Never partner with any logistics providers before knowing the answers
Interviewing logistics providers in St. Louis is crucially important because of the role that those providers plan in your company’s operations. When you outsource some or all of your supply chain to an outside company, you are trusting them with both your relationships with your clients and with your ability to generate revenue. Given the crucial nature of a 3PL relationship, asking the right questions is a must. Here are five that will help you identify the best partner for your business:
- What is your company’s mission and its underlying values?
Logistics providers in St. Louis come from a variety of backgrounds. Some started out as warehousing companies, others as trucking firms, and others got in the business as full-scale logistics experts from day one. Realize that a company’s culture and underlying ethos impacts everything that it does. Finding one that dovetails with how you operate will increase the chances of a productive working relationship.
- Which 3PL services do you offer?
A logistics provider that only provides the services you need is likely to be inadequate in the future. Many companies test the waters with their 3PL and, once they build a good working relationship, gradually decide to outsource additional parts of their supply chain. If you choose one of the logistics providers in St. Louis with a limited pool of services, you could end up looking for another 3PL sooner than you expect.
- Which additional services can you offer?
Even a full range of 3PL services might not be enough to serve your company’s present and future needs. A select number of logistics providers in St. Louis are starting to add nontraditional capabilities to their offerings. These can include access to a foreign trade zone to facilitate the cross-border supply chains that are now common in our global economy. Others go beyond simple kitting and packaging work to offer full-fledged light assembly tasks, blurring the lines between logistics and production.
- How much warehouse capacity do you have?
While a full range of services is important, your company is probably also interviewing logistics providers in St. Louis to ensure that they can handle the most fundamental part of your supply chain — moving items from point A to point B. The right 3PL has ample warehouse capacity to handle your day to day needs. It also has enough overflow space to cover large periodic shipments or other spikes in demand for service.
- How can you reduce our logistics costs, increase our supply chain efficiency or both?
Asking logistics providers in St. Louis about their ability to reduce cost and increase efficiency serves two purposes. The first is the most obvious one, which is that the only reason to outsource any business process is that the third party provider can do it better than you can. The second reason to ask is to see if the 3PL has the experience and the depth to not just quote prices and turnaround times but to step back, look at your company and provide insight as to where you can do better. In other words, the right 3PL for your company provides outside perspective in addition to all of its other services.
To learn more about how we help with your logistic and business needs, contact us. We look forward to hearing from you.