5 Red Flags Brands Watch Out for When Selecting a 3PL Warehouse

There are a lot of 3PL Warehouse options out there. But choosing the right warehouse can be a challenge. There are certain red flags to look out for before you finalize a decision. Here are five red flags brands watch out for when selecting a 3PL warehouse for their business.

Inefficient Customer Service

To ensure you’re getting the exemplary 3PL service. A warehouse must have efficient storage and logistics services. But they also need excellent customer service. The reason is simple: your business relies on its warehouses as an extension of itself.

It’s not enough for a 3PL company to be friendly; they need to be responsive and proactive when you need them most. This means that if something goes wrong in your warehouse, they’ll be able to fix it. So your business isn’t affected by delays or damages caused by these issues. An excellent example of this would be having someone come out after hearing about a problem. This shows that a company cares about how its customers’ needs are met first!

Outsource your warehousing and logistics operations; several factors come into play. One of the most important is how well your 3PL partners handle customer service. Here’s why:

  • If you’re in the customer service industry, your customers expect top-notch service. When they call with an issue, they want their problems solved quickly. 
  • Working with a 3PL that isn’t prepared for customer service issues could mean losing business. —and that’s something no business owner wants to risk!
  • If your 3PL doesn’t have processes for handling customer service issues, it could spell trouble. Customers who need help ASAP go elsewhere when they don’t get it from their chosen company.
  • Your brand reputation depends on how well you handle customer concerns. So if there’s any doubt about this part of your operations, it could be a red flag for potential clients!

Quick read: How 3PL Warehouses Can Calculate Customer Profitability

No Solid Information Technology

You need to know what technology is in place. The right warehouse management system (WMS) can help your 3PL reduce costs. Besides, it can also track inventory and improve customer service. Your 3PL needs to track your shipments from the warehouse until they are delivered. How does it differ from other types of software out there? For example, barcoding systems allow for more accurate tracking than manual systems. RFID tagging provides for more efficient inventory management. Plus, scale-tracking software helps ensure that each pallet is weighed accurately. 

Poor Compliance Record

When selecting a 3PL warehouse, make sure they are compliant with all regulations. Ensure that you can trust them to handle your products by federal rules.

This is critical because if a 3PL has poor compliance practices, it could result in fines. Also, you will encounter product recalls if items are shipped out of context. 

Be sure to check into their regulatory status before selecting a 3PL Warehouse. It’s wise to perform an audit check every six months after integration to ensure everything is being handled as expected. This will help ensure that your WSP remains compliant throughout its relationship with your company. And ultimately keep both parties safe!

Low-Quality Warehousing or Fulfillment

While most 3PL warehouses provide high-quality warehousing and fulfillment, a few give off red flags. Some common signs of low-quality warehousing include:

  • Poor quality control
  • Lack of attention to detail
  • Inaccurate order fulfillment

Other factors that should make you think about choosing another 3PL warehouse include:

  • Poor product handling. For example, if your product arrives damaged, it is a sign that the company lacks sufficient training on product handling. If you have fragile items that need special care during transit, look for companies with processes to take such products.
  • There are no backup procedures in case of accidents. Does your chosen partner have any contingency plan if something goes wrong at their warehouse? Can they be trusted with keeping track of inventory levels to know when to ship out new orders?

Not Enough Space for Growth

It would be best to look for a warehouse partner who can grow your business. As your company grows, so might the size of your inventory. Therefore, you need to ensure enough space in the warehouse to accommodate this growth.

Imagine if you were planning on expanding your brand in 2020 by adding another product line? If you don’t have enough space for that new product line now, it could cause significant problems when it comes time to add it next year. This lack of foresight could lead to headaches like not having room for storage or receiving bad reviews due to shipping delays. It would be best if you got an idea of how quickly (or slowly) your company will grow over time.

If a 3PL isn’t willing or able to accommodate these needs now or in the future, they may not be suitable for what we’re looking for long term.”

As a brand, you’re always looking for ways to grow. And when it comes to your warehouse, you want an option that can help you do just that.

But when you’re searching for the right 3PL partner, don’t mistake choosing one that doesn’t have enough space for growth. You’ll end up in a bind if the warehouse you select doesn’t have enough room for your company’s needs, not just today but years from now. Make sure you keep an eye on these four things:

  • How much space does the company have available? A good rule of thumb is to ask for at least 10% more than you think you’ll need.
  • What are their plans in terms of adding space?
  • What kind of growth could be expected over time? If they’re planning on doing business with other companies, they may need more space than they currently have available.


As you review the questions, keep in mind that these red flags should not rule out a warehouse. If you find yourself saying yes to many of them, it’s essential to consider how often these problems occur. Ensure you understand how critical the issues are to your business—contact sales support for more details.

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