How Do I Choose a Third-Party Logistics Provider?

For those return merchant authorizers with the luxury of choice in their network of third-party logistics (3PL) providers, there are a lot of factors to consider. For most companies, especially OEMs, it’s important to find a provider in their consumer’s local area who can conform to best returns practices. Other authorizers are looking for these qualities and then some, making efforts to ensure that consumers are well taken care of and returns run smoothly. 

ServiceCentral provides software and systems that not only assists with RMA management and internal operations but also helps authorizers network with their ideal 3PL providers. This post will cover the elements that make 3PL providers stand out.

#1 Location

When consumers have a warranty claim, return, or repair need, the ability to connect with adequate service providers in their own community can make a huge difference in their overall satisfaction with an OEM.

Where are your products selling most? Where are the greatest needs for 3PL assistance? Believe it or not, there are reverse logistics tools that can help you partner with 3PL companies that serve the very consumers you want to reach in the areas they live. Prioritize location as much as possible and you’re a step closer to maintaining good customer retention.

#2 Workflow Tactics

As the manufacturer of your product, you see the device or tool from conception through completion. Ensuring that workflows related to the successful logistics of your product is of utmost importance.

A service provider that can meet your standards of workflow will help you maintain a sense of order throughout your greater operation. Imagine a world where each 3PL provider you partnered with conformed to the administrative processes you prefer?

#3 Resources & Capabilities

Access to resources and the capabilities to use them – this is an essential element in an ideal 3PL provider. Every year, software and technological developments make supply chain processes easier, especially when it comes to communicating vital data and product visibility.

You can have the easiest workflow and the most conveniently located 3PL partner, but if they’re not equipped with the technological resources necessary to maintain the demands of the partnership, there’s little potential for smooth operations.

#4 Internal Management & Culture

Our fourth and final element, one that successful companies value in a partnership: management and culture. We’re not saying the cultural fit should be perfect or that your 3PL provider adheres to the same values as your company. But you should expect a certain standard of etiquette when it comes to their relationship management. If there are management or cultural red flags (always late to meetings, disrespectful behavior), odds are you’ll run into logistics issues too.

3PL Software & Networking Tools for Better RMA Management

ServiceCentral aims to be the glue holding together the logistical needs of every reverse supply chain phase. We develop software and systems engineered to provide simple solutions for complex logistics, and the simple solutions accessible for you and your partners.

With ServiceNetwork™, our reverse logistics software for 3PL management, you can not only set technician-guided workflows and ensure quality for the consumer, but you can also partner with service providers in your consumer’s local area. Our network includes over 3,000 walk-in service centers and mail-in depots across the continent, and they’re ready for quick onboarding. 

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