Vet Your 3PL With Three Simple Questions

The most recent DAT Trendlines shows spot market rates surging! During the week of June 3-June 9, van rates rose 10¢, reefer rates went up 14¢, and the national flatbed rate increased by another 6¢. If these recent rates are any indication, we are in for an explosive summer.

Shippers are fighting tight capacity caused by the ongoing driver shortage, the continuing fall-out from the enforcement of the ELD mandate, and a good economy. They are looking for ways to differentiate themselves from a pack of shippers in the need of quick and efficient distribution of goods.

One way for shippers to set themselves apart is to partner with an experienced third party logistics provider (3PL). But not all 3PLs are equal. In fact, smart shippers will understand that there are some shady outfits out there, and the wrong logistics partner can ruin your reputation.

Over at Help Scout, they’ve published some pretty interesting statistics about the impact of bad customer service. According to a 2017 American Express Customer Service Barometer, half of Americans have decided against a planned purchase because of bad service and 33% consider switching companies after one instance of poor service.

Equally important–Americans are much more likely to spread the news about bad service than they are good service. And according to, one bad experience with a company will cause 51% of customers to ditch that company forever.

In other words, shippers want to make sure they don’t hand their reputation off to a logistics partner who might ruin it with one bad pickup or one damaged delivery. That’s why it’s more important than ever to ask the right questions when you are vetting a potential logistics partner.

At AM Transport Services, we care about your freight, and we care about you. That’s why we’ve compiled a short list–three questions you should ask when vetting a potential logistics provider; after all, a 3PL is only as good as its strengths.


So about those questions . . .

How quickly do you pay your carriers? Shippers need this information before doing business with a logistics provider because quick and efficient payment is a good indicator of a financially healthy business. But that’s not all–the truth is that shippers are vying for carriers right now, and quick payment will help you rise to the top of the shipper of choice list.  

How long have you been in business? This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s not. A 3PL’s length of time in business can offer you some guarantees. Here at AM Transport Services, we have 30 years of experience in the transportation industry. That means we have weathered the storms of a volatile market, time and time again. We have long-term relationships with carriers, distributors, warehouse managers, drivers, and consignees–folks at every stop in the supply chain. And this experience and relationship building benefits the shippers who partner with us.

What kind of TMS and technology do you offer? Don’t be afraid to inquire about technology. If a 3PL isn’t using innovative and cutting-edge technology, you are not getting your money’s worth. The truth is that cloud computing has leveled the playing field as far as technology goes. If a 3PL doesn’t want to answer this question, then they aren’t investing the time or study into streamlining processes and creating efficiencies.  


The logistics experts at AM Transport are always happy to answer these questions; in fact, we encourage you to ask them. We like our answers, and we’re sure you will too!