Laying a solid foundation for a 3PL relationship begins with shippers being clear about what they are looking for, says Coakley. “Do they want a short-term solution, which generally means a commodity-based purchase, or are they truly looking to develop a long-term partnership with a 3PL, which requires a willingness to have open communications? That’s the first step,” he says.
Shippers also need to be honest with themselves about internal guard rails around decision making before entering a relationship with a 3PL, Coakley says. “They need to define and understand parameters within their company that drive the decision making process and internal business requirements.”
It also is important for each party to understand the culture of potential partners and whether those cultures are a fit, says Coakley. “You have to look at the guiding principles and values of potential partners and judge whether they are compatible with yours.”
Conversations on these issues are where the building of trust and respect begins, he says. “Trust and respect are critical foundations for any relationship because they enable open communications and dialog around goals and objectives and corporate strategy.”
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