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  OCTOBER 2013

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Are You Looking for the Right Things?

Scott Weiss, Taylored Service

There is an old story about a fellow who went to a small town with the thought of possibly moving his family there. "What kind of people live around here?" he asked the attendant at the local gas station. "Well," the attendant replied as he checked the oil, "what kind of people live back where you're from?" The visitor took a deep breath and replied, "They are mean and dishonest!" The attendant looked up and answered, "Mister, you'll find them just like that around here, too."

A few weeks later, another fellow stopped by the gas station with the same question. "Excuse me, but I am thinking of moving to your town with my family. What kind of people live around these parts?" Again the attendant asked, "Well, what kind of people live back where you're from?" The stranger thought for a moment and replied, "I find them to be kind, decent, and honest folks." The gas station attendant looked up and said, "Mister, you'll find them just like that around here, too."


There are literally thousands of third party warehouse providers around the country in all shapes and sizes ranging from mom-and-pop to global conglomerates. Some are asset based while others are non-asset. Some only utilize full time employees while others only utilize temp employees.

Although cost is always a factor in any decision, the reality is that price is just one of the factors and not every provider out there will be a good fit for you. Here are a few key questions to consider:

  • It the 3PL a good cultural fit?
  • How well is the 3PL managed?
  • What is the organizational structure and who are it leaders?
  • Who is the team that will be managing my business day-to-day?
  • Does the 3PL have the technology required to perform the tasks?
  • Does the 3PL have the experience and proven track record of shipping product to the same type of customer base that we ship to?
  • Does the company have the required warehouse space, dock capacity, and warehouse personnel to handle my business?
  • Is the 3PL financially sound?
  • Are the 3PL's geographical locations suitable to cover the network?
  • Does the 3PL have the flexibility to respond to changes?
  • Are the customer references acceptable?
  • Can the 3PL meet our performance expectations?
  • Is the 3PL willing to agree to contractual KPI's so that performance can be measured?

As mentioned, price is a factor in the decision and will certainly be discussed. Be prepared to have an open conversation about the rates in order to make sure you have a solid understanding of all the costs so there are no surprises, the rates are within your budget, and the 3PL is comfortable that they will make a fair, economic profit on your business.

Choosing the right warehouse provider to partner with can be a daunting task. After all, there are thousands of providers out there, very often they are far away from where you are, and you are putting your product in between your company and your customer. So you really have to focus hard on looking for the right things and looking beyond just the rates. At the end of the day, asking the right questions will lead to choosing the right 3PL provider. This will allow you to sleep soundly at night while allowing you to focus on marketing and selling more of your product.

Scott Weiss has been in the 3PL industry for over 15 years. As Vice President, Client Solutions for Taylored Service, Scott is responsible for new business development and client satisfaction. Taylored operates multiple distribution centers strategically located by the Ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Newark and works with many consumer product companies to ensure compliance with retailers' delivery requirements. Scott may be reached at or (562) 977-7620.