July 2018 | Sponsored | Knowledge Base

Is Your 3PL Provider Causing You Headaches? Here is What to Look for in a 3PL Partnership

Tags: 3PL, Logistics, Supply Chain

Bill Goodgion is President, Ascent Global Logistics, a Roadrunner Company, 800-614-1348

It's 2018, which means that shippers are looking for 3PLs to perform at higher levels than ever before. Because of various market conditions such as the driver shortage, record freight volumes, a volatile trade environment, and increasingly complex retailer delivery requirements, many 3PLs are only offering customers enhanced technology.

While technological innovation is necessary, there is a crucial component that many 3PLs too often overlook when managing customers' supply chains: the human interactions involved in supply chain work. Whether it is an operations specialist, dock worker, international trade expert, retail logistics specialist or sales representative, those are the people that have the power to make logistics miracles happen.

For shippers, importers, manufacturers, and retail suppliers to get the most out of their relationships with a 3PL provider, look for one that (1) treats its team members with dignity and respect and (2) goes above and beyond for its customers and fellow team members.

What are Some Key Things to Look for?

Every great company begins with setting an example at the top. Leadership must first establish an ethical framework that will allow for its people to come together, share ideas, and work towards a common goal. This will allow shippers, importers, manufacturers, and retail suppliers to receive the best value from their 3PL partner. In turn, this will allow the 3PL partner to establish the proper framework for delivering quality customer service.

Shippers should make sure the 3PL company's leadership works to ensure its team members are in an environment that fosters collaboration and innovation. Some of the best companies provide opportunities to ensure that its people can share expertise and continuously improve, such as lunch and learns and ongoing educational opportunities.

In addition, some of the best companies also make sure that they recognize their team members' hard work and dedication through performance recognition programs, such as performance-based bonuses and top-performer awards.

By taking a closer look at a 3PL's internal actions to promote team unity, shippers can make sure that they are working with an honest, respectful, and team-focused organization.

Once a 3PL is internally unified, different departments should be able to effectively work together to help each other and their customers. When working with shippers, the best 3PLs can (1) identify additional areas of opportunity in a customer's supply chain and (2) work internally to help the customer meet his or her needs entirely within their organization.

While technology is very helpful in executing specific tasks, technology alone cannot replace quality human interaction. At the end of the day, shippers should make sure that their 3PL provider is working with them in an efficient, friendly, and attentive manner.


Ascent Global Logistics is a full-service global logistics partner focused on providing clients with Domestic Freight Management, International Freight Forwarding and Retail Consolidation solutions to improve their supply chain efficiency. Our team is focused on going above and beyond to use innovative technology, customized solutions and highly individualized service to optimize clients' logistics performance.






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