Six Things to look for in a 3PL Provider

G&D Integrated is always on the lookout for content that is relevant to your desires for improvement and growth. In the past, we’ve shared articles on supercharging your supply chaininventory management, and more.

Today, we’d like to feature Jamie Wyatt’s SupplyChain24/7 post: “Evaluating Potential 3PL Logistics Providers and What You Should Be Looking For”  – because it does a very thorough job of explaining what to keep your eye out for as you evaluate potential 3PL partners.

This is a topic that is near and dear to our heart. Why? Simply put, not every 3PL is the right fit for every manufacturer. The nature of our business is such that when both parties aren’t in alignment on expectations, things rarely work as intended. The mission of GDI is to partner with our customers to grow their business by creating industry leading logistics solutions. However, without a thorough vetting process that includes the steps mentioned below, it is difficult to assure alignment. 

Consider the following questions inspired by Wyatt’s post:

Will the partner you are considering working with be able to scale their operations up or down as your needs fluctuate?

Look for a partner that can handle sudden declines and spikes in demand. It may help to find a 3PL that has clients of various sizes. If they are already doing work for both big and small companies, it’s more likely they’ll know how to help.

Is technology platform innovation an important part of their everyday operations?

Cloud integration and other technology platforms make it easier to get shipped goods get there on time. These platforms also offer the shipper total visibility of their product en route, and offer assurances that things are either going as planned, or being addressed. Your 3PL needs to have a proven, cutting-edge system that tracks everything you need to know.

Does the partner you’re considering offer comprehensive transportation and warehousing options?

As Wyatt notes, “options create opportunity within your supply chain. The more options that a logistics provider can deliver, the greater the chance that they will be able to select the lowest cost provision.”

Have you looked into their payment history & financial stability?

The importance of stability can’t be understated. If your 3PL goes out of business while working with you it can have a devastating impact on your operations.

Do the partners you’re researching have proven track records and clearly defined values?

There’s more to a 3PL’s track record than their financial history. On another level, the track record is about who they are as a company. What are their values? What are they known for? How do others view them? Do they have lots of long-term clients?

Your goal should be to find a long-term partner, so you will be happy with the service offered, and not need to search for a new 3PL every few months or years. Becoming aware of logistics providers’ reputations goes a long way toward showing you what to expect from them.

Can they provide you with excellent industry references?

If you can’t find others in the industry eager to tell you how great of a job XYZ Logistics is doing, it’s probably because they aren’t doing a great job. As Wyatt says, “references should be able to speak to the character and culture of the provider. Whether good or service oriented, companies should be delivering a higher value proposition than simple efficiency.”

Among these six helpful pointers, what stuck out to us most was the first point, scalability. Think about it in the long term…not just during the search process. If you work with a partner that is a home grown or smaller “mom and pop” type provider will they be able to meet the demand that you will likely be experiencing over the next 3-5 years as economic conditions continue to improve?

Think about that. It’s not just where your business is today that you need to plan for—it’s the upward direction that it’s moving. Reach out to G&D Integrated today. We’ll tell you how we’ve scaled (both up and down) with the most reputable equipment manufacturers in the world. We provide our partners with everything mentioned in this SupplyChain247 piece, and much more.

Contact us today at and find out what we can do for your growing business.