You and Your 3PL


Trust and Respect. The two things needed for a successful business, personal, and… a 3PL relationship.

More often than not, these terms become the exception, not the rule. Many shippers that use third-party logistics providers (3PLs) believe that micromanagement and persistent price pressure will prove the best result. In reality, the opposite is true.

Why a good 3PL relationship matters to your business?

The more is invested in a 3PL relationship with a shipper, as a partner, not a boss, the most successful that relationship will be.

In the research by Dr. John Langley, Ph.D., Supply Chain and Information Systems Group Faculty at Penn State University has done extensive research on the topic. According to him, “Effective client-3PL relationships exhibit a mutual commitment to the creation of value for both parties and to the overall supply chain”.

Dr. Langley continues, “..too much emphasis on the price of 3PL’s makes it challenging to focus on innovation and programs that drive savings and improved performance.”

What can you do, as a shipper to promote mutual trust and respect in your relationship with your 3PL? Below are 5 suggestions to do so:

Setting attainable goals

Set realistic expectations from the start, that way you’re able to work together to achieve your goal or solve your problem.

Culture Fit

This relationship is a long-term partnership. Be sure that the relationship feels right, and of course, the numbers look right.

Define the contract terms

Clearly, state the requirements and expectations to be held in your contract. By stating the activities you want to be done, operational performance expectations, and payment terms – your relationship will automatically be much smoother. If these terms aren’t clear, you and your 3PL can be on different pages and no one is happy then.

Communication is key

We love to talk about how your business is doing. It is important to dedicate time to speak with your 3PL, whether it be a weekly call or monthly face-to-face – communication is the heart of our relationship.

Share your strategies

We’re here to help you! Let us know your long-term business strategies. By sharing this information, we can help you grow and flourish in your market. This shared intelligence inspires more insightful thinking and better performance on both ends of the relationship.

Interested in working with a 3PL? Have questions about PLS’s services? Need a freight quote? Contact us.

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