How to Select a 3PL Partner: Know the Market

December 03, 2019 BY Jasmine Joseph


Your ideal 3PL partner needs to match your business needs. To kickstart the selection process, consider the market of 3PLs and how firms offer different strengths and weaknesses.

Among 3PLs serving different customer segments, one main split is between large national or multi-national companies and regional firms.

1. Nationals or Multi-Nationals

  • Many facilities, some for single clients only
  • Available capital to build single client facility if required
  • Attractive transportation rates; large volumes shipped means steeper discounts from carriers
  • Expect high quality IT platforms
  • Consistent service levels across locations (unless they are rebranding purchased facilities)
  • Risk of being a small fish in a big pond
  • Low flexibility in their operating models; any deviation can be expensive

2. Regional Players

  • 1-3 facilities, each for multiple clients
  • Likely to receive customized attention from management
  • Greater operational flexibility
  • More room to negotiate costs as they will be eager to win your business

Selecting a new 3PL Partner requires a methodical selection process in order to explore all relevant scenarios and address your business needs. Get the step-by-step guide on how to select your ideal 3PL partner by downloading LIDD’s eBook Third Party Logistics (3PL) Selection.