Here are a few things to look out for when choosing a 3PL provider

 

1. Location

The location that your products are sent to should be close to your target customers. Transportation costs are based on distances, and small parcels are generally much more expensive than bulk. Therefore, having a warehouse that is close to your customers can greatly reduce costs. In addition, smaller distances mean lower shipping times. Being able to quickly deliver products to your customers is great for your reputation because faster is better.

 

2. Warehouse conditions

Some warehouses have better management than others, and it is easy to determine this by simply visiting. So, if possible, always go to the warehouse and see the conditions for yourself beforehand. Inspect the cleanliness and the organization of the warehouse thoroughly. Better conditions often indicate the place is under good management. In addition, check to see if there are any damages to their existing products to gauge how careful they will be with your products.

 

3. Visibility

Some companies offer great online solutions to track your inventory and even allow you to submit shipments online. Knowing when your inventories are low is critical in supplying your 3PL warehouse with new shipments to reduce delays for you customers.

 

4. Other capabilities of the warehouse

Some warehouses have their own freight forwarder and/or customs broker. Having these other capabilities allows you with a more convenient way to group all the logistics needs together. Instead of having to find your own method to clear customs or deliver to the warehouse, simply let them take care of it. The costs would most of the time be better as well. So, ask the warehouse if they have other inhouse capabilities.

 

5. Responsiveness

Is the service provider easily reachable? Sending an urgent email only to have no response for a few days or weeks can be a nightmare. Make sure the warehouse has enough staff and is easily reachable. Once a shipment lands in a railyard in CN, storage starts after 2 business days. If you cannot reach the warehouse for them to arrange pick up, storage fees, and trucker wait times can quickly rack up.