various supply chain functions. You may just want to outsource to a third party logistics company that handles warehouse storage or you might want one that can effectively process, pack and ship orders for your fulfillment operations. Whatever your business’s goals and needs are, you need to find a 3PL provider that can handle all the necessities of your supply chain, not just part of it.
Just like when you’re making other business arrangements and creating partnerships, it’s important to ask questions in order to find the right fit. Here are the top 5 questions you need to ask your potential 3PL provider so you end up selecting the best one for your business.
1. Does your company have a history of providing 3PL services?
This is probably the most important question you need to ask, since 3PL outsourcing is what you’re looking for. If the company has no track record of doing third party logistics services, then why would you offer them the bread and butter of your business? Are there client testimonials or reviews about their 3PL? How long have they been in business? Ask these type of questions and do your research before making any final arrangements.
2. How is your fulfillment company different than other 3PL providers?
Not every fulfillment provider is the same, which is why it’s your job to find out how your business will benefit from partnering with them. Some 3rd party logistics companies might have cheaper shipping and some might even offer Ecommerce integration to ensure a seamless order experience. Instead of focusing on what the 3PL company can do for you, ask yourself how your supply chain will prosper by choosing to do business with them.
3. Can you scale your operations to fit my business’s needs as it grows?
If you’re a business owner, you know that there will be unavoidable ups and downs at times. Your product or services might be in demand one day and then down the next. This is why finding a 3PL fulfillment provider that offers scalability is vital. The 3rd party logistics company you end up choosing should have a wide range of clients and experience servicing companies large and small. In essence, they should be trained professionals that know what to do in times of crisis and when there’s a spike in demand.
4. What technology do you have in place to help smooth out our Ecommerce fulfillment process?
Most of the time, businesses in search of a 3PL provider are looking for ways to improve operations and streamline their order fulfillment process. Be sure to ask whether or not they use specific technology or software that speeds up this process and makes order fulfillment easier. Order fulfillment software that integrates with your Ecommerce shopping cart is ideal, so find out if any similar systems exist within their services.
5. Do you only offer specific services or are you a one stop shop?
When trying to choose the right 3PL fulfillment company, it’s better to pick one that can handle a multitude of supply chain functions as opposed to just a few. Let’s say that you need order fulfillment services and custom kits made, but the 3PL you want to do business with doesn’t specialize in kitting services or doesn’t have a fulfillment team to pick and pack orders. Maybe you need the 3PL to handle all aspects of supply chain management, including order processing, pick and pack, warehouse storage, inventory management and Ecommerce integration. Find out what the 3PL company’s strengths and weaknesses are and how your business can kill multiple birds with one stone.
Learn more about how J.M. Field Fulfillment can help with all of your 3PL needs. Contact a representative today!