How to Choose the Right 3PL Partner?

Plenty of third-party logistics companies want you to choose them.

And why not? That is how their business will survive.

However, in the supply chain industry, it is not necessarily about finding the best provider – it’s about finding the best Partner!

As is the truth with most industries, there is a lot of competition in supply chain management. This is going to leave you with several alternatives that are all capable of completing your shipments on time. So, considering all factors neutral, what separates a good 3PL company from a GREAT 3PL company?

Well, it comes down to management.

As this is not a decision a company should take lightly, let’s go through some indicators of stellar management and how that will translate into a win for your business!

ISO Certifications

3PL companies that commit to certification are making a statement. They are communicating their transparency and adherence to a value-based system over making a quick buck.

Certifications, like the ISO 9001:2015 standards, are a great place to start your research. Logistic companies that sport the ISO logo represent the best-known industry standards of today.

Addressing various aspects of quality management, ISO 9001:2015 ensures that your logistics partner, and their products, consistently meet their clientele’s needs.

3PL companies meeting the ISO regulations translate their extra value to yourself as a client. There will be less time spent in communication limbo. Issues are dealt with systematically. And you benefit from the continual improvement values instilled in the ISO 9001 standards.

Internal Transparency

Plenty of 3PL agreements are tarnished through poor communication and a lack of planning. The 3PL company you work with must be an open book.

We, by all means, are not suggesting you demand unfettered access to their proprietary information or trade secrets. But when it comes to meetings, timetables, and contracts, transparency is invaluable.

This is why emphasis should be placed on finding a partner over a provider.

A partner wants you to be in the loop and wants both of your businesses to grow.

Speak to other clients of each 3PL you’re evaluating. If they aren’t ecstatic about their results, reliability, and quality assurance, then that 3PL isn’t for you.

Partners in Protection

Coincidentally, the government can also help you spot a trustworthy logistics partner. Specifically, in Canada, the Partners in Protection (PiP) is a cooperative program between private companies and Canadian Border Services.

Helping to lower border risk and streamline deliveries, 3PL company’s gain pre-approved access by being recognized as a trusted trader.

Not only will your shipments be protected by a company that the government deems safe for our borders, but PiP also evaluates a company’s physical, infrastructural, and procedural security. Our country’s safety is your benefit as a partner.

After an assessment, successfully passed companies will also have access to Free and Secure Trade (FAST) lanes when crossing the border.

This means less layover at borders, which will help define your company as a dependable and efficient supplier.

SmartWay Transport Partnership

When choosing a 3PL company, it is often a good sign if they are part of Canada and the United States’ SmartWay Transportation Partnership.

As a North American-wide network, SmartWay is a voluntary program of like-minded professionals. Their goal is to keep the environmental impact of transportation industries to a minimum.

How will this benefit you as a client? In a lot of ways!

You get to participate in keeping our environments clean and healthy, while your 3PL partner utilizes less fuel. Peace of mind and reduced expenses. That is a win-win in our books.

On Budget

The last item on our list for stellar management is a biggie – your budget!

Sometimes, going over budget is inevitable. It is a crazy world out there when it comes to global shipping and variables quickly snowball.

However, if your 3PL company is consistently missing the mark, chances are their shipping network isn’t optimized.

If you are unsatisfied with how your 3PL is handling your budgetary concerns, Options Transportation can help you get back on track. Offering a variety of supply chain management solutions from warehousing and cross-docking to LTL and consolidations.

Contact us today to discuss your need for a real partner and we’ll custom tailor Options fit for you!