Insights & News

Putting Our Foot Down: Rejecting Bad Practices in the 3PL Industry

Posted On June 9, 2020

“I’ve worked with a third-party logistics company before.”

It’s something we hear often from prospects and new clients. “3PL” is a broadly used term that means different things to different people, and sometimes bad experiences with a 3PL company can make people think that’s how all logistics partners work.

To set the record straight, we’re sharing some common issues in the 3PL industry, and how Flat World is rejecting those practices and pushing the industry forward.

PROBLEM: Taking control over the supply chain process.

It’s sad, but true: many 3PL companies dictate what shipping options their clients choose. (Often, it’s the cheapest option, so that those companies can claim they save clients money—but more on that later.)

However, we don’t think that’s how business should be done. We understand that every company has unique priorities, and we’re dedicated to providing the best individual solution for each of our clients.

Instead of assuming all companies are the same, we empower our clients to make their own decisions using the technology we provide. Our Pipeline software provides plenty of options to allow companies to choose what’s best for them, whether that’s the fastest option, the least-expensive option or something in the middle.

PROBLEM: 3PL companies trap customers in long contracts.

We’ve heard some horror stories about 3PL contracts. The most common is a three-year deal that starts out great and crashes and burns by the end. So at Flat World, we don’t require them.

Instead, we work hard every day to keep earning your business. For us, excellence is an expectation. And it works—Flat World maintains over a 95% customer retention rate.

PROBLEM: Focusing solely on cost savings.

There’s no denying—partnering with a third-party logistics company often results in cost savings. But financial savings are just part of the bigger picture.

Some 3PL companies make grand claims about saving clients a certain percentage of their costs. But Flat World avoids making those claims. Why? Because we understand that every client has different needs and goals, and while saving money is great, there are also other benefits of working with a logistics partner.

We think of these benefits in the form of hard savings and soft savings. Hard savings are financial savings you see reflected on invoices, while soft savings represent money saved through increased productivity and a reduction in errors. Both hard and soft savings help the bottom line—but soft savings can mean increased customer satisfaction and fewer employee headaches.

PROBLEM: Cookie-cutter services that don’t offer flexibility.

When it comes to supply chains, one size does not fit all.

Often, 3PL companies have a menu of set options and pricing. It makes things easier for them, but doesn’t provide the best solutions for clients.

We understand that the needs of our individual clients often morph over time, so the services we provide for them change as we work together. Instead of a fixed list of offerings, our team members get to know how our clients run their businesses and we create custom solutions based on their needs. The possibilities are limitless.

All 3PL companies are not created equal.

Like any industry, the quality of 3PL companies runs the gamut. We’re dedicated to pushing the industry forward, which means steering clear of the bad practices other companies cling to.

Doing things different usually means we spend more time with new clients, learning their processes and helping them get exactly what they need. But in the end, with more time, money and efficiency savings for our customers, it’s worth it.