Discussions surrounding what customers should expect from their logistics provider are common and necessary in the supply chain industry. However, this topic explores the reverse: what should 3PLs be looking for in an ideal customer? This answer can vary depending on the provider's niche within the market, and whether a 3PL focuses on public warehousing, dedicated warehousing, retail fulfillment, etc. But while everyone has a different ideal customer profile, there are a few traits that are universal when it comes to a good customer relationship.
1. Communicates timely and openly
Communication is the most important aspect of building an excellent provider/customer relationship. Being able to talk honestly about what is going well and what is not is the basis for a strong foundation. It is crucial to know that when a 3PL reaches out to its customer with an issue, they will respond promptly and work together to build a solution. Additionally, a 3PL values customers who provide correct information regarding their requirements, timelines, and procedures.
2. Aligns with their core values
Every 3PL evaluates their own team members based on their core values, but what about their customers? If a company decides its most important core value is integrity, but its customer is consistently providing false information and not giving honest feedback, it is likely that the relationship will not be successful. A provider's best customers are going to understand their business and share certain values that are rarely compromised.
3. Pays invoices timely and accurately
Each account for a 3PL may have different payment terms and structure, but knowing that their customer will pay the invoice on time and in full is very beneficial. It is obviously crucial for a provider to receive timely payments in order to maintain cash flow and be strong financially. However, there is nothing wrong with a customer questioning certain items on an invoice. This shows that the customer is paying attention to detail and invested in the operation.
4. Has a desire to build relationships throughout the company
Most customers are not just working with one point of contact with their 3PL, Different conversations include for daily operations, billing, continuous improvement, new business opportunities, and much more. Is the customer eager and willing to meet with different people in the company, or do they only communicate with one person for all their issues? A logistics provider always seeks customers who want to build a long-term partnership, rather than a transactional relationship.
5. Has complete trust in the ability to improve their supply chain
A customer that has confidence in their provider's ability, even if they may disagree on certain things, is the ultimate goal. An example would be if a 3PL comes to their customer with new technology that will greatly improve efficiency and save costs over the course of a contract, but the customer is hesitant because of the upfront investment. When a customer can meet with their 3PL and know that the 3PL has their best interests in mind, it can make these decisions a lot easier.
At Spartan, we are always open to discussing potential opportunities and building mutually beneficial relationships. Looking for 3PL solutions? Contact the team at Spartan today.