If you are a new business owner, especially in import & export business, search for 3PL companies could be quite challenging. You are just getting adjusted to the ways of leading a business, and some help couldn’t hurt. Therefore, we are here to provide you with some useful pieces of information. Also, there are some questions 3PL companies must have answers to. In order to execute your affairs smoothly and in a right way, so should know what they are.
3PL stands for third-party logistics, which typically specializes in aspects of logistics such as warehouse providing, transport, supplying management and helping, and sometimes even providing raw materials. They are also operated in such ways as to support help with most of the aspects of shipping. 3PL companies are usually incorporated into companies which are already dealing with similar kinds of services. These are, for example, some of the moving companies in Saudi Arabia, that also provide transportation and storage services.
There are certain important the questions for 3PL companies they should be able to give you answers to. We have prepared you for some of them.
Which products they are specialized in
Once you have found one of the reliable and top-rated logistics companies in Middle East, one of the things you should know about your future 3PL provider is what kind of products they are specialized in. When you want your goods shipped, it is of utmost importance that it is done with expertise and care. You will first want to consider what kinds of items you are importing or exporting. Have in mind that not all the 3PL companies deal with shipping in the same way. Your items may be large, heavy or bulky. They may be fragile or hard to handle.
This is also an important question when it comes to determining your costs with the providers. But most importantly, you will not want you shipment damaged. Therefore, it is of utmost importance for you to ask them how they handle certain kinds of items, check their reliability and the experiences of others. In return, they are required to give you an honest answer. Not all logistics companies have the same possibilities and levels of expertise.
Storage and packaging options they offer should also concern you
This is connected to the safety of your shipments, too. One of the questions 3PL companies must have answers to is what kind of storage they offer? You should know if their capacities fulfill your needs. It is also important to know whether there’s a possibility for additional space if needed.
Packaging is also important, as it’s something that will secure a safe operation. A reliable company should be able to offer professional packaging services. In addition to that, it is also important to know if they’ll be delivering the materials, such as containers, crates and pallets.
One of the questions 3PL companies must have answers to is what are their possible shortcomings
You may be uncomfortable with asking this. However, it’s for your own good. Not every company is perfect, but every good company should be aware of the possible challenges they may come across. They may be some problems they have encountered before. Maybe they have some temporary issues they are working on. And maybe they just not sure they’ll be able to meet your particular needs. Whatever it may be, don’t be afraid to ask about the possible challenges. After all, this is an opportunity for you and your potential partner to get on the same page and stay away from any misunderstandings.
Ask and determine locations and time
Another question you should be given an answer to by the 3PL company is about the locations of the warehouses. This is particularly important when you are dealing with the large companies that have warehouses all over the country (or world). This can help you determine the best and the nearest option in order to save both money and time.
Another thing of crucial importance is to set the dates and foresee any complications if possible. Ask a 3PL company if they will be able to fulfill your shipment on time, considering also the distance between their warehouse and your customers. It is both in your interest and in the interest of the company you hire to organize, plan and execute everything on time.
One of the most important questions 3PL companies must have answers to is the question of the pricing
When it comes to almost any decision, especially business-related, planning your budget is one of the most important steps. You should have that in mind while preparing a list of questions for a company dealing with 3PL. If the costs are not transparent, it is your right to ask. Even if it is, feel free to ask to make sure you got everything right. You cannot allow it to find yourself in the situation where you have to cover for some unexpected bills and costs.
3PL companies will usually charge for storing, packing and transportation. However, if you ask for additional services, they will probably add them to your bill. Also, ask if there are any possible discounts. Therefore, when you realize what you need, you should immediately ask about the pricing. This way, everything will be transparent and all the services fully covered. Any reliable company will be happy to provide you with the precise answers.
Additional questions 3PL companies must have answers to
Also consider asking questions such as:
- Will they be able to store and ship something additional should the need arise?
- When will your shipments reach the customers?
- Ask about the shrinkage allowance.
- Ask about security and insurance.
- Do they deal internationally, e.g. Saudi Arabia?
- Do they support returns if needed?
- Ask about the details of your contract you are not sure about.
In addition to these questions 3PL companies must have answers to, you should also check the company’s reliability for yourself. Any long-standing, trustworthy company should have most of the information visible, but also feel free to contact the logistics company of your choice. That way you can set the deal, but also get all the additional information you need. Good luck!