What Traits do You Look for When You Hire a 3PL?

Hire a 3PL


It can be rather difficult at times to find trustworthy partners to represent your company. And for some reason, this is especially true when you need to hire a 3PL.

Businesses from Fortune 500 giants all the way to mom and pop shops face one of the same struggles. That is, the struggle to hire dedicated, professional, and experienced employees and subcontractors.

This is especially true of companies that rely on a full-scale supply chain.

The process of moving freight from one point to another is a highly complex endeavor in most cases. Furthermore, not all businesses are able to afford to shift their focus from one area of their operation to another quite so easily. And it is for this very reason that businesses often hire a 3PL company to help them manage many of their day-to-day logistics operations.

In past articles, we've talked more than a little about how not all 3PLs are created the same and how they differ. But in this post, we are going to talk about what makes they good ones truly stand out.


What are The 3 Traits You Should Look for Before You Hire a 3PL?

When you hire a 3PL, you are hiring a company that essentially represents your company and makes decisions for the supply chain on your behalf. They speak as your representative through a network of carriers and distributors. Additionally, they generally handle all the paperwork involved.

Needless to say, with as much access and decision-making capabilities that a 3PL has over a companies supply chain, they need to carry certain traits. Traits that exemplify their trustworthiness, transparency, and communication.

There are many different types of 3PLs out there for you to choose from. However, sometimes it can be difficult to figure out which one has what it takes to get the job done!

So, what traits should you be looking for when you hire a 3PL?



Most of the mistakes made within the supply chain are the direct result of some kind of miscommunication or hidden data.

A trustworthy third-party logistics company is able to admit when they've made a mistake. Providing further details on how this mistake happened and how it will not be repeated shows a good degree of transparency.  

While the goal of any supply chain function is to minimize mistakes, it would be illogical to assume that everyone is perfect. Even more so to assume that everything will always go as planned.

So, if you're going to hire a 3PL, make sure they represent themselves in a transparent light right from the start of the relationship.



Seeking the input of others, and just being a good team player all-around, is a highly valuable skill and trait. And not everyone pulls it off very well, so when you find one that does, keep them around!

If you want your 3PL to provide stellar service for you, it can really only be achieved through collaboration. Contrary to popular belief, third-party logistics companies are not mind readers!

The best 3PL's understand the value of collaborating with their clients from start to finish. They want to learn how your business works, the struggles you're currently having, and most importantly what goals and objectives you have for both the short and long-term.

The most professional third-party logistics companies welcome your input. Likewise, you should welcome theirs.

After all, 3PLs are built specifically for collaboration.


Flexibility and Understanding

Supply chain experts realize that business can fluctuate. This ebb and flow of demand for goods is completely natural and expected.

In fact, most retailers and manufacturers experience peak volume times during the year. The best third-party logistics companies not only realize this, but they tailor service offerings to comply with their client’s flexible business needs. They are able to provide scalable services, cut back when needed, and pick up the extra volume as the need increases.

This flexibility ensures that your supply chain operations continue to flow smoothly and without disruption of service.


Final Thoughts

The best 3PLs have years of experience and a proven record for being honest, transparent, flexible, and collaborative. Sadly, it is also a sector of the shipping industry that requires a certain type of company to pull the job off without a hitch.

That's not to say that there aren't any more good 3PLs left out there. Quite the contrary, you just have to know how to find them by understanding which traits a good 3PL should exemplify.

Businesses like Redwood Logistics have established strong relationships with the clients we serve daily. Furthermore, we have a professional, attentive, and dedicated staff that represent our client's companies with pride.

If you need to hire an experienced 3PL to take some of the load off your end, drop us a line right here!