In previous blog posts, we’ve discussed the advantages of hiring a Third Party Logistics (3PL) provider for your business needs. We’ve also talked about what to look for in a provider.
Choosing a 3PL provider is just the first step, however. In order to guarantee a successful partnership, you – and your selected provider – need to take steps to nurture your business relationship. Below are some tips for ensuring a long-lasting and beneficial association with your chosen logistics company.
Get – and stay – on the same page. Have an in-depth and honest conversation with your 3PL provider at the outset of your relationship; discuss your mutual goals and the steps that both of you need to take in order to make sure that those goals are met. Otherwise, you run the risk of making decisions that don’t align with your shared objectives.
Understand the technology. Recent advances in technology processes are making an impact in the logistics industry. For example, some 3PL companies are looking at cloud computing as the future of their information management systems. Treat your 3PL’s technology offerings as more than just a peripheral, value-added service; taking advantage of the benefits these offerings provide may translate into increased efficiency for your business.
Be flexible (within reason) – and reward initiative. You provide your own employees with incentives for performing; think of your logistics company in the same light. If you allow your outsourced logistics provider the flexibility to exceed expectations – and reward them accordingly – you strengthen your relationship and reap the benefits of superior performance.
Analyze progress regularly. Keep an open dialogue with your 3PL service, and evaluate progress on a regular basis – not just yearly. In the world of logistics, strategies can change, and you and your provider need to be agile in your approach, ready to tweak processes if necessary.