Below is a brief overview of the types of third party logistics providers and tips on what to look for when choosing a provider.
Various Types Of Third Party Logistics Providers
- Trucking companies that have expanded into warehousing
- Warehousing focused companies that also own their own private fleet
- Warehousing companies who have strong relationships with LTL and Full Truckload Carriers
- Trucking companies focused on intermodal logistics solutions and Ocean Freight
- Warehousing companies that specialize in partnering with Rail Freight Companies
- Freight Forwarders contract with carriers to move cargo ranging from raw agricultural products to manufactured goods usually involving import and export
- Freight Brokers usually are working on spot, volume, and spot quotes to broker Full Truckload
- A logistics software company who only offers software such as Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) or Transportation Management Systems; can work with companies directory, or work with other 3PLs to offer software which is white labeled
- A logistics company who offers transportation management software/systems while also providing integrated management services for administrative functions such as accounting, claims, and customer service
- Things to Consider When Choosing a Provider.
What To Look For In A Provider
- Do they provide the necessary range of services?
- Do they have partners or trusted suppliers for services they don’t supply but you will need?
- Shift times
- Overtime when necessary, and cost of overtime
- Weekend work
- Ability to add staff – labor pool
- Ability to handle rush or emergency orders – what is the lead time necessary?
- Who provides what information to whom – both ways?
- What is the time frame for the information provided?
- What is the method of transferring information? (Should always be in written/email form)
- In what format is the information being passed along?
- What information does the 3PL require from you?
- What information will they provide you?
- Conflict resolution: the chain of command to solve problems
- How long in business?
- Warehouse: Asset or non-asset based 3PL?
- Staff qualifications?
- Core business/commodity specialty
- Can they provide customer and other references?
- Do they have experience shipping the same product as your company ships?
- What size customers do they handle?