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West Coast and California Logistics Blog

Managing Client Relationships

Fri, Jan 13, 2017 @ 04:14 PM / by Arlene M. Slivka

3PL partnerships work best when both parties are engaged and understand each other.  Like any relationship, it takes some work to get to the ideal level of partnership.  The 2017 Annual Study on the State of Logistics Outsourcing published by Dr. C. John Langley stated:  91% of 3PL users and 97% of 3PL providers reported that their relationships are successful and that their work is yielding positive results. 

Following are three keys to establishing an effective successful relationship and avoid a costly breakup and transition.

Know each other’s business

managing client relationshipsOutsourcing is only successful when each party understands the business, objectives and process flow of the entire supply chain. When the 3PL provider understands the upstream and downstream process and the client knows the 3PL process – great things happen like system generated retail compliance, customized auto reporting, streamlined pick processes based on order type and transportation consolidation!  Improvements are fostered by a deep understanding and lead to improved service and costs. Spend time walking through the process at the 3PL and communicate the pain points in your supply chain to engage the 3PL to share their expertise.  In fact, actually “walk” through the process – visit the 3PL – walk through the building – discuss the work you will do together.

Set the expectations

Clearly communicate what the 3PL must do to be successful and setup time to review the metrics on a regular basis.  Set the performance goals together and track them to discuss on a regular basis.  Example Metrics:

  • On time shipping performance
  • Inbound dock to stock
  • Order quality
  • Inventory accuracy
  • Request turnaround time
  • Reporting availability

Scheduled communication

Relationships are at their best when there is regular open and honest communication.  Schedule time to meet each week or month (depending on the complexity of your business) and discuss the metrics, overall business trends, challenges and successes!  Get together in person at least once a year to observe and evaluate the 3PL’s setup and process flow.  This small investment in time will pay dividends in the long run to work through challenges and business changes.

Following these simple tips to partner with your 3PL provider with have a positive impact on your supply chain and give you piece of mind that your customers are receiving the best quality of service! 

At Weber, we are agile and eager to align with your needs to provide the services that are important to your business. Contact us to learn more about our service offering. 

Topics: 3PL, Management, Solution

Written by Arlene M. Slivka

Director – Solutions Engineering

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