What to Look for in a 3PL Company

January 18, 2024

Pallet Jack

Some companies may get off the ground without ever taking a direct hand in their own logistics. For others, the prospect of outsourcing to a 3rd party logistics company can be as intimidating as it is alluring.

Handing the reins to another 3PL services provider to manage warehousing, storage, shipments, or returns can be economically advisable, but still may have you wondering if it’s worth divesting that responsibility.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the factors you should consider in a 3PL company near you before you decide whether or not to outsource.

Before You Start Looking for a 3PL Near You, Ask the Following Questions…

The first thing you need to settle, before you even start looking for potential partners, is why you’re looking to outsource your supply chain (or just parts of it) to a third-party logistics provider.

To determine that, you’ll need to find answers to the following questions:

What are your company’s priorities at the moment?
Are your current logistical capabilities preventing you from realizing the goals allocated as priorities?
What aspects of those priorities are most directly impacted by logistical practices and efficiency?
Are there any areas of your supply chain in which a change for the better can significantly improve your operations or profitability?
As things stand currently, are your processes sustainable?
Do you believe justifiably that outsourcing some aspects of your logistics operations will enable your organization to leverage better customer service or produce higher overall customer satisfaction?

Once you’ve answered these, if you determine to move forward with your search for a 3PL company, whether it’s in New Jersey or the surrounding area, here are some factors to consider.

Experience in the Industry

One of the most important things to look for in a 3PL company near you is a long record of service in the industry, which is a mark of experience with logistics and supply chain management.

Not that it’s impossible for a newcomer in the industry to maintain excellent core competencies, but investing in any new partnership is a gamble and with it there are risks. Investing in an established partner is a hedge against the risks of change, and loss in quality, that accompany it.

For our part, Snapl Solutions has been serving the industry for more than 30 years, and are proud to support a wide range of clients in the eCommerce, retail, and B2B sectors.

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Technological Capabilities

Technological capabilities may not be a reflection of what the 3PL logistical capabilities actually are, but they certainly will have a marked impact on them.

The partner you choose to work with should offer enterprise level solutions with respect to communications, forecasting, inventory management, climate controls, and so much more.

The better the software the company uses, and the more stalwart its commitment to data analytics, the more precise its operations will be – and greater precision accompanies greater productivity that runs better processes at a higher profit.

Logistical Capabilities

The 3PL’s logistical capabilities are also critically important in helping you select based on what they actually offer.

The long and short of it is this: if you need temperature-controlled warehouse and TL shipment provisions, and the 3PL doesn’t offer that, you need to be looking elsewhere.

At a bare minimum, the 3PL should offer exactly the logistical capabilities and services you need, with the potential to expand into other areas as your needs as an organization grow.

While not an ultimate prerequisite, the more diverse the portfolio of capabilities and logistical service offerings the 3PL provides, the better it will be for your company in the long run.

Some of the logistical services/solutions we offer here include (but are not limited to):

Retail logistics (including TL and LTL shipping, pallet storage, inbound and outbound processing, and claims management)

Return management services

Warehousing and storage (including temperature-controlled warehousing, cross-docking, and de-vanning)

Amazon FBA prep

eCommerce, B2B, and Retail Fulfillment

Facilities That Support Your Needs

It is also important to work with a 3PL that has a facility (or facilities) that can support your logistical needs.

Some of these might include:

Warehousing storage and inventory management
Inbound and outbound shipping
Crating services
Pallet storage
And others

A High Level of Customer Service

Regardless of your industry, little is more frustrating than poor communications. When you have a question about inventory control, storage, fulfillment, or lead times, a dial tone, or being put on hold, is not a fun sound.

We are committed to providing exceptional customer service. If you’ve ever had a less-than-stellar experience with a 3PL, we sympathize, and we’re on your side.

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A Strong Record of Safety

Safety is also critically important, as 3PL providers that don’t have a good record of safe operations are likely to be more expensive to work with overall. Don’t risk the value of your inventory, work with a logistics provider with a spotless record of safety and adherence to regulations.

eCommerce Product Fulfillment Capabilities

As more and more entrepreneurs break into the eCommerce market, competition for logistics providers has also increased.

We offer robust eCommerce fulfillment capabilities, inclusive of sales integrations, order fulfillment capabilities, branding, labeling, and even specialty projects. We also work with a variety of shipping providers, including FedEx, UPS, DHL, the USPS, and a variety of local TL and LTL providers.

Be Flexible with Location

Alright, so this is an article about finding a 3PL company near you. But here’s the thing. Logistical efficiency doesn’t always (or even necessarily) come from location in the country.

There might be a very good reason that a 3PL is across the country from you. It could be advanced infrastructure, less traffic, more amenable weather, lower labor costs, or some combination of all these (and other) factors.

Point is, if you’re going to outsource any of your logistics operations, don’t be too set on location. It might make sense to go with a partner just a little farther away, as long as all the other conditions outlined here are met.

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Questions About Our Capabilities? Contact Us

Snapl Solutions is ready to help you scale your logistics operations so you can turn a greater profit and provide a higher level of customer service.

If you have questions about what we offer, get in touch with us at 1-800-966-3478 ext. 1. and let us know how we can help.

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