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Evaluating Potential 3PL Logistics Providers and What You Should Be Looking For

If your supply chain is going to involve a logistics company, properly vetting that company will determine whether or not your supply chain adds value or just hobbles along.

Linkex Resources

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  • LinkEx is a non-asset based logistics and transportation management company that is customer driven to provide multi-modal transportation and supply chain management solutions to a variety of customers, both domestic and international. At LinkEx, our goal is to provide best-in-class logistics services…

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An efficient, uninterrupted supply chain is the bedrock of creating a successful company. It permits every other operation to press ahead at full steam without concern for being held back by stuttering operations.

If your supply chain is going to involve a logistics company, properly vetting that company will determine whether or not your supply chain adds value or hobbles along. The tips below will give you a solid benchmark of what you should be looking for from a 3PL.

Scalability
First and foremost, can the 3PL efficiently scale their operations to fit your changing needs?

Bi-directional scalability directly influences how efficient your supply chain will be. You’re doubtlessly striving to grow your company, but the fact remains that there will be ups and downs to business. Demand might contract for any number of reasons. You need a 3PL that can rapidly scale down the processes within your supply chain.

Conversely, you also need a logistics provider that can handle sudden spikes in demand without skipping a beat. Growing pains happen for everyone, but if you find a 3PL that has already experienced them with another company, you’ll spare yourself the brunt of the problems.

Find a 3PL that already has clients both larger and smaller than your organization. A 3PL that can scale will constantly be making small adjustments, e.g. aggregating or multiplying shipments, as your requirements move in one direction.

Technology Platform Innovation
Shipping and procurement might seem like low-tech pieces of your operations, but logistics providers live and die by the efficiency that they deliver. Having a state of the art technology platform backing up their business gives them the best chance for optimization.

Cloud integrated platforms have recently come to prominence and are affording logistics companies radical new capabilities and capacities for control. A solid 3PL will have cutting edge system that allows them to give you real-time feedback on your freight and supply chain operations.

Comprehensive Transportation and Warehousing Options
Whether you’re working with an asset-based or nonasset-based logistics provider, there should be a plethora of shipping and warehousing options available to your operations.

Options create opportunity within your supply chain. The more options that a logistics provider can deliver, the greater the chance that they will be able to select the lowest cost provision. In line with the last point, an effective technology platform is essential to managing a large number of options, teasing out the most efficient, and implementing it quickly.

Payment History & Financial Stability
Having your 3PL suddenly fall apart could be one of the most devastating challenges your company faces. Finding a partner that has proven their financial stability will at least keep your operations from being brought to a screeching halt as you attempt to recover from someone else’s mismanagement.

While evaluating your top logistics candidates, ask for a list of partners and enquire about their history with the provider. Have they consistently made payments? Has their ever been disagreement or lack of follow through from the company?

How a logistics provider handles their partners will be a good indication of how they will handle your business and talking to their partners might give you a clearer picture than talking to their hand picked list of references.

Proven Track Record
Going beyond the finances of a potential logistics provider, what is their overall track record like? Are they known for being a state of the art company? Do they have multiple long-term clients?

As a service oriented business, the reputation of a logistics provider will speak volumes as to the efficiency and reliability that you can expect.

Excellent Industry References
The references you have for a logistics provider should not be good or passable; they should be adulatory. For a logistics provider to be worth your time, their clients should hesitate to speak volumes on their security, reliability, and flexibility. Clients should rave about the results they have delivered.

Furthermore, references should be able to speak to the character and culture of the provider. Whether good or service oriented, companies should be delivering a higher value proposition than simple efficiency.

Efficient companies might get the job done, but it’s questionable how far they will go on the final mile. Look for a logistics provider that is known for their character, for why they operate rather than how.

The due diligence you go through in evaluating a logistics company should be some of the most stringent you apply to any service provider. They will control a crucial piece of your operations: will they use it to contribute to your success or hamper your progress?

Jamie Wyatt is Chief Operating Officer at Linkex logistics (a non-asset based logistics and transportation management company).


Article Topics
Best Practices   Transportation   Third Party Logistics   3PL   Third Party Logistics   All topics


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24|7 Pro Team

The 24|7 Team is your direct pipeline to solutions for your business challenges. It's your opportunity to have supply chain and logistics experts look at your specific challenges and needs, and give you free, no-obligation advice, solutions, and information.

The 24|7 Team will simplify the task of creating a database of likely partners, building your knowledge base, and preparing your Request for Proposal list.

1
  Choose a topic for your RFP

Transportation RFP/RFI

The Transportation RFP is your direct pipeline to solutions for your transportation challenges. It's your opportunity to have logistics experts look at your specific transportation challenges and needs, and give you free, no-obligation advice, solutions, and information specific to your request.

Choosing the perfect software or system can be an indomitable challenge. Using this transportation/TMS RFP will simplify the task of creating a database of likely partners, building your knowledge base, and preparing your Request for Proposal list.

Warehouse/DC Management RFP/RFI

The Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) RFP is your direct pipeline to solutions for your WMS challenges. It's your opportunity to have logistics experts look at your specific WMS challenges and needs, and give you free, no-obligation advice, solutions, and information specific to your request.

Choosing the perfect WMS solution can be an indomitable challenge. Using this WMS RFP will simplify the task of creating a database of likely partners, building your knowledge base, and preparing your WMS Request for Proposal list.

Supply Chain RFP/RFI

The Supply Chain RFP is your opportunity to have logistics experts look at your specific challenges and needs, and receive free, no-obligation advice, solutions, and information. It simplifies finding a pool of likely partners, building your knowledge base, and preparing your Request for Proposal list. The companies in the Logistics Planner have agreed to respond to your request for in-depth information and follow-up, and your request is totally confidential.

Software/Technology RFP/RFI

The Software/Technology is your direct pipeline to solutions for your logistics information technology challenges. It's your opportunity to have logistics experts look at your specific technology challenges and needs, and give you free, no-obligation advice, solutions, and information specific to your request. Whether it's WMS, TMS, Mobile or Cloud, our pros can help.

The companies listed below have agreed to respond to your request for in-depth information and follow-up. Your request is totally confidential.

Executive Education RFI

The Logistics and Supply Chain Education RFI can help you identify the schools, coursework, continuing education, distance learning and certification opportunities available from leading logistics educational institutions.

Upgrade and improve your logistics and supply chain skillsets. Whatever route you choose—advanced degree, executive education, certification or distance learning—the time and money you invest in your education today can pay off in continued career success tomorrow. Contact leading universities and professional institutions for the information you need to prepare for the future.

Third Party Logistics RFP/RFI

This 3PL Request for Proposal (RFP)/Request for Information (RFI) can help you find the 3PL and 4PL providers that can meet your specific 3PL service challenges and needs. The 3PL companies below will provide free, no-obligation third-party logistics advice, solutions, and information.

Ask your 3PL questions, you'll get answers. Simply complete the information, and detail your 3PL challenges. Then, check off the third-party logistics companies that you want to review your request.

1. Choose an RFI topic.
2. Enter your contact information and challenge.
3. Select companies and optional categories.
4. Submit.


2

Your Information



Your Challenge, Problem or Request *

3

Select Transportation Companies

  • Select All

  • 3Gtms
  • BluJay Solutions
  • CSX Trans. Intermodal
  • Kuebix
  • Landstar
  • Legacy Supply Chain Svs.
  • One Network
  • Pitt Ohio
  • Purolator
  • Quintiq
  • SEKO Logistics
  • SMC3


Select Relevent Categories

  • Air Freight
  • Intermodal
  • Motor Freight
  • Ocean Freight
  • Rail Freight
  • TMS

Select Warehouse/DC Management Companies

  • Select All

  • 3PL Central
  • Apex Supply Chain Tech.
  • Honeywell Intelligrated
  • Kuebix
  • Legacy Supply Chain Svs.
  • Swisslog
  • Westfalia Technologies
  • Zebra Technologies


Select Relevent Categories

  • Auto ID & Data Capture
  • Automation
  • Conveyors & Sortation
  • Lift Trucks
  • Packaging & Labeling
  • Pallets & Containers
  • Shelving & Racking
  • WMS

Select Supply Chain Companies

  • Select All

  • 3Gtms
  • 3PL Central
  • Amber Road
  • Apex Supply Chain Tech.
  • APICS
  • BluJay Solutions
  • CSX Trans. Intermodal
  • Frontier Business
  • Kuebix
  • Legacy Supply Chain Svs.
  • Logility
  • One Network
  • Purolator
  • Quintiq
  • SMC3
  • Synchrono
  • TAKE Supply Chain
  • Westfalia Technologies
  • Zebra Technologies


Select Relevent Categories

  • Global Trade
  • Inventory Management
  • Risk Management
  • Sustainability

Select Software/Technology Companies

  • Select All

  • 3GTMS
  • 3PL Central
  • Apex Supply Chain Tech.
  • BluJay Solutions
  • Honeywell Intelligrated
  • Frontier Business
  • Kuebix
  • Logility
  • One Network
  • Quintiq
  • SMC3
  • Swisslog Logistics
  • Synchrono
  • TAKE Supply Chain
  • Zebra Technologies


Select Relevent Categories

  • ERP
  • Sales & Operations
  • Sourcing/Procurement
  • Optimization
  • Transportation Mgmt
  • Warehouse Mgmt

Select Executive Education Choices

  • Select All

  • Graduate Courses
  • Online/Distance
  • Executive Education
  • Certifications
  • Undergraduate
  • Seminars
  • Associations
  • Conferences
  • Tradeshows


Select Third Party Logistics Companies

  • Select All

  • 3PL Central
  • Landstar
  • Legacy Supply Chain Svs.
  • Purolator
  • SEKO Logistics
  • Westfalia Technologies


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