8 Excuses for Not Working with a 3PL Provider
09/14/2012 — Scott Frederick
When a member of the PartnerShip sales team talks with a prospective customer for the first time, they occasionally are met with some resistance to the idea of working with a 3PL provider. For small and medium businesses, working with a 3PL can seem like a daunting notion. Here are some common "excuses" cited as reasons for not working with a 3PL partner:
- "I can't afford to switch carriers." In some instances this may be a good reason to stay the course if you are getting really good pricing that can't be matched by the 3PL. However, in most cases a 3PL can use its buying clout to negotiate better rates on your behalf. A 3PL can also audit and consolidate freight bills, and provide claims filing assistance, saving additional time that the small businesses can use to focus on more critical tasks. Additionally, some 3PLs offer additional liability protection on your shipments that you may not be receiving today (for instance, PartnerShip provides $25/pound liability coverage, whereas many carriers offer only $10/pound).
- "Freight costs are not a big deal because my customer pays for the freight." Unless you're product is totally indispensible, this is extremely short-sighted thinking. The total landed price if a product always influences the final sale price. Your customer may not care now, but if they find a cheaper alternative - one that can possible be sourced from a local vendor instead of you - their business will be at risk.
- "I buy all of my inbound materials vendor prepaid." If you are the customer, then you are probably overpaying for your inbound goods if you trust that your vendor is always giving you the lowest freight price. Wouldn't it at least make sense to explore both "inbound prepaid" and "inbound collect" options to see which yields the lower overall cost of goods? The reality is that there's no such thing as "free shipping," so don't be fooled into thinking those costs aren't hidden somewhere.
- "Freight costs are not of a concern since my profit margins are good." Sure, margins may be good today, but they won't be good tomorrow if your customer finds a lower-priced alternative. Even if they don't find a lower-priced alternative, what's wrong with the idea of improving upon your already good margins? You never know when those additional profits may be needed down the road.
- "I pay my staff good salaries, so I shouldn't need a 3PL to do their jobs for them." If you are a small or medium business, then in all likelihood transportation decisions are only a small portion of your employees' overall responsibilities. When you work with a quality 3PL, you aren't duplicating their work - you're giving them the tools and support to do their jobs more effectively. A 3PL partner will allow you and your people to focus on your core competencies which are probably marketing, merchandising, and selling your products.
- "I already have great pricing with my current carrier." If your only evidence of this statement comes from your current carrier, they may be guilty of a conflict of interest. Would they really admit it if you had bad pricing? Definitely not. Additionally, some carriers can be price-competitive in some lanes, but not competitive in other lanes. When you work with a quality 3PL partner, you generally get a few options for each of your shipping lanes ensuring you enjoy the lowest possible cost on every shipment, every time.
- "My business is down and so I'm not shipping as much." If your business is down like so many others in today's economy, your "buying power" is probably down as well. This makes it all the more imperative that you leverage the buying clout of a 3PL. They can ensure, no matter if your business is up or down, you maintain low-priced freight rates that are consistent with the most competitive, prevailing shipping rates in the market.
- "My business is up and I simply don't have time to deal with a 3PL." No one can deny that entering into a new partnership with a 3PL - or any other supplier - takes a certain amount of time. However, if you do the real math, quite often the nominal time investment it will take to bring a quality 3PL on board will more than pay for it in future freight and time savings. Additionally, having this foundation in place will allow you to continue to maximize your business growth going forward, without having to get bogged down with the nitty-gritty details around shipping and carrier relations.
The advantages of using a 3PL freight partner are clear, and it is important to choose the right one. As a dependable and reputable 3PL freight partner, PartnerShip is your shipping connection to substantial discounts and customized solutions for your business. For more information contact us at 800-599-2902 or email select@PartnerShip.com. You can also download our short, electronic white paper below on "The Advantages of Using a 3PL Freight Partner" by clicking the button below.