Anyone who has spent any length of time working in the supply chain industry can attest that no 3PL provider is perfect. In fact, it’s so well known that there’s even a subReddit dedicated to it. But how do you know when your “good enough” 3PL provider isn’t good enough anymore? Here is a quick guide that can help you decide when switching 3PL providers may be the right move and how WarehouseQuote can help.
Inaccuracies are common
Mistakes are a symptom of life, but if mistakes are consistent throughout inventory management and order fulfillment it may be time to find a better suited provider. The feedback from your customers will be the best indicator of how urgently you may need to switch.
Systems are slow and outdated
Clunky systems lead to slow inventory movement and order delays. It can also blur accurate visibility into current inventory data causing unnecessary over or under stocking and losing money in the process. Finding a 3PL with more modern, well-rounded order management systems is essential to achieving more streamlined operations and saving your business money.
Lack of Capacity
Your business is growing, but their available space is not. As your business grows you may simply outgrow your current 3PL and the ability to scale depends upon you making a switch.
Customer support is a constant struggle
You’ve encountered a small problem and need a quick answer. Do you have a dedicated contact person or are you greeted with FAQ page links and automated replies? Are you experiencing lags in general responsiveness? Your 3PL provider should be your true business partner and if you aren’t able to get in contact with them it’s a sign they may not be as invested in your business as they should be.
Moving forward with a new 3PL
Ultimately, the first indication that it is time to switch is if you are regularly frustrated with your 3PL provider. Switching providers is a big decision and can be a timely one at that. Before switching, be sure to ask potential providers the following:
Have you handled a product like this before?
How many locations do you have?
How do you differ from our current 3PL?
Can you integrate with our technology?
This list is hardly all-encompassing, but it’s a good place to start. In addition to having the right questions, it’s imperative to have a plan of action in place. Know your goals and the specific integrations your company will need. Prioritize transparency in customer service and let your customers know about the change as far in advance as possible. Most importantly, work collaboratively with your new 3PL to ensure a smooth transition.
How does WHQ Help?
If you’ve run through the list of reasons why you might look to switch vendors and have decided changing is the appropriate move for your company, WarehouseQuote can help. Not only do we source warehouses and fulfillment centers, we provide you with dedicated account management, data consolidation, and real-time visibility. We take the time to get to know you and your business needs, then custom tailor a solution. Real people working with real people – no lags or automated responses to be found.
You don’t want another provider, you want a partner. When the time is right to make the switch, go into the search process knowing what you need and the questions to ensure your new 3PL fits those needs. WarehouseQuote is here to help your business overcome whatever supply chain challenges your business may be facing and we’d love to hear from you. Send us an inquiry to find out how, together, we might help your business grow.