iStock.com/dusanpetkovic

Companies that choose to partner with a third-party logistics (3PL) provider need to maintain a positive and healthy relationship with them to ensure the overall success of the venture. Your 3PL relationship can benefit you in many ways, including streamlining your supply chain operations and helping you focus on other aspects of your business. So, to get the most out of your 3PL provider, here are some tips to maintain a successful partnership.

Set Clear Expectations

You should always keep in mind that your 3PL provider does not only work to serve you. When you partner with a 3PL provider, you are starting a relationship. The terms of this relationship should be clearly defined to ensure acceptable performance on both sides. Key performance indicators (KPIs) can determine their performance level, and you should make your expectations know from the very beginning. You should also follow up with regular reviews to ensure they know exactly what you need and to make sure they are performing to your expectations. Setting the tone early in this partnership will ensure both of you are driving toward success.

Establish Single Points of Contact

Another tip to maintain a good relationship with your 3PL partner is to appoint someone in a senior position to deal with any issues and challenges with your part of the supply chain. And you should expect the firm to do the same. By channeling the exchange of information through these senior parties, the issues can be quickly and efficiently assessed. Both parties will be empowered and ready to make good decisions that lead to speedy resolutions.

Keep Your 3PL Partner in the Loop

Since your 3PL provider is essentially working with you or taking over major aspects of your supply chain, you must ensure that you communicate any changes or new developments that occur in your organization. You should provide updated information on any product instructions, year-end activities, or impending recalls to ensure they meet those needs in record time.

Measure Performance

It’s easy to forget to make quality and performance standards a part of the contract with your 3PL partner, however, this is one of the most important tips to remember. Many companies fail to stress the importance of these standards, which should be discussed when formalizing the partnership agreement. As part of the negotiation process, you should discuss your benchmarks, how to define them, and how to monitor them.

Regular On-Site Visits

Even with live updates and real-time data sharing, it isn’t always possible to get a clear view of how your 3PL provider is operating. This is why it is valuable to make on-site visits regularly. You will benefit from seeing how your partner works to help your business thrive and from building relationships with the people working on your account. The more you invest in this partnership, the more confident you will both feel about your partnership. Understanding how your 3PL provider operates will also make it easier for you to discuss major changes your team wants to make regarding policies or procedures.

Involve Your 3PL Provider in Long-Term Planning

Involving your 3PL provider in your long-term planning is another way to get the most out of your partnership. Your long-term planning with them includes discussions about possible acquisitions, new brands, and changes with volume, marketing, merchandise assortment, and analysis (IT upgrades).

Align Interests

This step involves designing and documenting how your company and your 3PL service provider will team up to resolve problems and achieve the desired goals. If your interests are aligned, and you both establish a proper risk assessment early on, you will have a successful partnership.

Make Sure the Price is Right

When choosing your 3PL provider, find out what services they offer and compare that to the price they are quoting you. Some 3PL providers may be more expensive, but they can guarantee you better value down the line. Examining your budget and weighing it against your needs will eliminate any providers that do not suit your goals. Compare your provider to other providers and find out what each has to offer. Keep in mind that the cheapest option may be easy to afford, but it may lead you to disappointments in terms of service.

Consider the Company Culture

The culture of your 3PL provider should be similar to yours. Sharing values with your partners will help your goals to align. For example, if your organization cares about the environment, find a provider that uses eco-friendly shipping materials, recycles and refurbishes products, and reduces pollution by improving their delivery systems. Does your team love technology? Team up with a 3PL that thrives on using cloud-based systems, automation, and robotics. The closer your culture is with your partner, the longer-lasting the relationship will be.

Trust APS Fulfillment, Inc. for a Quality 3PL Partnership

When seeking the right 3PL provider to partner with, it is important to find a team that also strives to maintain a good relationship with their customers. A positive relationship is an often-forgotten factor when companies choose 3PL providers, but for the aspects mentioned above and more, it is extremely important.

APS Fulfillment, Inc. can be the right partner for you because we care about our clients’ success. Our professionals will bring you solutions to your fulfillment challenges and will work with you to meet your goals. We provide services such as real-time inventory management, e-commerce fulfillment, fulfillment solutions, and fulfillment markets. There are endless benefits to working with a third-party logistics company that uses the best-quality software systems to manage your warehouse, so if you’re looking for the right company, look no further than APS Fulfillment, Inc. You can contact us by e-mail at inf[email protected] or by phone at (954) 582-7450.