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Motivational Fulfillment & Logistics ServicesAug 9, 2023 7:30:00 AM8 min read

Questions you should ask your 3PL provider (and our answers!)

Choosing a 3PL provider is a complex process, and the decision you make will have major implications for your growing business. Every logistics partner has unique services and expertise, and just because a certain 3PL works for someone else’s business doesn’t mean it will work well for yours. 
So, how do you find a 3PL that’s just the right fit? It all comes down to asking the right questions. It’s critical that you and your fulfillment partner are a good match across three key areas: capabilities, reliability, and compatibility.

Below, we’ve provided a comprehensive list of questions to consider asking your current or future 3PL—along with our answers! 

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To determine if a 3PL fulfillment partner is a good fit, start by assessing its capabilities. Does it provide the specific services that you need? Does the 3PL have the right warehouse space and configuration to store your goods? The ability to scale? Are its systems flexible, or is it a one-size-fits-all provider? Ask the following questions to find out.


What 3PL services do you provide?

In today’s omnichannel world, one size does NOT fit all. We provide creative solutions to our customers to ensure their unique needs are met, and one of the things that sets us apart from other 3PLs is that we go beyond traditional 3PL services. Here are some of the areas in which we excel:

Wondering if we can handle your specific type of goods/products? Just ask!

Do you have the infrastructure to support my needs? 

Our fulfillment centers in California have over 2.6 million square feet of space. We have the storage capacity and staff to handle large order processing, and our space is configurable for bulk, rack, and pick-and-pack storage. Each product is unique, which is why we have flexible fulfillment options and train our staff on new products. We ship direct-to-consumer and to all major retailers.

Are there any specific requirements I should be aware of for my goods or shipments? Can you meet those requirements?

Retailer compliance is challenging, but not when you work with us. We’ll make sure you are in compliance with all your retailer requirements, including data sharing, labeling, and scheduling. We offer robust EDI integration and real-time online visibility, ensuring you are always kept up to date on the status of your shipments.

Depending on your product, you may have special warehousing and handling requirements. We pride ourselves on our flexibility and ability to meet our customers’ needs, and we’ll work with you to accommodate your specific needs. If you have questions about your requirements, just ask—we’ve seen and done a lot in our 46+ years of operation!

Capacity & Scalability

Can you support my current shipping volumes and requirements?

Motivational has the staffing and storage capacity for large order processing, and we can meet your distribution needs—whether you’re shipping direct-to-consumer, to mom-and-pop stores, or nationwide retailers. We have a flexible staff, more than 2.6 million square feet of warehouse space in California, and the experience to ensure your products get where they need to go as seamlessly as possible.

Will you be able to support an increase in demand? How much capacity for growth do you have?

The close, campus-style proximity of our warehouses enables faster, more efficient resource allocation across facilities. In other words: we can scale to meet high-volume periods and support your company’s growing distribution needs. Our size and agility means we can react quickly. without the time and hassle of many larger logistics providers.

How will you handle seasonal volume fluctuations?

In addition to our efficient campus configuration, we use flexible technology that provides real-time visibility of your inventory and is easy to update without extensive time or cost. Our scalable staff allows us to meet your needs even during the busiest seasons.


How do you handle returns and order changes?

Our flexible technology facilitates easy order changes. When it comes to returns processing, product inspection, product refurbishment, return-to-stock, and customer refunds, we’ve got you covered!

Can your systems integrate with my existing processes and systems?

The short answer: yes! We provide easy implementation setup for all major EDI providers and eCommerce platforms. Plus, we have a dedicated in-house IT team that will support your custom integration needs. This allows for integrations in weeks. not months.

Icon of box being held in a hand in red, product refurbishment iconRELIABILITY

If you’ve found a 3PL fulfillment partner that has the capabilities you need, next assess its reliability. “Reliability” might seem like a subjective area, but it simply comes down to whether your needs, and your customers’ needs, are consistently being met. That can be predicted by the 3PL’s experience, technology, performance reporting, and management of customer relationships.


How long have you been providing third-party logistics (3PL) services?

Our team has more than 46 years of experience serving clients as a 3PL fulfillment partner! Motivational Fulfillment was founded in 1977 and many of our staff have been here for 25, 30, or even 40+ years—they know the business inside and out.

Have you worked with clients in my industry before? Have you handled similar products to ours?

With our decades of experience, we’ve worked with clients across a broad range of industries. Here are some of the industries we’re most familiar with:

  • Housewares & appliances
  • Toys & hobbies
  • Nutritional supplements
  • Pet products
  • Personal care & cosmetics
  • Baby products
  • Gifts and accessories

Don’t see your industry or product type listed? Ask us about it! There’s a good chance we have experience supporting clients in your industry.

Security & Safety

How will you protect my goods? What security measures do you have in place?

We understand that your products are the lifeblood of your business. We ensure the safety of your goods by providing a well-organized warehouse, continuously looking for ways to improve our practices, and being committed to employee training.

In addition, our warehouses are well-lit, secure, with fire and security alarms including 24/7 central monitoring, a robust sprinkler system, and stringent access control.

Technology & Performance

How do you manage and track inventory?

Our warehouses are equipped with advanced technology and integration support. As a Motivational client, you’ll have access to your inventory, orders, and sales 24 hours a day through our proprietary warehouse management systems (WMS).

Learn more about our technologies here.

Will you provide me with real-time shipment tracking and reporting?

Of course! You can access our systems on demand from any web-based browser, allowing you to see inventory, orders, and everything necessary to effectively manage product fulfillment in real-time.

How do you measure and report on performance? Which metrics do you track?

Our approach to performance metrics and reporting is not one-size-fits-all. Just as your business is unique, so too are your measures of success, whether it is orders-per-day, speed-to-home, inventory accuracy, a combination thereof, or something else completely. We have the ability to build custom reports for your specific needs.

Customer Relationships

What does your customer support look like?

We have a dedicated team and the ability—and desire—to go above and beyond. Our team can even handle your customer service needs with post-sale support via phone, email, and live chat. If our customers don’t succeed, we don’t succeed!

Who will I be working with if I partner with you?

You’ll have a dedicated account executive and team, as well as access to all levels of the company.

What updates or communications do you provide throughout the shipping process?

We can provide updates at every stage of the fulfillment process, but like our reporting and performance metrics, our communications can be customized to your needs. Let us know what makes the most sense for you, and we’ll meet you there.


Logistical compatibility is another key area to assess when choosing a 3PL provider: a 3PL may have all the right capabilities and be extremely reliable but still not be a good fit for your business. If your goods are produced overseas, you’ll need a provider that has locations near major ports of entry. Also, consider the coverage area of the 3PL—can they efficiently get your products where they need to go? Finally, don’t be shy about asking about pricing, especially whether there will be any hidden fees.

Location & Coverage

Where are your facilities located?

Our six warehouses in California’s Inland Empire are ideally located near major interstates and just 60 minutes from the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports. The close proximity of our warehouses allows for campus-style flexibility and efficient resource allocation.

We’d love to show you how our warehouses can support your growing business—reach out to us today to set up a free tour of one of our Chino, CA, fulfillment centers.

What is your coverage, and does it meet my needs?

We’re based in Southern California, but we service the entire nation and our expanded partner network spans coast to coast, with locations in New Jersey, Atlanta, and Denver.


What is your pricing structure?

We have a flexible pricing structure that is adaptable to our customers’ specific needs. Our team will work with you to build a fulfillment plan, process, and pricing structure that makes sense for your business.

One thing that’s the same for all our customers? We have low freight rates and deep discounts with major providers—savings that we’ll pass on to you.

Do you have any hidden fees?

Our invoices are transparent and clearly list all charges in a format that is easy to understand. We don’t believe in “guesstimates” or hidden fees, and we’ll always be upfront about exactly what you’ll be charged and what it’s for.

Curious what your costs would be? Reach out to our team for a complete cost analysis today, free of charge.

If you’re searching for a 3PL partner, we hope that these questions will be helpful in assessing whether a provider will be a good fit for your business. And, of course, we hope that you’ll consider Motivational Fulfillment & Logistics Services. Our team would love to speak with you about how we can support your evolving needs.

Want to get in touch? Reach out to us here.

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