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What To Consider When Choosing A 3PL

11/21/2017

The demand for 3PL services has been growing rapidly and the market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of more than 4.6 percent. With demand growing,  one of the most frequently asked supply chain management questions is how to pick a 3PL. Since 3PL solutions and technology vary widely, it can be difficult.

 

Why Do You Need a 3PL?

There are many pressing business reasons fueling the demand for 3PL services. Among them:

  • Supply chains require expertise, and many companies find it is more cost effective to rely on an established 3PL than to create a solution on their own.
  • Rising freight costs have driven many companies to seek tools to manage these costs more effectively.
  • Customers demand on-time service performance, forcing companies to manage risk better and adopt more efficient processes.

These are just a few of the concerns that may cause a company to recognize the need to work with a 3PL. The next step is how to pick the right 3PL for your business.

 

Selection Criteria:

Location

First, be sure to check that the 3PL you are considering operates in the regions or countries where you need service. Large companies may have the staff to deal with multiple 3PLs by region, but if you don’t have this luxury, be sure the 3PL you consider has a local presence wherever you operate.

Best-in-class Visibility Technology

One of the most important aspects of working with a 3PL is its ability to provide end-to-end visibility across your entire supply chain. The 3PLs you consider should be able to provide alerts for shipment exceptions, easy integration with your enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management solutions. Additionally, they should use advanced reporting tools that give a holistic view of your network.

Transportation Solutions

A good 3PL works with a variety of carriers and shipping modes. Your chosen 3PL should demonstrate familiarity with truckload, less than truckload, and intermodal shipments and have strong relationships with carriers in all regions where you operate. The 3PL should also be able to leverage these relationships to secure the best pricing with negotiated rates. In turn, the 3PL should have the tools to optimize your shipments within your own network or with another client. In addition, a dedicated account team can act as an extension of your supply chain team and ensure you get immediate communication if any problems arise.

Proven Cost Savings

3PLs are hired to save time and money. Ask prospective companies how they’ve saved their clients money in the past and get into the details.  A good 3PL should know the numbers and be proud to talk about their achievements.  Also, ask the 3PL to provide references to hear about current experiences directly from the voice of the customer.

Strategic Modeling

Supply chain risk management is becoming a more critical issue in many industries. Your 3PL should be able to provide you with strategic analysis and network modeling to help you make decisions.  With a consultative view of your supply chain, the best 3PLs can recommend better shipping routes, new carriers, opportunities for optimization, crossdocks, locations for DCs, warehouses and stores, and plans to deal with supply interruptions.

Business Intelligence Capabilities

The majority of 3PLs fall short on reporting. While you may have access to the information you need, the 3PL is not providing it proactively or explaining the meaning behind the data.  Ask about routinely provided reports as well as ad hoc 3PL reporting.

 

The Unyson Solution

If you are searching for a new 3PL provider, you can’t do better than Unyson. We understand that our mission is to save you money while ensuring your customers get their orders on time. We will do everything in our power to make that mission come to life. We have industry-leading technology that drives cost efficiencies and true end-to-end visibility managed by our experienced dedicated team members that are the best in the business. Thanks to our strong carrier relationships and market spend, we have the ability to provide competitive pricing and secured capacity for truckload, less-than-truckload and intermodal shipments.Moreover, we have the business intelligence reporting capabilities that are among the best in the industry, and we provide strategic modeling and analytics to help you manage risk and fine-tune performance.

At Unyson, we have created a culture that is aligned with our customers and savings and service is king.  The customer is the Boss and we will go the extra mile to ensure your success. Contact us today!

 

Kyle Hugo

Vice President, Business Development

khugo@unyson.com