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Questions to ask 3PL Providers Before Outsourcing

As an e-commerce business owner, making the leap to outsource your fulfillment to a third-party logistics (3PL) provider is a major step. It’s a decision that can take your business to new levels of efficiency, scalability, and customer satisfaction—but only if you choose the right partner. Choosing the wrong 3PL partner can turn your fulfillment dreams into a nightmare. Imagine constant shipping delays, lost or damaged inventory, and a lack of communication that leaves you and your customers in the dark.

With so many options available, how do you ensure you’re making the best choice for your business? At ShipWizard, we are proud to be the first 3PL provider to many growing businesses, and understand the challenges of letting go of your “business baby” and switching to a professional fulfillment service like ours. We’ve compiled a list of 10 questions to ask potential 3PL providers, helping you to start strong and set your business up for long-term success. 

What is A 3PL? 

A Third-Party Logistics (3PL) provider is a company like ShipWizard that offers outsourced logistics services to businesses. This includes warehousing, managing inventory, packing orders, and shipping them out. By teaming up with a 3PL, businesses can save money, boost efficiency, and focus on what they do best, leaving the logistics hassle to the experts. Whether it’s dealing with busy holiday seasons or tricky international returns shipping, the right 3PL partner can make your life a whole lot easier and keep your customers happy. Whether you sell dog bandanas, handmade jewelry, or the latest tech accessories, a third-party logistics (3PL) provider can take the headache out of managing your orders. So, without further ado, let’s review the key questions to ask a 3PL before you make the leap to outsourcing. 

Questions To Ask A 3PL Before Switching

1. What Services Do You Offer?

  • Can you handle all aspects of my fulfillment needs, including warehousing, inventory management, order processing, shipping, and return management?
  • Do you offer specialized services, such as kitting, custom packaging, or air-conditioned storage?

2. What Industries Do You Specialize In?

  • Do you have experience in my industry?
  • Are you compliant with industry-specific regulations, such as FDA, cGMP or PCI

3. Where Are Your Warehouses Located?

  • Do you have warehouses in strategic locations that align with my customer base?
  • How will your warehouse locations impact my shipping times and costs? Can my orders be delivered within 2 business days within the U.S.?
  • Are your warehouses temperature controlled? 

4. What Technology Integrations Do You Offer?

5. How Do You Handle Peak Seasons and Fluctuating Demand?

  • Can you scale your operations to handle seasonal spikes or unexpected increases in order volume?
  • What strategies do you have in place to ensure smooth operations during peak times?

6. What Are Your Pricing Models?

  • How is your pricing structured (e.g., per order, per pallet, flat rate)?
  • Are there any hidden fees or additional charges I should be aware of?
  • Do you offer a 3PL calculator to help me estimate my rates?

7. How Do You Ensure Order Accuracy and Timeliness?

  • What processes do you have in place to minimize errors in order fulfillment?
  • What is your average order processing time?
  • How do you handle shipping delays or mistakes?

8. What Is Your Return Management Process?

9. What Are Your Security Measures?

  • What measures do you have in place to protect my inventory from theft or damage?
  • How do you ensure data security and privacy?

10. How Do You Handle Customer Service and Support?

  • What is your process for resolving issues or handling complaints?
  • How can I contact your support team, and what are their hours of operation?
  • Do you provide a dedicated account manager?

Choose ShipWizard as Your 3PL Alternative To In-House Fulfillment

At ShipWizard, we’re all about making your life easier and your business more efficient. With our top-notch services and dedicated support, you’ll wonder why you didn’t switch sooner. Our team of logistics experts is committed to handling the heavy lifting, so you can focus on growing your business. Plus, with our seamless onboarding process, you’ll be up and running in no time. Join the ranks of satisfied clients who have already transformed their fulfillment process with ShipWizard!

So why wait? Contact us today to hear our answers to these 10 questions, as well as any other questions you may have. 

June 16, 2024
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