Managing 3PL Relationships
Once you’ve chosen a 3PL to partner with, the next step is to gain an understanding of the best way to work together for the mutual benefit of all parties.
What is a 3PL Relationship?
A 3PL relationship refers to the connection between your company and your 3PL provider and how you communicate.
3PL relationships vary, in terms of how companies choose to stay in contact and how much involvement the company in need of 3PL services chooses to have in logistics processes.
This blog post will help you understand how to manage 3PL relationships to ensure a seamless and beneficial process for all involved.
Tips for Managing 3PL Relationships
Here are some great tips to create a lasting, supportive relationship with your 3PL team.
Work Together for Success
It may sound obvious, but bearing in mind your goal to work together can make a true difference to how you and your 3PL team interact and enable change. To work together in true partnership, discuss where responsibilities lie and be prepared to share information as much as possible. Set up regular meetings with your 3PL team to check in and discuss progress.
If goals are never defined, how can they be achieved? Defining goals can help make managing 3PL relationships easy.
- When you begin working with a new 3PL team, take the time to discuss your needs, what you hope to achieve and outline tangible goals.
- Make expectations clear so that your 3PL team has the opportunity to meet them.
- Depending on the services your 3PL team will provide, outline how to measure success.
- Discuss deadlines and turnaround times for specific projects.
A healthcare equipment provider may have the objective to streamline the movement of medical supplies to its customers. A retail store may need to create a uniform customer experience across locations using store display and FF&E services. There are many goals that a 3PL can help you achieve. Your 3PL will be able to guide you if you are unsure of how to make the most of their services for the success of your unique enterprise.
Establish Strong Lines of Communication
Communication is key to successfully managing 3PL relationships.
- Choose a 3PL that will assign your team to a single, dedicated point of contact for all questions and concerns, so that you always know who to turn to when issues arise. Do the same for your 3PL provider.
- Promote honest and open communication so team members feel empowered to highlight any issues they foresee, and are never afraid to say when things don’t go to plan.
- When managing 3PL relationships, be sure to praise the team as a whole when goals are met.
Be Open to Change
It’s not possible to progress without change. If you have goals to meet, improvements to make and expectations of your 3PL team, ensure you are open to change to make this possible. Collaborate with your 3PL team and share ideas. They may know how to improve efficiencies or reduce costs.
Your 3PL may have insight into how you could shorten your supply chain. Perhaps you could save money by using warehouse space owned by your 3PL, or would benefit from inventory management services. You may start off working with a 3PL for particular services, and realize together that you could use more. Your 3PL team should be flexible to help you scale your business.
Ensure you understand everyone’s roles and put procedures in place for when things go wrong. Discuss how urgent circumstances will be handled and by whom. Ensure you know who to contact in a time of need – do urgent duties fall with your usual point of contact?
Choose a 3PL You Can Trust
With these simple tips in mind, managing 3PL relationships can be easy and certainly worth the effort!
Choosing to work with a 3PL will enable you to focus on your business while experts manage necessary logistics and supply chain management tasks. Working with a trusted 3PL team often results in improved efficiencies and cost savings. To learn more about managing 3PL relationships or to get started with improving your logistics processes, contact Beltmann Integrated Logistics today.