Top 5 Factors to Consider When Choosing a 3PL

If you’ve never worked with a 3PL (third party logistics) company, you might not know how to go about selecting a reputable provider for you and your freight. There are many factors you should consider when making this important decision.

To help avoid the possible problems that can arise from using a 3PL, check out this list of important things to consider before partnering with one. To ensure you’re getting competitive rates while still working with a suitable 3PL, take into account these factors:

1. Who are you really entrusting your freight to?

Don’t pass off your precious cargo to just anyone. A 3PL is only as trustworthy as their carrier network. You should ask if your 3PL has a carrier compliance management system in place. Check to see that they’re monitoring their carriers’ safety ratings and insurance. A top-notch provider will thoroughly vet the carriers they’re working with, while other companies might just offer your freight to the first carrier who raises their hand.

Trinity Logistics has a whole team dedicated to vetting and monitoring our carriers. Currently we have a carrier network of 70,000 and counting.

2. Do they have years of industry experience, or are they the new kid on the block?

 It’s better to work with a company that’s been around long enough to know all the ins and outs of the industry. A best practice would be to look for a company with more than a year or two of experience, that also has a positive reputation. If they have a reputation for freight going missing or shady business practices, chances are, those rumors have some truth behind them. Be sure to do your research.

Trinity Logistics is currently celebrating 40 years in business. We are named 18 out of 100 on Transport Topics’ Top Freight Brokerage List for 2019. Not to mention, being a part of the Burris Logistics family, with their 95 years of experience to help bring total end-to-end supply chain solutions to our customers.

3. Is your 3PL financially stable?  

Working with a 3PL that isn’t financially healthy could prove to be disastrous. A company that is unstable might not be paying their carriers on time, which could mean less reliable carriers are handling your freight. Additionally, entrusting your shipments to a company that could be closing its doors next week would negatively impact your business’ bottom line. A reputable 3PL should be able to provide you with an honest picture of their financial situation.

Trinity Logistics has the credentials to prove our financial health is in check. We are P3 Performance Certified up to $250,000 by the Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA).

4. Do they have a claims management department to offer negotiation on your behalf?

No one likes to think about things potentially going south when it comes to shipping freight. The truth of the matter is that it can happen, even if you’re working with the best 3PL out there. That’s why it’s important to consider how the 3PL handles those issues as they arise. A 3PL that has a claims team who will act on your behalf to negotiate your freight claims with carriers offers a valuable service that could save your business money in the long run.

We have a highly qualified Team to manage all of our claims. They are here for every step of the claims process, should something ever happen with a shipment.

5. Are they a one-stop shop for all of your freight and logistics needs?

A solid 3PL should be able to provide you with multiple modes of transportation like truckload, LTL, and intermodal, as well as other logistics services like transportation management software, warehousing, and freight management. Do they offer analytics and reporting for your shipments? The importance of partnering with a company that knows your freight needs inside and out will help you stay efficient and ahead of the curve.

Trinity Logistics services many different modes of transportation alone, as well as transportation management. With the added benefit of Burris Logistics, we can find a way to service any transportation need you may have.

Considering these factors before choosing a 3PL could save you a ton of money and unnecessary stress. Always remember to look at a shipping quote as just one piece of the puzzle, and not let it be the only reason you choose who will be arranging your shipments. 

Read what one of our customers, Edison Lighting Supply, has to say about their journey in finding a reliable 3PL partner in Trinity Logistics:

“We have tested many logistics companies, and Trinity is the company that gives us the best service and value, on a consistent basis, with utter transparency. While the prices are slightly higher through Trinity, than through some other companies, Trinity provides unbeatable promptness in providing quotes, and on-time pick-up and delivery. Every other company we have tested ended up costing us more money in the long-run, due to delays, inaccuracies, and bad service. We will never shop another company again; Trinity is now our logistics provider for life.”

If you’re in the market for a partner in transportation, consider Trinity Logistics. We promise it will be worth it.

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Originally published February 16, 2016. Updated by Christine Griffith & Krista Lee.