3PL service 3PL reliability

What are the most important metrics when benchmarking your logistics provider(s)?

When Eye for Transport (eft) – the global provider of business intelligence for the transport, logistics and supply chain industry – asked shippers this question as part of its 2017 Global Logistics Report, 35.8 percent of shippers said reliability, 24.5 percent said value for money, and 18.9 percent said customer service and speed of response to queries and problems.

Let’s break down these metrics and talk about why they are imperative to success.

3PL Reliability

35.8% of shippers say they benchmark providers against this – Too often, we hear from new customers that other 3PLs have left them hanging. Maybe a carrier committed to moving a load, then canceled last minute, increased their price, or is for some reason unreachable. Some 3PLs may respond by saying there is no capacity available, or back out of the transaction last-minute because it is no longer profitable. Unfortunately, this is why shippers tend to have multiple 3PLs on call. They constantly need a backup plan.

On the other hand, a reliable 3PL partner will remain committed to moving freight regardless of whether these instances occur. Instead of backing out of moving a load, they will:

  • Be in constant communication with the booked driver so they can ensure the carrier is prepared.
  • Take on unexpected rate increases and move a shipment for no profit, maybe even a loss. Win, lose, or draw.
  • Help troubleshoot and work their network for another available driver or a reasonable schedule shift.
  • Be dependable, moving whatever load you’ve tendered to them, at the price agreed upon, and in the timeline required.

Value for Money in Transportation

24.5% of shippers say this is the most important metric Typically, going with the lowest cost provider means that customer service is not your main priority. That’s okay if your product doesn’t demand extra attention. But if you go with a higher-cost provider and outline needs for visibility, handling, or timeliness, you should expect those requirements to be delivered on.

The classic debate of price vs. service is real in the transportation industry. Yet, a reliable and ethical logistics service provider will always deliver on what you pay for.

3PL Service

18.9% of shippers say this is a priority when measuring 3PL partners – What does customer service in logistics look like? It can be difficult to nail down a definition. To us, it includes:

  • Responding quickly to questions and requests
  • Proposing valuable solutions to unexpected problems
  • Acting like a partner
  • Being honest
  • Delivering on commitments

Zipline Logistics’ customer, Canberra Corp., explains it best. During an interview on the topic with Inbound Logistics, their logistics manager says, “Zipline (Logistics) created my definition of customer service: Having the ability to almost read my mind, answer my questions before I even ask them, and react as I would react with my own business.”

Without a dedication to customer service, a shipper could be left in the dark about their freight or forced to deal with an issue on their own.

Zipline Logistics’ Commitment to Ethics and Service

At Zipline Logistics we are extremely passionate about holding ourselves accountable to these metrics. We put service first, always. Our entire purpose for doing business is to improve the lives of transportation professionals and our motto is to go above and beyond. In fact, when surveyed, 100 percent of customers said we follow through on commitments. This is a major point of pride for the company.


For us, these statements aren’t just “marketing speak”, they are what we base decisions around and what we build our operational standards from. Accountability and communication are baked into our culture and business values. We’re in it for the long haul, dedicated to partnership, not a singular transaction.