This is the third entry in our series on Final Mile (also known as last mile) shipping. To read all entries, please click here:
- What is Final Mile Logistics?
- Controlling Final Mile Costs
- What To Look For In A Tech-Enabled 3PL For Final Mile
- Final Mile Guide: Managing Costs And Operational Efficiency
How to Find the Right Last Mile 3PL Partner
Last mile logistics- also known as final mile- continues to reshape the foundations of today’s supply chains. In the first two installments of our series of blog posts exploring final mile logistics, we defined final mile and investigated ways to reduce costs associated with this mode. In this post, we will discuss how to find the right final mile provider for your business. Here is a checklist of questions to ask prospective 3PLs when evaluating their last mile offering:
- Service: Last mile is all about service. Whether you realize it or not, your last mile provider is seen by your customer as an extension of your brand. If they are unprofessional in their attire or demeanor, if they fail to deliver on time, or if they do not perform expected services such as installation, assembly, or hauling away old equipment, your customer will take notice and may form negative associations which damage brand loyalty.
- Coverage: If your last mile 3PL’s service is limited to a specific geography, you’re really only getting a partial solution to your needs. What happens when you receive an order that falls outside their zone of coverage? You’re back to square one. Top-tier last mile 3PLs should offer coverage to all contiguous 48 U.S. states.
- Technology: TMS technology is absolutely essential for supporting your last mile shipping needs. From finding the least-cost LTL linehaul and dedicated last mile carrier, to managing your freight and gaining visibility to shipments en route, your last mile 3PL should offer a robust TMS that does this, and more, including combining BOLs and other documentation from the linehaul LTL provider and dedicated last mile carrier into a single document. In particular, look for a 3PL that has a truly multimodal TMS that can provide you with a unified view of your Truckload and LTL shipping as well.
- Speed: Some 3PLs that purport to provide last mile services rely on LTL providers for both the linehaul and final delivery, which can be problematic for a variety of reasons. Look for a 3PL that utilizes LTL for the linehaul and a dedicated last mile carrier for the delivery and shave precious days off the total transit time.
- Cost: There is a common misconception that utilizing an LTL-only approach to last mile is less expensive than working with dedicated last mile carriers. This misconception is rooted in a failure to take into account the total landed costs of last mile shipments. For example, on its face, the LTL-only rate may be less expensive than utilizing a dedicated last mile carrier. However, what this does not take into account are the unanticipated accessorial charges which are common when utilizing an LTL-only approach, including Notification, Lift Gate at Destination, Residential, Inside Delivery, Jobsite Delivery and Limited Access. Shippers that have experienced these accessorial charges can attest to their negative impact on the total landed cost of a shipment- particularly when assessed with multiple charges.
- Damages: Lastly, using the LTL-only approach carries a higher risk of damage due to frequent loading and unloading of freight along the journey, as well as damage caused by delivering into locations with no loading dock. Look for a 3PL that combines the best of both worlds: LTL linehaul with dedicated last mile service providers.
GlobalTranz combines people, processes, technologies and key relationships with LTL and final mile carriers to streamline your final mile freight management, reducing delays, and ensuring competitive rates. Learn more by requesting a consultation with GlobalTranz today.