Supply Chain Innovation
Reducing Logistics Costs
supplier + 3pl management

Selecting the Right 3PL Partner by Selecting the Right RFP

Posted by Sean Coakley on Oct 23, 2015 12:33:00 PM


Selecting the right 3PL provider is one of the most important things you can do for your business. In order to do that, you'll need to weed out the bland responses that you so often receive in a request for proposal (RFP), so you can locate the company that will truly be best for you. In order to weed out those bland responses, you'll need to know how to read a RFP, and what kinds of RFP questions you should be asking.

With knowledge of emerging trends in logistics outsourcing, you'll have more information on how to choose the right 3PL partner for your company. One of the best ways to make sure you're choosing the right 3PL is to take a careful look at your company's culture and the culture of the logistics provider you're considering working with. When you do that, you can see if there is cultural alignment. Without that alignment, there can be conflict between the two companies that will mean a loss of competitive advantage. Naturally, that's not something you want - or can afford - to lose.

Currently, RFP best practices don't require a lot of company culture information, but that doesn't mean you should ignore the issue. While you're taking a careful look at the company's culture, also consider the ease of doing business that you see with that potential 3PL partner. If there are a number of ways in which you don't interact well, that could put the value of having a 3PL partner at risk. No business relationship is going to be perfect, but there are many ways to use logistics RFP best practices to locate a company you mesh well with, both from a cultural standpoint and with the ease of doing business.

Metrics and benchmarks are other important areas to address when you're considering hiring a 3PL partner for your company. You and your partner have to be on the same page when it comes to what is important, and how you measure success. If you don't share an opinion on that issue, you could end up struggling with the total costs, the lack of on-time performance, or other issues. Trends in logistic outsourcing are moving toward companies that are true partners, not just those that are hired to perform a service.

By having a true partnership and following the trends in logistics outsourcing, your company can move toward a higher level of success. Stop and ask yourself "what are the advantages to outsourcing logistics?" Consider the issue as it relates to your particular company, and then consider the top 10 RFP questions you'd like to have answered. You aren't necessarily required to do everything the same way as your competition, or to follow all the global logistics outsourcing trends, but those trends have been started for a reason. When you consider then but tailor them to your company's specific needs, you'll have a much higher chance of selecting the best 3PL partner for you - and that can mean a much more successful partnership.

 The Ultimate RFP Template & Tool Kit Download

Sean Coakley

Written by Sean Coakley

Sean Coakley is Senior Vice President of Kenco. He provides strategic direction for sales and marketing activities for all of the Kenco operating companies.