7 Critical Components of Your Logistics RFP


There are a lot of moving parts that work to make a business successful. If you are planning to outsource part or all of your logistical operations, you know just how true this is.

That’s where an RFP, or request for proposals, can help. This document outlines the requirements and expectations for a potential business partnership. It is a professional and convenient way to find the right third-party logistics (3PL) provider, shipping company, vendor, or supplier to fulfill your business needs.

When drafting your RFP, it’s important to be as specific as possible and cover all the necessary information. Here are 7 critical components you need to include in your logistics request for proposals:

Background Information

Begin with a detailed introduction to your business. Tell the potential bidders a bit about your history and mission. Then explain your products or services and give an overview of your business model.

You also want to state the objective of the RFP. Briefly touch on your goals for the company and where the benefits of the partnership will lead you. 

Business Needs

This section will comprise the bulk of your RFP, and where you’ll give more detail about the services you are requesting. Define the problem that needs to be solved. 

Explain your business model and the exact limitations that structure it. Does your product require low-temperature shipping? Do your vendors rely on you for huge quantities of products? Do you have seasonal peaks of demand that need to be met? All this information is important to include. 

In this section, you will also want to describe a little bit about your customers, vendors, suppliers, stakeholders, and other ongoing partnerships. 

Relevant Data 

Remember, it’s good to be as specific as possible, giving potential bidders the most complete picture of your business. If they can clearly understand the areas needing improvement, they are better able to come up with innovative solutions and make a solid partnership. 

Include any relevant data and visuals to get your point across. This would include freight volume and frequency, types of products you provide, demand over time, and central areas for delivery. 

Requirements for Partnership

In this section, spell out any requirements for the potential bidders to comply with. 

For example, your partner might need to have certain technological capabilities in order to be a good match. Or perhaps there are certain licenses or certifications needed to transport your products. Or maybe you just want to rule out any partnerships that don’t have a strong financial background. 

This section will prevent unqualified businesses from sending over their submissions, saving you time in the review process. 

>> Learn about the common ways the 3PL relationship breaks down, and how to fix it.

Detailed Questions 

Next, you want to include a detailed questionnaire for the potential logistic partners. You are essentially conducting an interview to see if they can meet your business needs. 

Ask about their capabilities, history, reach, size of operations, length of commitments, scalability, and anything else that will guide your decision. 

You will also want to ask about their terms of billing and payment. Finally, don’t forget to ask for the legal information, such as proof of insurance, relevant certifications, or claims and safety records.

Evaluation Plan

Include a plan for how you will evaluate the success of the partnership. This will take the form of detailed KPIs, or Key Performance Indicators. Make sure the standards for evaluation are specific and measurable. 

These KPIs should follow a timeline that is also detailed in this section. This will provide a strategy for implementation and rollout. 

Terms of Submissions

Finally, specify the format you would like to receive submissions in. This will streamline the proposal evaluation process by making all the information uniform and easier to compare.

You might consider including a template for the pricing breakdown, as these numbers will be the most vital to evaluate side by side. Or you can just specify what numbers you need and how you would like them presented.

End your RFP with your contact information and the mode of submission (email, snail mail, contact through website, etc.) that you prefer. 

Reliable 3PL Provider on the East Coast

If you are looking for a reliable and experienced 3PL provider to take on your fulfillment, distribution, and warehouse needs, look no further than Cannon Hill Logistics!

Conveniently located on the East Coast, we can deliver to a half the US population in just 3 days! For over 30 years we have provided personalized service to small businesses and large corporations alike. 

Give us a call today to learn how we can help your business grow!