Moving goods from A to B might sound easy enough, but any experienced business owner knows that dealing with supply chain and logistics can become more complicated than expected.
You’ll need to consider factors such as warehousing, transportation, and distribution, not to mention issues such as licenses, regulations, taxes, and even the truckers themselves to think about. So, it’s no surprise that outsourcing the work to an experienced and reputable third-party logistics provider is a preferred option for many companies.
But, choosing a logistics provider is a serious decision. You will want to partner with a company that you can rely on to deliver your goods unharmed and on time, whilst upholding the standards and values of your own company. There are many different options out there to consider, so think about these important factors before making a final decision.
#1. Area of Expertise:
Many companies will use more than one third-party logistics provider at any given time, rather than one company for everything. When searching for the right partner, you’ll find that most logistics companies have specialties in certain areas of logistics, transportation modes, or regions. Of course, there’s always the possibility that one company is able to provide your business with the logistics service that it needs. But, consider partnering with more than one company if you feel this will be a better option for your brand.
#2. Reliability and Level of Service:
There is no question that you will need to partner with a reliable provider. An unreliable logistics company can quickly ruin the good relationship between your business and its clients and customers. Every load that arrives late, damaged, or on the wrong kind of transport, will add extra hours of work to your plate and can strain your relationship with your best clients. Although it may be impossible to control variables such as traffic or the weather, it’s important to find a good logistics partner who is able to anticipate potential problems and plan accordingly to ensure that you are delivered the best service every time. The best third-party logistics companies are always anticipating needs and will communicate regularly and openly with you.
#3. Technology Use:
Don’t be afraid to ask prospective logistics partners what technology they use to help improve their services. Using the right technology can not only optimize the service level but will also enable both companies to drive down costs. Look for a company that utilizes technology for the best solutions, such as automating processes, quickly identifying any potential problems with the supply chain, and accessing a large database of carriers.
#4. Working with You:
When looking for the right logistics partner, don’t just search for a company that can help you meet your needs today. If you have plans for business expansion and growth in the future, you’ll want to know that you’re working alongside a logistics company who will be able to help you achieve these goals rather than hold you back. As your operations change and grow, it’s vital to find a third-party logistics provider who is able to scale with your business. Ask yourself, will this partner be able to adapt and respond to changing business needs in the long run?
Of course, it’s crucial to take the price into careful consideration when choosing a logistics partner. However, it’s best to keep in mind that the lowest price is not always going to be the best option. In fact, this can sometimes be the worst choice since lower prices can often signal poorer levels of service and less reliability. Even though a logistics company might be able to beat its competitors when it comes to trucking rates, it’s always vital to ensure that you won’t be compensating for this by putting up with sub-standard results. It’s not worth making savings to partner with a logistics company that falls short on customer service, is less visible, and less reliable as a whole.
#6. Building a Strong Relationship:
Last but certainly not least, you will want to select a logistics partner who you are able to build a strong working relationship with. Being able to build a strong relationship with a logistics provider means that over time, you’ll know their strengths and they will know yours. Your main aim is to partner with a logistics company who you’ll be able to call as soon as a job becomes available, rather than spending time sending it out for spot bidding or exploring backup options. A good relationship with your logistics provider can also provide a great reference, particularly if you find yourself in a situation where you have a project that needs the help of a company that you have not previously worked with.
There are many logistics providers out there who can certainly get the job done. Spend your time looking for one which is a good, reliable, strong business partner.