With a plethora of third-party logistics (3PL) companies to choose from, selecting the right partner for your business can be a tough job. Naturally, a strong 3PL fulfillment partner can help your ecommerce business increase its overall efficiency and reduce overhead costs, as well as provide you with more time to run your business. This typically requires more of an up-front investment than simply cobbling together a shipping solution on your own, however.
To maximize your return on this investment, the best place to begin is with a list of what you require. Most of those needs will be contingent on your own business’ unique requirements (e.g., specialized packaging, brand guidelines, etc.), but there are some things that will be true for every business. As you search for a 3PL, here are the top three factors to keep in mind:
1. Find a company that you can trust as a true partner
“Trust” is hard to quantify, but any business partnership requires plenty of it, and your 3PL is no different. In the vast majority of cases, one thing you can look for is longevity; companies that have been around for a long time or have the backing of an established corporation have resources, expertise, and relationships that startups usually can’t match. You’ll also want to investigate their stats, particularly as customers now expect faster, cheaper shipping. “On time, most of the time” isn’t good enough anymore.
2. Work with a partner with the flexibility to grow with your business
You need a 3PL provider that can offer the customizability necessary to ship your products exactly as you want, today and into the future. While a smaller 3PL may be able to meet your needs now, will it have the capacity to keep up with you? Instead, find a partner that can fulfill your products in a variety of different ways. Not only will this allow you to scale up your shipping to meet customer demand as the need arises, but it gives you the supply chain diversity necessary to keep products moving in today’s uncertain shipping environment.
3. Pick a 3PL with robust technology—and the infrastructure to make it work
Today, warehousing is a state-of-the-art industry, and the best 3PLs will provide you with the tools to follow along as your products are picked, packed, and shipped. Real-time dashboard technology and reporting can make sure that your business is armed with the data it needs to optimize sales. But all these features can’t substitute for effective infrastructure, particularly when it comes to warehouse location. A network of fulfillment centers or centralized warehouses are ideal when two-day shipping has become the norm.
As a company that strives to meet—and exceed—these requirements, Rocket Shippers is prepared to be the 3PL partner your company’s been trying to find. If you’re ready to shoot for the stars with the fulfillment experts who can get products in your customers’ hands ASAP, every time, reach out to one of our logistics experts today.