airblast-afc-logoHaving the latest technology and huge fleets is all very well but ultimately, a manufacturer will only choose a company they know they can rely on

By Ella Mason | August 14, 2014

When it comes to choosing 3PLs, there are a number of things that businesses must take into account. Manufacturers and suppliers must place a huge amount of trust in their 3PL partners as they are putting their reputation in the hands of an external company. Therefore, it is very important that they choose not only a company that can provide the service they want, but a company they can trust. Airblast AFC ( works with three main logistics suppliers who were each chosen for different reasons.

For the majority of their US shipping, Airblast AFC use Keane Thummel Trucking ( Based in New Market IA, Keane Thummel Trucking operates a fleet of vans, step-decks and late model tractors serving Southwest Iowa, Northwest Missouri and the entire Continental United States and Southern Province of Canada. They also provide satellite tracking which is a must have for most manufacturers and suppliers. Keane Thummel was founded in 1980 and has built a solid reputation for reliability and safety and this is the main reason that Airblast AFC choose to use them for the bulk of their deliveries. However, they were also chosen for the personal service they provide. With any business partner, it’s important to have good communication and that generally comes down to the people you’re working with. Airblast AFC were very impressed by the way Keane Thummel communicate and go that extra mile to provide a dedicated personal service.

For their Canadian shipping, Airblast AFC chose to use XPO Logistics ( for similar reasons. XPO Logistics is one of the fastest growing transportation logistics service providers in North America and offer a range of services from freight brokerage, intermodal services, last-mile logistics, expedited shipment management, managed transportation, global freight forwarding and less-than-truckload brokerage. XPO have also invested millions of dollars into their IT department in order to optimize their operations and have big plans for future developments. Airblast AFC were very impressed by the company’s commitment to new technology but ultimately chose XPO for their solid reputation and the huge scope of the company which has 148 locations facilitating more than 31,000 deliveries a day.

Airblast AFC is a joint venture between UK based Airblast Ltd and California-based AFC Finishing Systems so many of their products need to be shipped from the UK to the US and Canada.

For international shipping, Airblast use a logistics company based at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, UK called Precision Cargo ( The company was chosen partly because of their ability to provide real time information on the location of consignments, regardless of size and whether shipped by sea or by air but, like Keane Thummel Trucking, Precision Cargo were mainly chosen for their ability to provide a personal service and their great reputation, which they have certainly lived up to. Airblast Buyer Jon Hare commented: “We use Precision as I no longer need to get quotes from several different companies as I trust the price Precision charge.”

So no matter the size of the company or the services it can provide, the main thing that manufacturers and suppliers look for when choosing a 3PL is someone they can trust. Having the latest technology and huge fleets is all very well but ultimately, a manufacturer will only choose a company they know they can rely on.

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