Step 1: Evaluate your business needs – Take into account how much your business is changing, how much it could potentially change, your shipping challenges, your company culture, and the level of control you want to maintain. This list helps you decide what you want out of your 3PL partnership.
Step 2: Look for a provider that can scale with your business – Your 3PL must be able to grow alongside your business in order to fully satisfy your shipping needs.
Step 3: Learn about the company – Experience is vital, so ask for references and talk to a 3PL’s current clients to get real-world feedback. This gives you a much better understanding of how a 3PL will operate.
Step 4: Look into the TMS they use – Transportation management software does the heavy lifting for most 3PLs, and professional logistics companies showcase them on their websites. Ask for a demonstration and information about how the 3PL will integrate it into your current networks. Pay close attention to who owns the data in the TMS system and discuss what happens if the relationship is terminated. (As a 3PL based on the MercuryGate TMS, Sheer falls under this method where its freight management clients can either take their MG instance to another of the 100ish 3PL’s using MG, or the client can choose to bring the software and operate it within their four walls with their staff.)