5 MUST DOs When Considering A 3PL Provider

3PL Logistics - 5 MUST DOs When Considering A 3PL Provider

By Nick Bartlett on December 9, 2019
Choosing a third party logistics provider can be challenging. Be sure to follow these 5 MUST DOs to help make sure you select the right provider for your business needs.

A 3PL, also known as a “TPL,” is a third-party logistics provider. A 3PL helps you and your business by providing expertise and best practices to support your supply chain. A 3PL specialises in various services including warehousing, pick and pack, cross-docking, carrier relationships, inventory control and technology. It provides these services to increase your operational efficiency, help control your costs, and improve your customer experience. All in all, opting for a 3PL expands the global reach you can offer customers.

Find Out About CBIP’s Tailor-made International Logistics Services

Here at CBIP, we offer a full range of 3PL services and capabilities that will take your business further. But before you embark on your 3PL journey or consider changing from your existing provider, there are important considerations to make. Here are 5 MUST-DOS before you select your 3PL provider. 


Before deciding on what 3PL provider you want to use, it’s important that you outline why you need one in the first place. There are a number of reasons as to why a company might opt for a 3PL provider. 

Is it due to growth? A desire to service customers in more locations? Do you need to improve stock control & visibility? Reduce internal headaches? Or do you not possess the right skills—or, just as importantly, time—within the company to do it all yourself? 

Outsourcing part or all of your business to a 3PL means you can maximize efficiency and improve your profitability, especially if you find the right fit for your business model. While outsourcing to a 3PL might work for some, it may not work for others. How would you decide if a 3PL is right for your business?

Naturally, all businesses are different and any decision needs to factor in more than just cost. Seeking the expertise of a supply chain consultant could be beneficial, as well as identifying the pros and cons to your business and current operation.

(If you are an operator and have an existing provider, you need to review the 3PL’s success. Consider what has worked well, not worked well, and clearly define what your future needs are when thinking about a change, e.g. better geographical locations, cost improvement, enhanced technology or superior customer service)

RELATED: 5 Dominant 3PL Trends in Asia Today


Stay away from running a standard RFP process that simply focuses on functional costings. You must consider all “costs” that attract value, beyond a line item cost e.g. how much of your staff’s time is tied up managing your 3PL, or a 3PL that focuses on reporting key performance indicators that directly influences your bottom line, such as the speed of an order being fulfilled.

When reviewing a 3PL costing, try and bundle it into one format that works for you – each 3PL presents data differently and this can further add to the smoke and mirrors! We find it helpful when working with customers to break it down into the following sections:

  • Bulk Transportation: moving products from your factory to your warehouse
  • Inbound or Receiving: unloading products from your transportation provider to their warehouse
  • Warehousing: usually a monthly fee based on the amount of space used and charged per CBM/Sqf or other metrics
  • Pick & Pack: collecting units from shelves or bins and packing them for shipment, discounted for higher volumes
  • Local and International Delivery: delivery of product to your end customer
  • Account Management: account creation and software integration
  • Account Minimums: minimum monthly spend is generally required


It is imperative that you request and check client references (at least 3), and double check that they have the capabilities to hand the specific needs of your business. For instance, if you have goods that require insurance on a large-scale, make sure the provider has worked on it before.

If the 3PL cannot provide references to you, this is a RED FLAG. It is equally important that you physically see the locations with your own eyes. Don’t let a video or pictures fool you — if they don’t have the necessary infrastructure in place, there’s no way to be sure they can handle your shipping needs effectively.


Today, we live in the digital age. The right 3PL must be able to offer you an innovative and efficient technology solution. This should handle your growth and improve your company and customer experience.

Historically 3PLs have not progressed well in this area. The development of client software (e.g. ERPs) can be slow and expensive. Put plenty of weight on your decision when it comes to technology and 3PL know-how with digital capability. This could save you a lot down the line. If a 3PL uses technology right, it can help to propel your business into the future and keep growing.


While it’s important your 3PL does its core service well, be sure to make sure they have enough flexibility and can offer “value added services”. Common examples of these additional services include:

  • The ability to provide extra services, e.g kitting/assembly/personalization/continuity plans
  • Years in service and financial stability
  • Contractual flexibility
  • The length of the contract (ranges from 120 days to six months or more) and the   flexibility of changing/adding terms of services (make sure to check on the task plan, time frames and responsibilities of all parties)
  • Fulfillment flexibility and scalability
  • The ability to schedule site visits — check the facilities being proposed to handle your business

Would you like to learn more about what a 3PL & 4PL solution might look like for your business? Get in touch today for a free and open consultation with one of our team. Check out more here.

About Author

Nick Bartlett

Nick Bartlett is CBIP’s director of sales and marketing. His expertise lies in marketing, supply chain management, and corporate retail experience. He honed his skills over 10+ years working across the Asia Pacific region and beyond.

Nick keeps a close eye on new markets and believes successful business operations come through value-based relationships.


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Every e-commerce brand or seller is a little different. So, the best way for us to provide you with a detailed quote is to fill out our online questionnaire here and from here we can walk you through the various options available to you with CBIP Logistics.

No, we do not charge the higher fee associated with long-term storage. No matter how long the goods remain in our warehouse. They are charged the same rate for inventory storage.

Yes! We can store your inventory and replenish Amazon as necessary, helping you adhere to Amazon’s strict rules and regulations for packaging, labeling and shipping.

We charge for storage by either cubic meter, sqft or per pallet / racking space per week. It depends on the request from the customer as one-size doesn’t fit all. It would be better if you schedule a call with us

We provide a variety of services in the logistics landscape which includes Ocean Freight, Airfreight, Domestic Delivery, Warehouse & Distribution and Customs Clearance & Brokerage.

We offer several types of warehouses that are tailored to your requirements and vary among countries, e.g. Bonded Warehouse, General Warehouse, Consolidated Warehouse and Distribution Center.

Yes, you can track it from our platform by using the “Log In” function and access to “B2B” which is dedicated to track any shipment you have with us. This is a real-time platform which integrates with some major carriers so from here you can get the visibility of vessels on the globe map.

  • Origin Management: digital PO management and connected suppliers supported by agnostic 3PL vendor management capabilities.

  • Shipment Tracker: real time tracking also vessel tracking to let you know where the goods are.

  • Destination Management: platform manage the delivery to Distribution Centre and update frequently on platform.

  • Paperless Handling: we centralize the document hub on the platform for shipment-by-shipment. From here you can get the full documentation of a particular shipment within a click.

We offer the consulting services to enterprises who looking for either:

  • Optimizing their existing operations for cost, operation & performance effectiveness.

  • Scale their B2C or B2B business

Yes, our consulting services range from completing assessments on existing business, strategy & planning, tendering & RFP development, vendor selection and transitions & special projects.

Every business, we have a dedicated Account Manager who is the focal contact point that you can get in touch for daily operation.

Greenhouse gases (GHGs) are any gases that contribute to climate change through the effect of global warming (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and more). As more of these gases are released, the atmosphere traps more heat from the sun every year. This is causing the climate to change. GHGs and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are often used interchangeably with carbon emissions when talking about the climate.

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