Are your 3PL Providers all talk?

There is a vast difference in approaches 3PL providers take to achieve customer satisfaction. The simplest form of customer satisfaction is to understand if your 3PL providers will accomplish what they say they are going to do.

You need to go beyond what the potential 3PL providers have told you or what is written on their website.  You need to understand the potential 3PL providers' supply chain management strategies and their strengths and weaknesses surrounding this strategy.  Know whether they have been successful in developing similar logistic supply chain management programs in the past. Have they been on time and on budget?  During you due diligence do they meet your deadlines?  The potential 3PL provider will be doing their best to meet your needs during due diligence.  If they fail to deliver during this process will you be able to trust them once you enter an agreement?

Although it would seem like common sense, make sure to check references and ask those references questions of them about the vendor’s size, technical capabilities, and ability to respond to their needs.

It is imperative that you do your homework to ensure that your Supply Chain Management partner will respond to you.  Have a list of prepared questions.  Ask the reference to explain a time this vendor made a mistake and how they responded.  You can find out much about how a vendor will respond during a crisis.

Once you select a Supply Chain partner, you must set concentrate on deliverables.   You must have an action plan that outlines requirements, due dates and milestones.  You must continue to monitor if their words match their deeds.

Up next: Does your 3PL provider understand your business?

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