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Laying the Foundation for 3PL Relationships

Before attempting to enter a long-term relationship with a 3PL, shippers first need to be clear internally about the goals and objectives they hope to achieve and about cultural guard rails that might thwart necessary information sharing, says Sean Coakley, senior vice president at Kenco Logistics Group.

Laying the Foundation for 3PL Relationships

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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Keywords: Supply chain, supply chain management, supply chain management scm, value chain, 3pl, transportation management, third party logistics, logistics management, warehouse management, logistics & supply chain, logistics services, supply chain solutions, supply chain planning, supply chain systems, transportation management systems, supply chain services

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