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6 Cornerstones to a Successful 3PL-Customer Relationship

6 Cornerstones of a Successful 3PL Partnership

Hiring a third-party logistics (3PL) provider is a strategic approach for businesses to increase their capacity without expanding their overhead.

This engagement, which some might view as transactional, is actually an exercise in relationship building. Businesses that hire 3PL providers are seeking to leverage the expertise and technology of a trusted partner who will function as an extension of their company.

In today’s intricate supply chain landscape, the alliance between a 3PL provider and its customer is critical. Building a solid partnership is mutually beneficial and supports collaborative problem-solving.

Quality relationships encourage retention, goal alignment, and continuous improvement projects, all of which deliver cost benefits to both parties.

The 6 cornerstones outlined below are the foundation for a successful 3PL customer relationship.

1. Creating Control

Total business control starts within the four walls of the warehouse and extends to every node in the supply chain, both upstream and downstream. The client should always retain full control of their business with the 3PL partner supplying the tools, technology, and expertise needed to enhance the overall process.

Using the right combination of skills and technology, a 3PL partner can integrate the entire scope of their client’s supply chain, offering end-to-end visibility. This real-time view guarantees that the client can manage all supply chain activities concurrently from one location.

2. Leveraging Technology Everywhere

Technology plays a pivotal role in supply chain operations offering complete oversight and saving both time and money on repetitive tasks. Supply chains consist of many moving parts – employing the right suite of technology offers connected visibility and provides the client with centralized control of all systems.

Tier 1 technology, including TMS and WMS systems, as well as automation solutions such as cobots (picking assistant robots),  ensures quality and provides the highest value for clients. These advanced systems generate real-time tracking and analytics and should be used to optimize every activity across the supply chain.

Remember, we live in a time when people expect quick deliveries, and real-time tracking information and technology make this possible.

3. Custom Solutions

Every business and its logistics requirements are unique. There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution for supply chain success. Understanding the importance of tailored solutions to meet each customer’s specific needs promotes a lasting partnership.

Logistics solutions should be purpose-built, adaptable, and scalable to align with client objectives and achieve desired results. A successful partnership is one in which the 3PL partner understands the customer’s specific needs and goals, and provides the unique skills and technology required.

Additionally, 3PL partners should have the foresight to adapt to inevitable changes along the way in order to continue supplying high caliber support to their customers.

4. Protecting the Supply Chain

It’s important to plan for ‘tomorrow’ not just ‘today’. Sustainable practices pave the way for future generations.

Businesses and customers alike are taking a more holistic approach to the manufacturing process. When making purchasing decisions consumer considerations reach beyond just price and product. People want to feel good about how they spend their money – they want their shopping habits to match their ethos.

By incorporating sustainable practices into the supply chain, the benefits trickle down to both business owners and their customers.

5. Driving Sustained Quality

Quality is not a goal; it’s a journey. Delivering a quality output means constantly reevaluating processes and staying abreast with the latest and greatest technology.

No activity is immune to errors, sustaining quality work requires ongoing rigorous testing at every step in the process. The key to reducing or avoiding quality related issues is to course correct as early as possible. Continuous review, evaluation, and improvement to the entire supply chain is critical to maintain quality.

A strong 3PL partnership provides the experience, advanced technology, and confidence to ensure an exceptional end result.

6. Win/Win Partnership

Engaging with a 3PL partner allows the client to focus on what they do best (run their business) while outsourcing the complex and multi-faceted activities of their supply chain. A successful relationship between a 3PL provider and the client is built through trust and longevity.

Hiring a 3PL provider is an investment in collaboration to achieve mutual goals and drive success. By aligning efforts and resources with the clients’ vision and mission, the outcome benefits everyone involved.


At Legacy, customer relationships are the foundation of our business. With over 40 years in the industry, and advanced technology at the forefront of everything we do, our services lead the way in both quality and value. We rely on the six cornerstones outlined above to serve as a guide for both new and existing partnerships.

As with any good alliance, when our clients succeed, we succeed. It’s rare in the business world to find such a transparently beneficial alignment of goals. By partnering with Legacy, our clients can focus more on the core of their business and trust that their supply chain is in good hands .

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