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Switching 3PL Partners: The signs you need to switch and how to transition smoothly to a new 3PL

In our switching 3PL's guide, learn the signs of an underperforming 3PL provider with the checklist to follow when transitioning to a new partner.

Jacob Roseburrough
Jacob Roseburrough Director of Marketing

Switching 3PL warehouse partners can be a major decision for businesses of all sizes. Your 3PL plays a major role in your ability to grow and meet rising consumer expectations of fast delivery. It’s important to take careful consideration and planning to ensure a seamless transition that meets your specific business needs. In this guide, we will discuss the signs of an underperforming 3PL partner, with a checklist to follow to select and transition to a new provider.

What are the signs you need a new 3PL warehouse partner?

Poor service quality

If you are consistently experiencing issues such as damaged or lost inventory, late deliveries, or inaccurate orders, it may be time to consider a new warehouse partner.

Lack of communication

Communication is key in any business relationship, and if your warehouse partner is unresponsive or doesn’t provide timely updates, it can cause delays and disruptions to your operations.

Outdated technology

A warehouse partner with outdated WMS technology can cause delays and inefficiencies in your supply chain. If your 3PL partner’s technology is unable to keep up with your business needs, it may be time to look for a partner that can offer more enhanced technology solutions to improve order processing times and accuracy.


If your current warehouse partner is located too far away from your customers or suppliers, it can result in increased shipping costs and longer delivery times. A distributed inventory network with multiple facilities located closer to your customers may help reduce shipping costs and improve service levels.


If your current warehouse partner is becoming too expensive or is not offering a competitive pricing structure, it may be time to explore other options. Over the next 24 months, 33 percent of industrial leases will expire, according to JLL Research. This means the cost of warehousing and inventory storage will continue to increase for the foreseeable future. For the latest warehouse pricing insights, check out our latest Warehouse Pricing Index (WPI) report.

Lack of flexibility and scalability

If your warehousing and fulfillment partner is unable to adapt to changes in your business needs, such as seasonal fluctuations, increased consumer demand, or new product launches, it may be time to find a partner that can scale with your business. 

Steps to consider when transitioning to a new 3PL warehouse partner

When transitioning to a new 3PL warehousing partner, it’s important to take steps to ensure a smooth transition. Here is a checklist to follow when switching 3PL warehouse partners:

#1 Evaluate your existing warehouse partner

Evaluate your current 3PL warehouse partner, considering service quality, communication, technology, cost, and location. If your current provider has outdated technology, can’t meet service levels, and is no longer cost-effective, it may be time to switch 3PL partners.

#2 Define your warehousing and fulfillment requirements

Identify your current and future logistics requirements, including your transportation needs, warehousing and distribution requirements, and any other value-added services that you may require.

#3 Evaluate potential 3PL providers

Conduct a thorough evaluation of potential 3PL providers to determine which provider best meets your business requirements. A few factors you should consider include industry and product expertise, facility location(s), 1–2-day shipping coverage, dedicated account management, operational expertise, value-add services, and their pricing. We also highly recommend both conducting facility site visits, meeting the operations team, and running through software demos before selecting your 3PL provider.

#4 Develop a transition plan and project team

Develop a detailed plan with your new 3PL that outlines the steps necessary for a smooth transfer of inventory into your new facility. First, establish a project team that includes the representative for your company and new 3PL provider. This team will be responsible for overseeing the transition process. Then, determine and agree upon your move-out date with our current provider and communicate timing and drop-off date to the new provider. Your inventory transfer plan should also include the item names and SKU’s, unit of measure (UOM), quantities, timelines, milestones, and SOP/workflows.

We highly suggest moving slow-moving inventory to your new provider first. This will allow you to continue selling your fast-moving products at your current facility and will get your new provider an opportunity to get up-to-speed with your product.

#5 Transition to your new 3PL

Work closely with your new 3PL to ensure that they fully understand your business requirements and are prepared to transition inventory and their facility and execute on your business needs. Be sure to test new systems to ensure that it meets your business needs seamlessly connects with your existing systems. Lastly, make sure to monitor the transition process closely to ensure that it is proceeding according to plan. Be prepared to make adjustments as needed.

Switch to WarehouseQuote

If your business is considering switching 3PL partners, consider WarehouseQuote as your next 3PL warehousing and fulfillment partner. Through our vetted 3PL warehouse with a network of 250+ facilities, service and business operations team, and integrated technology platform, we can help your business scale with confidence.

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About WarehouseQuote

WarehouseQuote is a managed warehousing solution helping middle market and enterprise businesses scale their warehouse operations with precision. Through our 3PL warehousing and fulfillment network of 250+ facilities, integrated technology platform, and in-house supply chain expertise, we enable businesses to design efficient fulfillment networks connected by a single technology platform. Hundreds of B2B and B2C businesses like Chatime, Joyride, Benitago Group, Big Ass Fans, and Mighty Good Solutions use WarehouseQuote to scale, streamline, and optimize their warehouse operations.

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