Third Party Logistics Companies (3PLs) are not all made the same, and you might find out that the one you’re working with just isn’t meeting your expectations. However, changing 3PL providers for warehousing and fulfillment can be a huge undertaking. At a certain point, you may realize you’ve been putting up with things that hold your business back just so you don’t have to deal with the hassle of switching. You need to weigh the pros and cons of the two situations: either you stay with your old 3PL provider and deal with the same slow order fulfillment, mixed up orders, and delayed response times, or you bite the bullet and switch to a fulfillment provider that’s going to allow your business to thrive.
Changing 3PL providers to a reliable 3PL can take your order fulfillment to the next level and allow your business to thrive. However, you’ll need to work out how to navigate 3PL contracts, calculate new shipping costs, integrate your store with the new company, and move your inventory to new warehouses while still fulfilling orders. Once you get everything set up, all that’s left is to watch your business grow.
Nothing is more frustrating than when you have trusted another company with part of your business, and they aren’t delivering the results you expect or need. Working with a 3PL can come with huge benefits for your business, but when things go wrong, it can take a toll on your bottom line. Issues with a third party fulfillment provider can take a number of different forms, from slow fulfillment operations to improperly packaged or fulfilled orders.
Whatever the case may be, if you’re frustrated with your provider, that’s the first sign. When it boils down to it, if your 3PL makes you consider working with a different company, that’s probably a sign that it isn’t working out. If communicating with your 3PL about unsatisfactory service doesn’t solve the issues, then it’s time to examine your options.
It’s not easy to end a long-term business partnership for several reasons. Not only is it difficult to break commitments, but it can also be a challenge to figure out how to logistically manage the change. There’s so much to do, and you need to make sure that you are still able to service customer orders while the change is happening, otherwise, you may end up with a damaged reputation when all is said and done.
The first thing you’re going to need to think about is the contract you have with your old provider. If the contract term is nearing its end, and you plan to switch when the contract is up, then you don’t have much to worry about. However, if your contract won’t expire for some time, then you’ll need to start considering your options for terminating the contract.
Contracts often contain clauses about the conditions in which the agreement between parties can be terminated, but those conditions are usually based on things such as a percentage of orders fulfilled wrong, a percentage of inventory missing or damaged, or some other kind of measurable service failure. These contracts rarely ever include something like dissatisfaction as a viable reason for terminating a contract. If you need to terminate an agreement with a 3PL without qualifying for termination as per the contract, then you may need to get a lawyer involved.
When you are negotiating contracts with new 3PL companies, make sure you are upfront about your vision for your company and for the partnership. Discuss your needs and wants early on, and make sure you end up with a contract that will work for you.
Probably the biggest concern that companies have in regard to changing 3PL providers is what will happen to their inventory and the day-to-day order fulfillment process in the midst of the change. That’s a valid concern, and if it isn’t handled correctly, it can have a negative effect on your customer’s experiences with your brand. That’s why it’s so important to work with a fulfillment partner that has a solid plan in place for causing the least amount of disruption to your supply chain.
If you have your goods in multiple distribution centers, then the inventory can be moved one warehouse at a time, while the other locations continue to operate as usual. Meanwhile, inventory management continues to happen in both the old and the new 3PLs’ warehouses. It is a slow process, but the seamless transition ensures minimal disruption to the order fulfillment process. If all goes well, your customers wouldn’t even notice the interruption. However, if you think there will be delivery delays, even if they’ll be short, you should inform your customers immediately.
One thing you’ll need to consider is the fact that all your distribution locations will change. The new 3PL you are going to be working with likely won’t have distribution centers in all the same cities as your previous one, so you’re going to need to consider how that will affect your shipping times and any shipping guarantees you offer on your website. If you offer different prices for shipping relative to where the customer is ordering from, then you’re going to need to calculate those prices again.
As you are moving operations to the new 3PL’s facilities, you need to be in contact with your suppliers, and any other logistical partners you may be working with. It is important that all supplies and products get shipped to the right place, so you need to update the addresses on file with your suppliers. That way, you can ensure that your new 3PL warehouses can continue receiving a steady stream of inventory.
In addition to that, you will need to set up website integration with your new 3PL’s warehouse management system, so they can react to new orders the second they come in. If you’ve found a good 3PL, then the integration should be seamless.
Changing 3PL providers isn’t easy, but we at R+L Global Logistics have streamlined the process as much as possible. Our flexible plans and customizable solutions include personalized tactics for moving stock between warehouses and integrating the most advanced technologies, so you can get the most out of our warehouses from day one. No matter how fast or slow you want the process to go, we will work with you and your old 3PL to make sure the process goes smoothly with minimal disruptions for your customers.
If you want a 3PL that can scale up with you as your business grows, while keeping fulfillment costs low, look no further than R+L Global Logistics. We can handle huge order volumes without sacrificing customer service. We can also help you with how ecommerce works for you. Plus, our network of transportation services can keep freight costs low, so you can offer your customers discounted shipping and delivery costs.
Switching 3PLs is a hassle. Let R+L Global Logistics take some of the stress off your shoulders. Reach out to us today at (866) 989-3082 to learn more, or request a quote if you’re ready to take the plunge and switch 3PLs now!