The Fine Print of 3PL Providers

There comes a time in the life of a small or medium sized apparel business when the owners and managers realize that more could be done to increase the effectiveness of their operations.  It is usually around this time that the business executives start to consider outsourcing and begin their investigations into third party companies to partner with.

There are many reasons why companies turn to outsourcing, but a few of the most common benefits include:

·         May increase profit margins

·         Allows for a redirect of resources and labor

·         Gives increased flexibility to supply fulfillment

·         Allows for more time and focus to be placed on the core of the business

But the primary reason for apparel business to outsource can be found in the need for more efficient logistics.  Logistics and supply chains are the backbone to nearly every mercantile business, but this does not mean that they are specialty of the company.

For this reason, there are many apparel companies and business that have turned to third party logistics corporations (3PLs) to help them fulfill their complicated supply chain needs. Choosing a 3PL provider can be a massive decision for any organization.

To help aid first time 3PL seekers, here are a few hints and tips to remember when selecting your company’s partner 3PL. 

Determining Needs

Before the search for a 3PL begins, a company must determine their own needs or qualifications for the future outsourcing partner they will do business with.  Outlining what needs must be fulfilled by candidate 3PLs to better serve the goals of the company should be the first step taken in finding a logistics partner.

Asking the Right Questions

An apparel company can (and should) approach their search for a logistics provider the same way they would when hiring new employees.  In other words, the best 3PL provider will rise to the top as the company conducts a series of inquiries and interview based meetings with each 3PL candidate.

To help ensure that you are covering the basics, consider using a few of the following questions while meeting with prospective 3PL providers:

·         What technology does the 3PL have that will help perform their tasks and can that technology expand to meet the client’s business growth, requirements?

·         Does the 3PL have the warehouse space/personnel to meet your current and future business needs?

·         Is the physical location of the 3PL’s warehouses suitable to cover your area of business?

·         What is the track record or service record of the 3PL? Have they been given good reviews by past clients? And can they provide references to support their claims?

·         How flexible can the 3PL be when changes arise?

·         Does the 3PL match the culture or goals of your company?

·         Would they offer a quality working relationship?

·         Does the 3PL understand the compliance requirements for your retail customers?

·         How strong is the 3PL’s on boarding process.

·         What industry best practices does the 3PL offer?

Selecting the right 3PL for your company’s needs can be a difficult task, but by following the above suggestions you can make the process a success.


Posted: 7/8/2014 10:51:25 AM by Global Administrator | with 0 comments
Filed under: efficiency, logistics, Technology, upgrade, 3PL

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