The RFP Dating Game: 4 Ways to Know if Your 3PL is Compatible
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
Finding the right logistics provider is a lot like dating. It’s all about finding a compatible partner that you can grow with—someone you trust who shares your interests and inspires you to be a better version of yourself.
When evaluating a potential romantic partner, you (hopefully) don’t settle for just anyone. You look for someone who compliments your strengths and balances out your weaknesses. Shippers that take a strategic approach to finding the right carrier or 3PL, rather than viewing logistics as a commodity, often form long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationships. This leads to improved operations throughout the supply chain and a better experience for customers.
Here are 4 areas of compatibility to consider when hosting your next RFP.
1. Niche or Area of Expertise. Look for a logistics provider whose core competencies align with your needs. Whether it’s geographic location, mode specialization, or a particular freight profile, evaluating synergies leads to more mutually beneficial relationships. For example, if your company ships refrigerated products into retailers in a particular geographic region, make sure the carrier you choose is proficient in these areas. They should have strict temperature-monitoring procedures in place, understand retailer Must Arrive By Dates (MABD), and have trucks regularly positioned near your shipping points. Ask about any certifications, accolades, references, or testimonials they can provide to showcase their past successes with companies similar to you.
2. Mutual Connections. Sometimes the best relationships are born from other relationships. Find out if a potential carrier is already working with any of your suppliers, customers, or competitors. If they already have experience picking up or delivering into your facilities, it will make the transition much more seamless.
3. Network Strengths. If a logistics provider is vying for a particular lane, assess the quality and size of their network as it pertains to that lane. The right provider will be able to offer reliable, scalable capacity to meet any demand fluctuations throughout the year. Additionally, get the names of their other customers in your area. If they regularly deliver into companies with similar requirements to you—like food-grade equipment for example—there will be more available capacity for your outbound needs.
4. Service Standards. If you have certain expectations for communication and visibility, make sure your logistics provider is on the same page. If your company values transparency and accountability, your carrier should communicate frequently, own up to mistakes, share location data with you, etc. It’s also important to find a provider that treats you like a “big fish in a small pond.” Often, this is best accomplished by middle-market logistics providers, who have the financial, technical, and personnel resources in place to handle any type of project, paired with a small-business service mentality. These types of carriers can offer flexibility and customization, which larger providers may struggle with, and they often excel in specific industry niches.
While price and standard service metrics are important, smart shippers recognize that synergies are also vital to supply chain success. From strengthened communication and trust, to alignment on core values, the right partnership—whether romantic or business—makes all the difference.
Our Dating Profile
Capstone Freight Management specializes in transportation solutions that serve a wide range of customers that require high-touch service, from big-box retailers to food manufacturers to distributors. Recognized as a Food Logistics Top 100 3PL four times since 2013, we understand the importance of FDA compliance, food-grade trailers, constant visibility, and the costly nature of unreliable service. Our customers benefit from our next-level technology, a national-reaching carrier network that must meet strict compliance standards, and an agile team that’s able to quickly adapt to your unique requirements.
Think we might be a potential match for you? Contact us to request a quote.