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Reliability and Quality Assurance: Key Elements of a 3PL Partnership

Small to mid-sized shippers trying to keep up with logistics workflows and supply chain operations face a number of challenges that can get in the way of growth, profitability, and customer satisfaction. Keeping track of various transportation supplier partnerships, ensuring up-to-date compliance around insurance coverage and industry certifications, and diligently monitoring every shipment for safety, timing, and completion can sap time, energy, and resources from your core business, and may best be handled instead by a third-party logistics (3PL) partner. 

Choosing the right 3PL is one of the most important decisions for shippers looking to streamline their supply chain operations. The right relationship will free up valuable time and manpower to focus on running and growing business, and ideally will save money for both shippers and their customers. With so many factors to consider and benchmarks to vet, ensuring that a 3PL is reliable and maintains high-quality standards can be a daunting task. 

In this article, we'll share some of the key factors that shippers should consider when assessing the reliability and quality assurance of their 3PL partner. 


Understanding the Concerns of Shippers 

Businesses often have valid concerns about the reliability and quality assurance of their 3PL partner. These concerns may include worries about delays, missed deliveries, damaged goods, compliance issues, and the overall effectiveness of the logistics operations. 

Additionally, businesses may question whether their 3PL has the necessary insurance coverage, carrier vetting processes and industry experience to protect their shipments and mitigate risks.


Important Quality Control Indicators 

Reputable 3PLs implement rigorous quality control processes to provide consistent reliability and compliance throughout the supply chain. These processes include:

Insurance Coverage 

Adequate insurance coverage is essential for protecting shipments and mitigating risks. Reputable 3PLs should have comprehensive insurance policies that cover various aspects of logistics operations, including contingent cargo insurance, contingent auto liability insurance, excess liability, and errors & omissions insurance. Additionally, your 3PL should validate the insurance coverages of each carrier utilized to ensure the insurance is in force and meets and/or exceeds minimum required levels.

One of the key aspects of S-2's quality control processes is our commitment to providing exceptional insurance, in addition to extreme vetting and on-going quality management of all providers. S-2 offers protection of customers' shipments from various types of risk. If a shipment is damaged or lost during transit, we promptly facilitate claims and help to keep our customers informed throughout the process. If a valid claim is not covered for some reason, our contingent coverages will be engaged. Solid insurance coverage and experienced claims facilitators help to ensure that the relationships a shipper has with their clients are secure. If our extended levels of coverage are not enough, that is OK!  We offer the ability to purchase additional, all-risk coverage at exceptional rates!


Industry Certifications

Industry certifications are good indicators of a 3PL's commitment to quality and compliance. These certifications demonstrate that the 3PL adheres to internationally recognized standards for quality management and security.

S-2 holds relevant industry certifications such as TIA Bonding, NASTC Best Broker status, TEANA ELITE and Smartway. These certifications demonstrate an adherence to strict guidelines and protocols to ensure the reliability, integrity, and environmental commitment of our logistics operations, and underscore a commitment to quality management and security standards that other 3PLs may lack. Shippers can look at these third-party certifications and trust that their shipments are in safe hands with S-2.


Track Record 

A proven track record of reliability and performance is perhaps the most important factor when evaluating a 3PL partner. Businesses should look for 3PLs with a history of on-time deliveries, low incidence of shipping errors or damages, and positive reviews from satisfied customers.

S-2 takes a proactive approach to issue resolution to mitigate risks and provide smooth logistics operations. Our teams employ advanced tracking and 24/7 in-transit monitoring systems to identify potential issues before they escalate into major problems. If a shipment is delayed or encounters an issue during transit, for instance, our team of logistics experts can immediately address the issue and minimize any disruptions to the customer's shipments.


S-2 Goes Above and Beyond

Any reputable 3PL should be able to provide evidence of proper insurance coverage, industry certifications, and a good track record. S-2, however, takes their services several steps further by integrating cutting-edge technology solutions into their signature Service Delivered with Heart approach.


Advanced Technologies 

At the heart of S-2's approach lies the proprietary Transportation Optimization Platform (TOP). This advanced platform leverages technology and data to improve transportation management for shippers. By integrating API systems, TOP provides shippers with a comprehensive view of their shipping options, including the ability to leverage S-2’s network of freight forwarders to secure volume pricing usually reserved for larger shipping operations. 

Through TOP, S-2 empowers shippers to evaluate various rates, compare transit times, and ultimately achieve significant cost savings of up to 20%. This enables informed decision-making and cost-effective routing solutions. 

Additionally, we employ multiple TMS systems for carrier and customer-facing activities including on-line tracking, HubSpot CRM for customer communications and engagement and Redkik imbedded insurance portal.


Performance Metrics 

S-2 empowers shippers through their advanced technologies, and uses the data gathered to demonstrate in real-world terms the proven results they provide for their partners over and over. S-2 shares metrics from their service level agreements (SLAs) with clients to showcase their track record of on-time deliveries and low incidence of shipping errors or damages. Concrete data and well-defined performance indicators instill in their customers a strong confidence in S-2’s reliability and quality assurance processes.


Real World Logistics Solutions

Providing real solutions to real problems should be the main objective of any 3PL. S-2 does this by providing flexible, scalable solutions. 

  • Specialized Deliveries: From beachside forklift operations to overnight remodels, S-2 excels in handling specialized deliveries with precision and care. By leveraging their industry experience and partnerships, they devise creative solutions to meet unique shipping requirements with a focus on timely and efficient operations.
  • Secure Transportation: Whether it's transporting high-value items like ATMs or fulfilling government and military shipments, S-2 teams prioritize the secure and compliant transport of sensitive cargo. Their meticulous planning and adherence to stringent regulations guarantee peace of mind for customers.
  • White Glove Services: These services offer protective packaging, inside delivery, and extra care in the handling of specialized shipments. White glove services can also include specialty vehicles that offer features like refrigeration or extra security. 
  • Constant Surveillance: With constant surveillance and proactive milestone tracking, S-2 provides outstanding safety and security of valuable shipments. S-2’s team of logistics specialists include pre-call notifications and visual confirmation in all their shipments, and are on-call 24/7 to proactively tackle any unforeseen issues that may arise during the shipping process.
  • Streamlined Back Office Processes: While S-2 works with a vast network of vetted partners, customers who work with S-2 enjoy single invoicing and continuous carrier monitoring to streamline financial management and cut down on the organizational challenge of working within multiple billing systems. 


Final Thoughts

Choosing a reliable and quality-focused 3PL partner is vital for shippers who need to optimize their supply chain operations. Insurance coverage, industry certifications, and a proven track record of quality service are only the baseline prerequisites for an excellent 3PL partnership. S-2 goes above and beyond, deploying their team of Freight IQ specialists to monitor and confirm every stage of your shipment using proprietary advanced technology, allowing them to Deliver Service with Heart. This is how S-2 is able to assure their customers that their 3PL partner meets reliability and quality assurance standards. 

At S-2, we pride ourselves on setting the standard for reliability and quality in the transportation management industry. We provide our customers with peace of mind and confidence in their shipping operations. Check back soon for our next installment in this series where we explore how S-2’s ability to customize shipping solutions allows their partners to ship safer, faster, and more affordably. In the meantime, for more information on how S-2 can meet your shipping needs, or to schedule a demo of our signature services, contact us today.