Best Practices for Working with a 3PL Provider

Consumers and businesses rely on trucks getting shipments from one place to another in a timely manner. To make sure that happens, most companies work with third-party logistics (3PL) providers. With these services, shippers have the confidence of knowing operations will run like clockwork, freeing them up to focus on other things.

If your shipping organization is considering working with a 3PL provider, there are a few things to keep in mind. Here are a few best practices you should take into consideration to ensure your partnership with a third-party provider is a successful one.

Choose the Right Provider

A lasting, satisfying relationship with a 3PL provider begins with knowing what you need. When you have clearly-defined requirements from the outset, you’ll be more likely to find a partner who is a perfect fit. If you prefer everything be automated, include this in your requirements. You should also be able to find a 3PL provider that is extremely familiar with the logistics needs of your industry, as well as the region in which you’ll primarily be traveling. This in-depth knowledge can make all of the difference in tailoring a system that meets your needs.

 Define Expectations

Once you’ve chosen a provider, clearly outline your expectations from the start. You should ensure you’re in agreement about processes, tracking, and the key metrics you’ll need to make fully-informed decisions moving forward. Discuss how billing will work and make sure you set up your system to work in coordination with your provider’s system. By setting up these expectations on the front end, you’ll be able to get your working relationship off to a positive, productive start.

Communicate Regularly

Even with the technology that is in place today, business partners must communicate regularly to be successful. Set up regular check-in meetings with your 3PL provider to discuss any concerns that exist on either side. This communication schedule should be detailed in your MSA to show that you take it seriously. You should specify not only how often you expect to communicate but how the communication should occur, whether by teleconference, videoconference, or an in-person meeting.

Reduce Risk

One of your biggest concerns is that one of your shipments will become damaged or lost. Your 3PL provider should have a risk mitigation plan in place for each of its customers. Review this plan and make adjustments as necessary. What happens if a section of the company is impacted by weather-based challenges like snowstorms or a major earthquake? How would a flu epidemic impact your fleet? Your 3PL provider can walk you through a possible Plan B for each situation to help you plan.

When your business partners with a 3PL provider, you’ll likely be able to take your business to the next level. By choosing your provider carefully and outlining what you expect from the relationship, you’ll avoid any unpleasant surprises and keep your business on track.

If you are researching 3PL services, contact the experienced staff at SAV Transportation Group. Initially founded in 1987, SAV is an asset-based 3PL that provides strategic sourcing, supply chain strategy and a variety of mode-management solutions. SAV also operates an independent fleet, a comprehensive brokerage and a progressive e-commerce division and are a direct provider of Truckload, Partial Truckload and Less-than-truckload (LTL) services.