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5 tips to finding a reliable Third-Party Logistics (3PL) provider

Finding the right 3PL is a crucial business decision: They are the last ones to inspect, pack and ship your product before reaching your customer. Will my product arrive on-time? Will it be the correct item? How will it look? A good 3PL ensures all of those concerns are met, and beyond that, elevates your customer experience. You’ve worked so hard to get those customers, don’t lose them now!

A 3PL also represents a large portion of your supply chain costs and could make or break your margin. Returns are costly and negative reviews hurt future sales. Selecting a reliable 3PL is of the utmost importance, here are 5 things to look for when the time comes:

  1. Trust. Find a 3PL that you can rely on to handle your product. Websites are often misleading – some are great and others are Web 1.0 and do not necessarily reflect the service you’ll receive. KPIs such as order accuracy, shipping on-timeliness, staff responsiveness, product loss or damage rates are some of the criteria to consider.

  2. Scalability. Plan ahead by making sure that your 3PL has space for you to grow into, when your sales increase. A 3PL that can continue to meet demand through peaks and valleys and as your product offering grows.

  3. Modern Technology. This is the key to visibility when you’re not physically there: Choose a partner that can provide up-to-date reporting and inventory control so you can ensure orders are accurate and shipped on time.

  4. Presence near major markets. Your CA surf apparel company just became a hit in NYC. Rather than find another 3PL on the East Coast, make sure the partner you select has the ability to handle your growth in other, sometimes unforeseen, parts of the country so you keep shipping costs to a minimum.

  5. Omnichannel fulfillment. Allbirds didn’t intend to create retail stores, but they did. So did Casper, Warby Parker and Away. Make sure that your 3PL understands and excels in both e-commerce fulfillment and retail compliance; the processes involved are dramatically different.

So how do you find a 3PL that has demonstrated success in all of those criteria? Leave that to us.

We created Supplied after experiencing the challenges of finding the right partner firsthand. After years of due diligence, we identified the 3PLs that meet the highest standards across multiple KPIs and are excited to share that network with you today.

Good news! Our service is free for brands. We start by understanding your needs, then match them to our partners capabilities and send you free quotes to consider. Fill out our short form to get started.


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