Small businesses often experience a lot of problems when choosing a 3PL logistics warehousing provider that understands their needs. This is especially true when they have a changing business cycle and varying needs all year round. Below is an excerpt with some questions that you can use to interview your 3PL logistics warehousing provider. Hopefully, it will help you work with a company that can form long-term business partnerships.
What Types Of Storage Do They Provide?
The warehouses must suit your needs. As a small business, you may not have the resources to hire a whole warehouse. Therefore, the 3PL provider should let you hire a portion of their warehouse. It would be wise to know what other products are stored in the facility. For example, if you intend to store food products, you might not be comfortable sharing a warehouse with businesses that ship chemicals. You should also assess the type of warehouse. For instance, you need a cold storage warehouse if you intend to store perishables.
Where Is The Warehouse?
The warehouse should be located in an accessible place. This ensures you have an easy time transporting your items to and from the warehouse. Ideally, the warehouse should be close to major roads and essential amenities such as banks. The warehouse location must be safe. CCTV, a perimeter wall and armed guards are sure ways to deter thieves from accessing the warehouse.
Assess the warehouse's logistical integration. Its location should be close to your distribution routes and markets. This is especially important if you intend to use the warehouse as temporary storage for your finished products before customers or distributors pick them up.
What Services Are Offered At The Warehouse?
The warehouse should offer a wide range of services, including the following
- They should offer order fulfilment that includes packaging, labelling and shipping products to your clients.
- The warehouse should have a state-of-the-art management system that helps you track your inventory. This prevents you from having a shortage of inventory.
- The warehouse should also offer cross-docking services. Simply put, goods from an incoming truck are loaded into an outbound truck without being stored in the warehouse.
What Are The Terms Of Engagement?
Assess the company's terms of engagement. For instance, do they insure goods at the warehouse? What is their compensation policy if your products get damaged while in storage? Examine their pricing strategy. Reputable 3PL providers will adjust their pricing to suit your demand and supply cycles.
When choosing a 3PL warehousing provider, assess the available storage, the warehouse's location, the services offered and the terms of engagement.