Quarterly Live Group Demo Watch Now

Sifted logo

What To Look for in a 3PL Partner (ft. Kathleen Sullivan Garman)

In this episode of LeaderShipping, we’re joined by Kathleen Sullivan Garman, founder and CEO of SullyGarman & Associates, to talk about why 3PLs are a great option for businesses looking to grow and scale operations.

Leadershipping Podcast
Episode Summary

Countless shippers use third-party logistics providers (3PLs). Their expertise in warehousing, packing, and shipping makes them great partners for eCommerce brands outgrowing the founder’s garage, as well as enterprise-level shippers looking to diversify their network without building a facility of their own.

But do all these shippers find the right 3PL partner for them?

In this episode of LeaderShipping, we’re joined by Kathleen Sullivan Garman, founder and CEO of SullyGarman & Associates, to talk about why 3PLs are a great option for businesses looking to grow and scale operations, and how to know they’re the right fit.

Main Topics:

  • When a business should consider adding a 3PL, and when they should consider bringing fulfillment back in-house
  • The steps to take when assessing potential 3PL partners
  • Common mistakes made when choosing a 3PL
  • How to proactively manage 3PL relationships

Other Resources:


Caleb Nelson (00:03)
Hey, welcome back to another episode of LeaderShipping. The supply chain complexities over the past few years have made headlines far and wide, but one trend that slipped through the cracks a bit has been a growing reliance on third party logistics providers or 3PLs, commonly known as fulfillment locations or warehouses that a lot of shippers can be able to outsource some additional work to.

In fact, a 2023 survey by Coyote Logistics found that half of all shippers had increased their spend with 3PLs in the last year. There’s a number of reasons more shippers might be looking for extra help with their fulfillment operations, but there’s a lot to consider to make sure that they find the right partner, which is exactly what we’re going to be exploring today. Joining us to talk about everything 3PL related is Kathleen Sullivan Garman. Kathleen, welcome to the show.

Kathleen Sullivan Garman (02:24)
Thank you.

Caleb Nelson (02:25)
I think for a little bit of background for our listeners on who you are and your history – I’ll provide a little bit of context there. If I miss anything, feel free to fill any gaps there. But Kathleen is founder and CEO of SullyGarman and Associates, a consulting agency that’s dedicated to helping e -commerce businesses scale growth by improving their operations and fulfillment.

That’s probably something that most e -commerce businesses and startups aren’t amazing at right at the start. So I usually find that those e -commerce businesses are really trying to outsource that. And finding the right 3PL partners is a key piece of their growth and development.

Kathleen spent over 20 years improving operational efficiencies for a variety of companies. In roles ranging from marketing to supply chain operations. She’s founded numerous startups as well, some of which she remains connected to as an advisor. Her experience building these companies gave her an understanding of the massive list of challenges that face employees and business owners, and more importantly, how they can overcome them. This has led to her founding her consulting businesses, SullyGarman and Associates, where she helps growing companies revolutionize their shipping processes.

Did I miss anything there, Kathleen? Is that a good summary of your background?

Kathleen Sullivan Garman (04:01)
Yeah, no, that’s pretty good. You know, I’ve been super fortunate to have been a startup founder multiple times and then taking what I learned as a founder and using it to help other brands launch what they’re doing and kind of avoid some of the pitfalls. I always say we learn more from our mistakes than we do from our successes. And I’ve had some good exits. I’ve also had some bad ones. So the things that you learn from those are what comes into play when you’re working with other people, which is why I started consulting. Even in my own brands, I always did operations. I don’t do SEO, marketing, sales. I’ve always been on the operational side because I’m really into efficiencies. I say this over and over and over again. You’ve probably heard me say it already, Caleb, and that’s sales and marketing drive your revenue; operations drives your profit. So for me, it’s a very critical piece that I think it’s ignored.

Caleb Nelson (04:53)
Oh, 100%. And I think if you look at 3PLs themselves, warehousing organizations that offer fulfillment, pick -pack, shipping services, shipping is their profit center. That is managing their margins, managing their profitability. And when it’s the client, when it is the shipper themselves, an e -commerce brand, if they don’t do that piece correctly, that completely erodes or deteriorates their margins on their product. And so nailing this has got to be one of the biggest things that a startup, an e -commerce brand can actually do.

Kathleen Sullivan Garman (05:41)
Yeah, it’s a critical piece. And I think all of the attention goes to that sales and marketing and revenue generation side in a business, which is important, right? You have to have the money in order to start your business. But if you are not keeping an eye on efficiencies, then all the revenue in the world doesn’t matter if you’re not profitable. And if operations can’t support the sales.

Caleb Nelson (05:59)

Yeah, you bleed out essentially, right? And you can’t, you get top heavy where you’re growing like crazy, but you’re unable to operationalize it and keep up with it.

Kathleen, first tell us a little bit about SullyGarman. Give us a broad overview of how you help e -commerce companies become better shippers. Sounds like a lot of it is in that operational efficiency and protecting their margins.

Kathleen Sullivan Garman (06:30)
It is and you know it’s super common for a startup and a brand. You have your idea the founder has this great idea and then they decide to maybe do a kickstarter or they use their retirement savings or the kids college fund and they’re starting a business because they want they want to have that dream and they again they focus really hard on their product and driving the revenue and all of those front end processes and then, as far as the back end, the getting the product out or getting it in from the manufacturer is something that’s sort of real haphazard.

I see a lot of brands telling me that, well, I Googled BOL because I didn’t know what it meant. So that’s bill of lading. And it’s not and it’s it’s we use so many acronyms in ops. We do. And so it’s absolutely fair for them to say I Googled that because I didn’t know what it was. But the problem is if you don’t have someone in operations that understands operations, then there’s no way to get the insights that come from looking at what’s going on in your ecosystem. So there’s data. You can gather all that. There’s reports. You can get them from Shopify and you get them from your warehouse WMS and you can get them from FedEx and you can have all the reports in the world. But if you don’t know what to do with the data, then it really doesn’t matter. The reports are a little bit useless.

So what I do is I’ll go into an emerging brand that is at that inflection point where they’ve grown their company. Maybe they’ve been fulfilling out of their garage or a storage unit and they want to come in and work with a 3PL. So I’ll help them find the right 3PL and make the right match up, make the right fit. It’s kind of like, you know, being a dating matchmaker, it has to be the right fit or they’re just going to leave and go somewhere else.

But then I also will go into their ecosystem and I want the keys to the whole castle. I don’t want them to just give me a little piece. I want into their Slack. I want into their Google Drive. I want to talk to their employees. I want to know how people are doing things. What are the processes? And then I try to identify where the gaps to the goal are. So in what areas are your employees doing manual work where they could automate it? And when I say automation, yes, it could mean tech stack and software, but it also could mean you have three Google Sheets that have the same data but serve different purposes.Tie them together so you’re not doing triple entry. That’s automation at its very basic level.

So I try and go in and just identify where all of those gaps, where things can be streamlined and work better and conserve your profitability.

Caleb Nelson (09:05)
Oh, I love it. I love it so much. And the fact that there’s so many brands that I talked to that building this portion of their transportation back end, their fulfillment process was done so haphazardly to a point where they couldn’t even describe why they’re doing the process the way that they’re doing it. Like, “how did that even start?”

“Well, I don’t know. It’s just the way that we’ve always done it.”

“Okay. Is that the right way to do it”

“Probably not.”

So a lot of it has to go back to, look, I think individuals are focused on this great product that they’ve either manufactured or discovered that they’re selling to the public. And they, to your point, so much emphasis gets put on sales and marketing. And I would say even tech support to help kind of build out the scale of that from a growth standpoint.

Very, very few brands start out by saying, let’s look at the fulfillment first. Let’s look at how we can be able to set up our operations so that we can protect our margins. I think it’s about protecting profitability.

You also mentioned being that matchmaker. From your perspective, what companies, what should companies really consider when adding a 3PL, in terms of helping them really grow that brand

Kathleen Sullivan Garman (10:39)
Well, I think the very first thing is, are you at that inflection point? Are you at the point where you’re fulfilling yourself? You’re doing it on your own and you need a 3PL? Are you at the point where you just can’t keep doing it or it’s not making you any money to be doing it? And people think that a 3PL is just a cost center, but it’s not. It can be more profitable for you. How much is it costing you per hour to go to your storage unit, pick, pack, ship, print out labels, buy boxes at commercial retail prices, all of that, where if you look at, and maybe you have decided you’re gonna do it yourself and you have a little office space to do it out of.

How much are you paying for rent and how much are you paying your people? A 3PL that’s gonna charge you a few bucks to pick, pack, ship, store, receive your product, inspect it, check and make sure it’s all good. How much time is that gonna save you and what is the value of your time? So when you’ve hit that inflection point, it’s time to go look.

Now there’s another inflection point that’s you’re bigger and maybe you need a second 3PL or an additional one or you’re not happy where you are and you need to move on. That’s the second inflection point.

Caleb Nelson (11:42)
Yeah, I was going to ask that. Yeah.

And my question on that second inflection point that you brought, I love that you brought that up because there’s a lot of individual brands that I’ll talk to that started off with a fulfillment 3PL partner and they’re having questions on at what point does it make more sense for them to be able to bring that back in? And a lot of the time, my recommendation to them is not to fully bring it back in where 100% of it is now controlled by you. But there probably should be a decent mix between what’s being controlled by you versus what you’re still having partnered fulfillment locations actually provide services for.

I’ll give you an example on that. There’s a lot of clients that we have that will ship cross country. They’re located in California, for example, and their clients are located all East Coast, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, up and down the East Coast. And they are fulfilling those orders out of California, or they have partnering fulfillment locations located around them in California. And they’re shipping most of it cross country, most expensive, and most time in transit.

Finding different ways in which you can be able to partner based off of your shipping profile and like you mentioned earlier, data, I think is huge, right?

Kathleen Sullivan Garman (13:22)
Well, and in what you just said, you went to two different inflection points. So your later example of the California to East Coast, that’s someone that maybe has a 3PL in California, and they really need a 3PL on the East Coast. And they have to distribute their inventory.

So one of the questions for that is, how do they decide when that’s worth it? Well, if you’re shipping that far across in that many shipping zones, maybe let’s just say you’re paying an average of $1 more per package. which doesn’t seem like very much, a dollar. Well, if you’re selling a thousand packages a month, that’s a thousand dollars a month. Can you spend a thousand dollars a month moving inventory to that other place? You’re going to spend less, less than a thousand dollars to move it to the other place and ship from there. And you’re going to save that one dollar per package. Plus your East coast clients are going to get it faster. Your customers are going to get their package faster, which will increase their retention and their ability to come back.

So there are a lot of reasons to distribute and to do that and to go to both sides of the country. And it makes a ton of sense. There are some people that want to be in a warehouse right in the middle of the country for that same reason and go out from both ways. A brand doing super high volume might want to go with, it’s called a 4PL, which is, they don’t own their own warehouses. They lease space in other warehouses, but they make software. And so that is where you would distribute it all over the country.

Caleb Nelson (14:17)

Kathleen Sullivan Garman (14:45)
Now you have to be doing higher volume for that to make sense. And you’re going to be sacrificing some things that you would have if you have a warehouse that you have more close contact with. So there’s, again, there’s an inflection point for all of these. Now the example that you mentioned first about bringing it back in after being with a warehouse, that’s a whole third inflection point, not the second one. It’s the third one where you are just huge and you really need to be.

Managing your own warehouse and doing it yourself or maybe you’re manufacturing on your own and you already have a warehouse. Well ship from there. So there is a third inflection point that where it’s coming back in but it’s very It’s very rare that a brand is big enough for that. Most brands do very well with a 3pl or multiple 3pls.

I always recommend multiple because I’m big on diversifying if there’s a flood at your warehouse in New Jersey, then you can ship everything from your California warehouse until they figure it out in New Jersey. But if you have all of your stuff in New Jersey, then what?

Caleb Nelson (15:44)
Yeah. Yeah.

Yeah, I see that as a common story in clients that I talk to, shippers across the country, that they are single sourced. They are single sourced with their carrier. They’re single sourced with their ship-from locations. And I think the future really is diversification. I think it’s diversification on carriers. I think it’s also diversification on ship-from locations.

I talk to clients all the time that their number one response back to me when I indicate, “hey look, you’re shipping a lot cross country. Have you ever thought of shipping from a different ship from location?” The common response I get is “I do not have the ability to put another brick and mortar location, meaning another warehouse that I have to manage, that I have to staff, that I have to go through regulations on, I have to be able to get up and go from from nothing to high operating efficiency.”

And a lot of shippers don’t default to, there are fulfillment locations out there that are already operating at high efficiencies, that with competitive pricing options, that you can be able to outsource some of that work to. Keep your product in a different part of the United States, reach customers faster for less money. I think it’s a win-win all the way around.

Kathleen Sullivan Garman (17:09)
I agree, I’m a huge fan of 3PLs, even over self-fulfilling, because a brand owner, a brand founder, they had a great idea. Maybe they have a really great product, and that’s what they do. They sell, they manufacture, they come up with ideas, they sell that product. They are not a warehouse. They are not a carrier. That’s not what they do. So then they have to open this whole new branch of their business and learn something that they don’t do.

I say focus on your core strength. Focus on driving your company forward. Focus on that sales and then the retention and even new products and coming up with new things that your customers are going to want. Don’t put your energy into something that’s not your expertise.

Caleb Nelson (17:52)
Yeah, and bring it when it’s time. Let’s say you knock it out of the park as a brand. You kill it. Absolutely have 500% growth over, you know, year over year growth. I think at that point, focus on, okay, piecemeal it, bring some of it back in house. Look at ways in which you can be more profitable, have access to some of that data so that you can make better informed decisions. Once the brand hits a specific, like you put it, third inflection point.

When brands are looking at diversifying and or growing this fulfillment piece of it, what are common mistakes you’ve seen made with poor 3PL decisions?

Kathleen Sullivan Garman (18:36)
So my number one thing, and again, I say the same things over and over, but my number one thing that I always say about a 3PL warehouse is never, ever, ever, ever Google to find your next warehouse. Just because somebody spends a lot of money on advertising does not mean they are the right fit for your brand, your company, and your product.

So you need to find a warehouse through back channels, networking, LinkedIn, Slack groups, you know, other people that are in your industry, Facebook groups, ask everyone who they’re using, ask people for recommendation, even, even your, your other software companies that you’re working with. Maybe you’re working with a software for inventory management and you call them up and you say, Hey, you know, who do you guys work with that you really like that you hear customers raving about? Cause I want to talk to them. So I think it’s really, really critical to make that, make the right decision in how you’re going to search first and it is not just by Googling and calling the people that came in at the top because you have to find one that fits your brand.

You have unique, your brand, your, your product has unique requirements. Maybe you’re hazmat, maybe you need cold chain. Maybe you have something giant – you’re selling desks. So you’re going to have unique requirements. And just because somebody has a lot of ad spend on Google doesn’t mean it fits you. Maybe you’re a health and beauty brand and you want a warehouse that specializes in those. Well, you’re not going to find that on Google. You’re going to find that from other beauty brands. You’re going to find that maybe you talk to Ulta or Sephora who maybe you’re selling retail to them and you talk with them and you say, where are you getting shipments from? Who’s sending you stuff? Where, you know, which warehouses are you hearing about?

So it’s, it’s all about talking to people, getting back channel references and recommendations. There’s nothing more important than that.

Caleb Nelson (20:27)
Yeah, don’t take Google’s first ranking as the best option, best partner there.

I think there’s two questions that I have for you. And these are just problems that I see when I talk to clients across the US. When they use a fulfillment organization, there is some lack of data.

And can you speak to how important it is to find a partner that is open and willing to share data, share shipment details, shipment information, total landed costs for packages? I think some shippers that I talk to, it’s more, hey, my 3PL handles that and they keep the data behind the curtain there.

Kathleen Sullivan Garman (21:19)
Yeah. And I’m not a fan of that at all. I don’t like the all-in-one invoicing. I don’t like the warehouses that say, oh, you don’t have to pay for packaging and you don’t have to pay for separate shipping. You don’t have to pay for separate pickpacks. We’re just going to charge you one fee for all of that. And then you get an invoice that says we sent out 100 packages at $12 a piece. And you have no idea. You have no idea. So then you can’t go and get the efficiencies.

And when you’re doing the vetting process, you want to ask questions like, can I see a sample invoice? There’s nothing wrong with asking. They can redact the information that they don’t want you to see, that’s proprietary, but ask all the questions. The worst thing they can say is no, and then you’re in the same position you were in to start with.

But I think, first of all, it’s never Google to find them. So then you come up with a list of people that you want to talk to, but then you have to identify what your needs are in order to figure out whether they are a fit.

So I actually have a scope document that I have people fill out. Every warehouse that you go to with an RFP, which is Request for Proposal, is going to send you a document that asks you all the same questions. But they’re all going to look different. Maybe one’s a Word document, one’s a PDF, and one’s a spreadsheet. But they’re asking all the same questions. How many SKUs do you have? What’s your average weight? What’s your average size? How much do you store? What’s your volume? What is your tech stack? What channels do we need to automate and connect to?

They’re all the same questions. So I have a scope doc that you can fill out that you figure out All right. I need cold chain or I need hazmat or I want to be in both sides of the country and I’m importing in from China So I want a west coast location You know things like that because the supply chain side of East Coast from China is a lot more complicated Especially with all of the issues that are happening in shipping right now with the Panama Canal is drying up Suez Canal is low the Red Sea is a mess, right? So you’ve got to think about how your stuff is going to get to where it’s starting to your warehouse and consider that as well as from warehouse to the end customer.

So you have to think about end to end when you’re looking for a warehouse and think about how the whole thing is going to work. But if you use your own scope document that tells all of that, first of all, it helps you figure out exactly what you have, what you need and what your environment is.

But then you send that document to the, maybe you’ve got five on your shortlist. You send that document to the five and they use that as a takeoff for their proposal. Now they know the right questions. They understand your business and they can actually give you a quote that is custom to you and not just some random webpage that says, oh, we charge about $1.50 for pick pack. Well, that may be well and good, but what if you have five items or what if, like I said, the desks, they’re not going to charge a buck 50 to pack a desk. So it’s important that they know the details about what you’re shipping.

A good warehouse is not your vendor. It is your partner. They are the last people to touch your product before the customer unwraps it. So that partnership is critical, right? They are your partner in this. They want you to succeed because if you do, you sell more, they ship more, everybody wins. So a partner is way more important.

Caleb Nelson (24:12)
Oh, I love that. Yeah. Yeah.

I love that so much. Yeah, I think that’s such a great call out. The idea that this is not a vendor relationship. This is a partner relationship. This is something that you are, that’s an extension of your company. And I think that goes to my second question on, you know, no partner should leave you data blind.

And in terms of managing that relationship, do you see a lot of brands make the mistake of, you know, the fix it and forget it? Like they set it up, they treat it like a vendor, they set it up, they have the agreement signed and they don’t manage that relationship. And how important is it to manage that relationship as it progresses?

Kathleen Sullivan Garman (25:24)
Well, I think it’s really important. I think you see what you just described, the fix it and forget it. You see that more with the 4PL environment than you do with 3PL. And that’s on purpose. The 4PLs sort of keep you apart from your warehouse. You don’t have anybody to call. You can’t call the guy on the warehouse floor and say, hey, you know, what’s that, what’s the pallet of returns in the corner? What does that look like? You can’t call anybody if you’re working with a 4PL.

With a 3PL, you’re more likely to get that data and to get that partnership and to get that back and forth. But building a relationship is really, really, really important. When you first start with the warehouse, you may be first you work with a salesperson and then they move you over to maybe the technical onboarding person who’s going to connect your sales channels or your EDI trading partners or whatever you’re using. So then you move to the technical people and then they say, okay, here’s this person. She’s in charge of customer service for you. If you have any problems, we’re off and running.

And then you never talk to anybody again. Well, I think it’s really important as you’re going through that process to track all of it. This is the person that I did sales with. This is the person who signed my contract. This is the person who sent me an email about receiving. They received my palette and they asked me a question. I’m going to keep their email address. So I actually have a spreadsheet that I keep as part of a 3PL transition onboarding document that you can put all that stuff in there.

Oh, this is the person in accounting and this is the oh, this is the person on the floor that’s packing my stuff. I want to know who all those people are because I want to be able to call the person and ask if maybe they received a bunch of goods and you were 100 items short of a real expensive product.
You need to talk to the people who received it at the dock and find out what did that look like when you got it? Was it missing when you brought it in or did it get lost after you checked it in when it didn’t make it to the warehouse shelves?

So having the people to talk to and building those relationships and… you can be demanding, but not be a jerk about it. You can build a relationship where you have an expectation that they’re going to meet their SLAs and you have an expectation that they’re going to handle your goods in a certain way without being a jerk about it. And you can be friendly and you can be kind and you can thank them because they are working hard for you. Cause they’re your partner, not your vendor.

And you can build a relationship. It can be a superpower. And it’s going to change the trajectory of your business.

Caleb Nelson (27:51)
Yeah, I think that’s such a great call out and having KPIs around each of the individual pieces of their performance and track it. And to treat them like an extension of your team, like they are your team. And if you treat them like a vendor, you’re probably going to get poor service in return. Treat them like a partner, and it’s going to take off and really be that compounding effect on your business. I’m clearing it.

Kathleen Sullivan Garman (28:19)
Well, and it can be the little things. Like I said, you can be demanding without being a jerk.

In December, you know that from Black Friday to Christmas, they are in logistics hell. So send them something. Send them cookies. Send them something to the warehouse floor. Send them pizza for lunch. It’s hardly going to cost you anything compared to what you’re going to get back.

Caleb Nelson
Yeah. And I think a lot of business owners feel like, well, I pay for this. Therefore, it’s a vendor. It doesn’t totally work like that in the 3PL world.

I’m curious. This has been such a great and truly valuable conversation that I think a lot of brands that are listening are thinking, look, can I improve my network optimization? Can I improve my network efficiency?

Let’s say they have their own warehouses. They’ve got three warehouses across the country. They’re looking at adding a fourth, but do not want to have it be their own warehouse. They want to have the turnkey ability to add in additional products to ship from a new location to reach their client base faster for less money. I hear the phrase, I want to reach 98% of the US zip codes within a two -day transit time.

You can accomplish that on your own. I think it’s just really expensive to do so. And I think the value that we’ve talked about here, there’s going to be a lot of shippers that are going to walk away from this conversation nodding their head on the importance of 3PLs.

What other pieces of advice, final pieces of advice, would you give to our listeners in this current market right now if they’re looking at possibly adding a 3PL to their operations.

Kathleen Sullivan Garman (30:14)
So I think there’s three main things. One is the “never Google.” The second one is when you are evaluating a 3PL, and I have a whole rating rubric that is on my website, it’s free, you can download it, to rank them against each other. And price is the very last item. It’s the last thing. Because no one’s going to move warehouses based on the difference of a dollar.

They’re going to move because the warehouse was making them unhappy, was trashing their returns, was not making SLAs, and was not packing carefully. So all of those intangibles are the key decision factors in choosing a warehouse over price. Price should come at the very, very, very last, because if you evaluate all the warehouses, they’re all within 10 % of each other. And I think people get too hung up on price. And so I think it’s really important not to do that.

And then the third thing is to really… like that scope doc, be evaluating your own ecosystem. Maybe you are 80% direct to consumer and 20% B2B, but the B2B, you’re doing it through EDI and it’s pallets and scheduling trucks and trailers. Maybe you want to keep that in your own warehouse because you can more efficiently handle that piece in your own warehouse, but that direct to consumer, one little thing at a time, send that to a 3PL. Get that distribution across to the country so it gets there faster.

The B2B clients are not wanting something the next day. They’re not wanting something in two, three days. They’re gonna send you an order that’s gonna maybe even have a future ship date two months from now. So you can plan that and organize that better inside your own warehouse if you have your own warehouse. Often if a brand doesn’t have their own warehouse and they’re starting to grow in that B2B and that direct consumer. maybe even two different warehouses to handle the two different things.

And the warehouse has a specialty in that. There are some warehouses that do a lot more B2B and even Amazon FBA prep and sending pallets and ticketing and all of that into Amazon or sending it to a distributor or to the big retailers. Maybe you find a warehouse that specializes in that and has a really strong relationship with the distributors.

And then on the other side for direct to consumer, you have your other warehouse that’s distributed, you’re sending it out to customers faster. So you separate that out a little bit to create some efficiencies, not just for your own team, but also for the two different kinds of customers.

Caleb Nelson (32:38)
Yeah, I think that’s such valuable information. I think listeners are going to walk away with some serious little nuggets that they can go and operationalize and hopefully diversify. I think that’s a big piece.

Kathleen Sullivan Garman (32:55)
Well, you know, any partnership, and I’m not going to call it a vendor, even your tech partnerships, you know, it’s like dating and finding the right fit and finding a match and then you decide to get married. Well, if it doesn’t work, and I’m speaking from experience because I’ve been divorced, it’s like a divorce if it doesn’t work. It’s messy. Everybody’s mad. It’s expensive. It’s painful. Relationships break down. So making the right call up front is so critical so that you don’t end up in that place.

Caleb Nelson (33:25)
That’s a great call out. Well, awesome Kathleen. I think this has been, like I said, extremely valuable. I know I’ve gained a lot of information from this, especially when I’m talking to clients on ways in which they can be able to be more efficient, protect their margins, and not to rush into a decision on this, but to take your time and really treat it like that relationship.

Kathleen Sullivan Garman (33:54)
Well, you mentioned data, right? So collect all the data you can on these different warehouses, put them in. You don’t have to use my rating rubric, but you can for free if you want to download it, but compare them to each other. Score it. Score your different intangibles that are important to you. Do you want a customer service person that you can call or do you want a ticketed system? So build your own data out of this RFP process so that you can make an informed decision based on data. Everything really is at its core comes down to that, what kind of insights can you learn?

Caleb Nelson (34:25)
Let our listeners know where they can get in touch with you. The floor is yours. What’s the best way in which they can interact with you?

Kathleen Sullivan Garman (34:38)
So my website is sullygarman.com. I’m also on LinkedIn for the same thing. Actually, all my social media is SullyGarman. So I’m pretty easy to find.

So yeah, LinkedIn, message me, go to the website. Even if you don’t want to talk to me, get on the website, go into the knowledge base and download those tools I talked about because they’re on there for free. I want people to have the right decision and make the right decision. I’ve been fortunate enough to have some really good business experiences and some good exits and I can afford to kind of give some stuff away. So go and get what you need and make the right call for you. Go out there and thrive and become a giant business.

Caleb Nelson (35:11)

I love it. I love it. It’s motivating for me. Thank you so much Kathleen for being on the show. We really appreciate it.

Kathleen Sullivan Garman (35:24)
Thanks for having me, Caleb.

Caleb Nelson:

Well, thanks so much for listening to this episode! As a quick note, I’ll be at MODEX in Atlanta in mid-March. If you’d like to meet up or talk, reach out to me over LinkedIn or email me at [email protected]. I’d love to see listeners there.

As for LeaderShipping, you can find more episodes on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and other podcast platforms. Be sure to subscribe so you never miss a new episode and leave us a rating or a review if you like what you heard, it really helps us out.

You can also view episodes on Sifted’s YouTube channel and check out sifted.com for more info on us along with other great resources such as blogs, our monthly newsletter, some helpful guides and research, and more. As always, thank you so much for listening.

We’ll catch you on the next one. Happy shipping!

Shipping Insights & Alerts
Get updates and track the things impacting your business most

Decision Support
See how supply chain adjustments pay off before you pay out

Carrier Management
Streamline how you manage your carrier operations and contracts

Business Automation
Let software do what it does better than people can

Seller Insights
Measure and monitor with confidence.

Sales Visualization
Shed new light on your sales data.

Fee Analyzer
Understand the impact of ever-changing FBA fees.

FBA Audit & Recovery
Secure money you’re owed from Amazon.

Discover news, tips, and industry best practices

DIM Weight Calculator
See how DIM is impacting you

Hear from industry experts on LeaderShipping

Case Studies
Learn how other brands use
Logistics Intelligence

Carbon Calculator
Calculate your CO2 Emissions

Thought Leaders
Meet the people behind the technology

Download free reports and expert how-tos

Get a personalized tour of our software

About Sifted
Get to know Logistics Intelligence

Logistics Intelligence
For parcel shippers

Marketplace Intelligence
For Amazon FBA sellers

Let's get you to the right place!

For parcel shippers

AMAZON Marketplace Intelligence

Not sure if you have an account? Email [email protected].