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Choosing a 3PL can be a very time-consuming and detail-oriented project; especially because you will be making an important strategic decision for your business. All-in-all, you want to be sure to take the time to compile a list of your top potential partners, compare their pros and cons on a level playing field, and choose the company that you feel would be the best fit in relation to your business model and potential for working well together.
After working with several companies over the years and helping businesses overcome this hurdle, the team at Flex Logistics put together the following tips in choosing the best 3pl for your needs. Before choosing the right 3PL provider, it is important to perform some due diligence on both your internal needs and the possible suppliers you may choose. In the follow up posts, we will touch on some of the more detail oriented support solutions available.
Define your goals: Are you looking for the absolute lowest cost, the company with the best technology and automation, excellent service, or some sort of mix? Do you require services in addition to the basic inventory in, inventory out? Knowing what you need is half the battle. Once this is defined, you will know what to look for and eliminate the vendors that do not meet those requirements.
Educate Yourself: There are various types of warehousing and logistics companies. Doing research on what is available is key to understanding what is best for you. 3PLs usually have some combination of services among regional warehousing, value-added, and transportation services.
Compare Apples to Apples: Warehouses can charge storage and handling on various units of measure such as per pallet, cubic foot, case, or piece. When requesting pricing from your potential vendors, have a desired unit for payment and have each company quote you on the same basis.

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