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Three downsides to a 3PL RFP. And, what to do instead.

Whether your business has grown and you’re searching for an expanded order fulfillment capabilities solution or you’re seeking a cost-effective solution to combat rising order fulfillment shipping costs, making the decision to bring a third-party logistics provider on board is a big deal. Outsourcing your order fulfillment or delivery services is a customer-facing role, it’s costly, and it’s crucial to have the right solution in place. Sending out a blanket RFP may be setting you up for long-term issues.

Three Downsides to an RFP:

  1. Limited questions. An RFP’s structured format may hinder the provider’s ability to ask questions about your business, which can limit the solution they propose. It also limits your ability to ask important questions about their pitch, which may save you time in the long run.
  2. Not enough information. When a 3PL replies with a proposal, they’re pitching you a solution with limited scope. Without being able to request the specific data they need to customize a solution to fit your unique business needs, such as special bundling or kitting requests or branded packaging and inserts, you might miss out on a superior solution.
  3. Lack of dialogue. By not allowing deeper dialogue, you prevent the provider from learning about your business and you may lose out on customer satisfaction and savings. If company providers don’t dialogue with you, there may be problems with your provider later on down the line; you’re risking the long-term partnership.

Instead of sending out your next RFP, consider this: ask to meet with your top third-party logistics candidates. If a logistics provider won’t spare you the time to dialogue now, will they later on? It can be a good indicator to see if your priorities match and will help you better evaluate a long-term 3PL partner.

Consider These Factors When Evaluating a Potential 3PL Provider:

  1. Services or Capabilities

    What technology, locations, equipment, and processes do they have?
  2. Culture

    Is the provider’s company a cultural fit with yours? 
  3. Team

    Who’s on their team and what do they bring to the table? 
  4. Values

    Do your priorities, such as sustainability and customer service, align?
  5. Value of the Solution and ROI

    Understand the value a solution provides beyond just the cost on paper. What’s the overall benefit of superior service to you?
  6. Implementation and Onboarding Capabilities

    Will your provider set your solution up the right way on the first try?
  7. The Partnership 

    Do you both have the same definition of a partnership?
  8. Communication

    Consider your communication throughout the evaluation process, including the provider’s responsiveness, frequency, etc.
  9. Energy and Enthusiasm

    Is this partnership just another dollar to them, or are they passionate about it as you are? 

When it’s time to onboard a third-party logistics company, consider engaging in a more personal approach to ensure you’re not missing out on a customized solution that will deliver customer satisfaction and cost savings for years to come.

Ready for a customized solution that delivers customer loyalty? Contact FIDELITONE online or by phone at 800.475.0917.


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FIDELITONE helps you earn customers’ loyalty through specialized services in inbound logistics, order fulfillment, last mile delivery and service parts management.

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