A 3PL is a third-party logistics company that a business hires to expand its shipping abilities. After all, a great shipping strategy is essential for keeping customers happy all year round. A 3PL may seem great on the surface, but it’s important to know how to make the most of the relationship with your 3PL.A good rapport can be more beneficial than you may realize. By knowing how to utilize your 3PL to the best of its abilities, you can build a better shipping system that benefits you and your customers.
Take a moment to read our comprehensive guide on the subject so you can hire a logistics partner who properly supports you from the moment a product is ordered to when it arrives at its destination.
When you’re looking for a 3PL, you want to find a company with your specific interests in mind at every step of the way. That said, you also have to understand the capabilities and responsibilities of a 3PL. One of the first things you should discuss with a potential logistics partner is proper expectations. For instance, what do you expect in terms of consistent updates from your 3PL?
Likewise, how fast do you expect to see results after hiring a 3PL? Are you aiming to prioritize domestic shipping, international shipping, or both? Suffice it to say that there are many potential topics to talk about. Discuss these details with the service provider before hiring them so both parties can have a clear understanding of what to expect from the get-go. Freight forwarding services are other examples of setting proper expectations.
For example, we offer freight forwarding services at Diversified Transportation Services, but this does not make us freight forwarders. We offer more comprehensive logistics assistance, and a part of that can mean working with freight forwarders to move your cargo efficiently. A 3PL works with multiple companies, so you’re likely not their sole client. Still, that doesn’t mean you deserve less than excellent service.
One of the best ways you can benefit from working with a 3PL is by expanding your company’s abilities with the service provider’s resources. If you partner with the right logistics expert, you will have access to a large inventory of transportation options, including trucks, planes, boats, and trains. This partnership ensures you have the means to plan the most efficient shipping strategy for your products.
Simply put, if you want to prioritize international shipping and meet a 3PL with access to planes but not boats, your shipping flexibility is narrower than it could be. International air cargo services are among the many services we provide to assist with an efficient shipping plan. Our ocean services can provide your business with an efficient form of international transportation when necessary.
Once you implement your 3PL’s available transportation and services, you can explore ways to optimize that process. For instance, maybe it’s time to adjust your packaging size to accommodate more products or reduce shipping costs; this is just one of the many details to focus on to make better use of your 3PL’s abilities. Either way, having a 3PL by your side ensures you always have an expert to help you down the right path.
Setting up routine updates with your 3PL is important because, as capable as they may be, they should never be left out of the loop. A 3PL is your partner for managing your cargo all over the world, and your needs may change throughout the year. For example, the shipping industry can become quite congested months before the holiday season due to the high volume of purchases. Thankfully, communicating with your 3PL before the holiday season gives you a way to put together an ideal plan.
This gives you plenty of time to assess how you can shift your shipping strategy to ensure that your products arrive on time and that your customers receive your products in time for the holidays. Another reason consistent communication with your logistics partner is essential is reducing costs. If you’re looking for ways to reduce costs during the shipping process, speak with your 3PL about inspecting the current shipping system to find inefficiencies. Disorganization can develop in various ways, from unnecessarily bulky packaging to outdated technology. Whatever the issue is, your 3PL can help you find a great plan for proceeding, but collaborating is key.
One of the key steps for learning how to make the most of the relationship with your 3PL is to listen to their feedback. To some, that may seem like a no-brainer. However, it’s easy to feel wary about making drastic changes to your current shipping strategy, even if it’s for the better. A business owner’s company is no small thing, so each change to the business model should be made carefully.
This detail is important for a 3PL to remember. Plus, business owners should keep in mind that being open to a 3PL’s ideas, as new as they may be, helps to find new ways to improve the equipment, shipping practices, and more factors.
It’s not about giving up complete control of your shipping process to someone else—it’s about finding experts you can trust and collaborate with effectively. The relationship between you and your 3PL should be collaborative because you must work toward the same goal—keeping your shipping efficient, reliable, and flexible.
Now that we’re at the end of this guide, you might wonder how you can start making the most out of the titular relationship right now. If you already have a 3PL partnership in place, use your guide to assess your relationship and how you want to utilize it more effectively. This is where communication comes in handy because you can start making changes ASAP, but it all comes down to what’s right for your company. If you aren’t currently working with a 3PL, partner with one today using the information above and make the most of the company’s resources immediately.
Whether you're a company looking to improve one facet of your supply chain, your entire supply chain, or simply looking for a transportation and logistics consultation, we can help.