10 signs you should be looking for a new logistics partner

Two HGV trucks driving side by side into the sunset

Logistics partners take time to find and select. And in a busy company, having to put time aside to choose a new one can feel like such a daunting process that you might be tempted to put it off.
But such is their importance to your business, ‘making do’ is just too much of a risk. That’s why we’ve put together this list of 10 sure signs that it’s time to start looking for a new logistics partner.

They use outdated technology

Technology has changed the way the logistics industry operates, helping many companies achieve a higher standard of scalability and success.
Finding out what technology your prospective third-party logistics partner uses will give you a good idea of how adept they are with technology, which in turn will indicate just how flexible and efficient they are as a company.
Ask about the software they use to track inventory and what digital devices they use on the warehouse floor.

Their company injuries rate is on the up

High or increasing rates of injuries suggest deteriorating work practices. They can be caused by any number of factors, but it’s likely to be a combination of the following:

  1. Staff are improperly trained
  2. Staff are demotivated
  3. Holes are being plugged by inexperienced staff.

Any combination of these three factors, mean that the business won’t function as efficiently as it once did.

Staff turnover is high or increasing

This suggests that there could be underlying problems within the company itself.
Of course, there is the possibility that all their staff are so good they keep getting poached. But we will let you decide if you think that’s likely. Having said that, some companies naturally do have high turnover rates (e.g. seasonal businesses) so it’s not automatically a warning sign.
Generally speaking, however, a company that invests in the long-term careers of its staff, through initiatives like our Platinum Drivers Scheme, enjoys greater staff loyalty and retains its best people for longer.
If you are constantly being introduced to new employees, then it could be a sign that your logistics partner is having trouble keeping hold of key people. If that is the case, it’s probably time to start looking for more stable alternatives.

They can’t scale up with you

Their scalability is hugely important. What happens if you suddenly get a vast order from a new customer, or your products suddenly take off and become trendy over the holidays.
You need to know that you have the ability to cope with a sudden increase in demand. If not, you could lose out on critical business opportunities.

They have a variable (or just a general lack of) financial track record

Your logistics partners’ financial stability is something you must have confidence in.
You don’t want to wake up one morning and discover that the warehouse that has been holding all your stock has suddenly gone bust. You want to make sure that any partners you have aren’t going to surprise you.

They take ages to respond

You really want to develop close ties with everyone in your logistics supply chain. Being able to scale up or down, being able to get information, and trust that they are committed to helping you fulfil your orders efficiently.
You should be important to them, and they should be doing everything they can to keep you happy.
If they take ages to respond to your emails or don’t answer and return your calls promptly, then it could be a sign that there is a problem.
Plus, if they are ignoring you now, it’s likely that when you’re down to the wire with significantly more orders than normal, they will fail you then too.

You’ve never been to any of their sites – in fact you’ve barely ever even met them.

This builds on the last point. There should be an openness in the way that your logistics partner deals with you that fills you with confidence.
Why haven’t they let you see their sites? Why can’t they be bothered to meet with you? What are they hiding from you?
Confidence and trust are incredibly important when dealing with your logistics partners.

They have no awards or reviews to shout about

This one is about pride as much as it is about winning. Having won awards, having great reviews, doesn’t necessarily mean that they are the best, but it does at least suggest they care about their public image.
It is a good sign and shows a level of care and commitment to their logistical role.

Inconsistent performance

If you can’t trust them to deliver their service, then you need to consider finding a new logistics partner.
Mistakes can be costly, and they display a lack of organisation, communication, and care.
Review your logistics partner regularly and make sure that they are continually ticking the right boxes. If you start to notice a negative trend, act quickly and decisively.


Are they too expensive for you? Or paradoxically are they really cheap?
We all know that the price must be right. If they’re too expensive then you lose out on margin (although “you get what you pay for” can often be true in logistics).
Be wary of any partner who undercuts all the time. This could impact on the long-term scalability of their operation as well as their commitment to providing the best service possible.
A company that tries to solve all its problems by lowering prices can be a sign that something’s not right. Don’t leave it too long to start finding alternative solutions.

Final Notes

There is a reason that we refer to them as logistics “partners” not services or simply companies. We call them partners because they are an integral part of any business and should be personally and intrinsically invested in making sure they do everything required at their end to make sure your business succeeds.
The key to getting the best from your partners is communication. If you feel that you are struggling to have an open and supportive dialogue with your logistics partners, then that should serve as a warning sign that they are not the long-term partner for you.
At no point should you ever feel that your hard-won reputation is at risk because of your logistics partner. If you feel that yours could be, then it is definitely time to act.

Do you feel it might be time look for a new logistics partner? Why not move to the UK’s No1 elite driver partnership. Helping you to go further with productivity, reliability and service. Contact us here.