Wondering if partnering with a third-party logistics (3PL) provider is the right choice for your warehousing and distribution needs? It’s certainly an attractive option, as it offers a seamless way for businesses to manage logistics solutions. 3PL warehousing companies offer a number of automation tools, additional storage space and expert supply chain management to ensure your ecommerce fulfillment needs are met.
Investing in a 3PL could save your business time and money while ensuring safety regulations are met. Take a look at some of the benefits of partnering and warehousing with a 3PL and how to get started.
What Is a 3PL?
A 3PL provider is a company that offers comprehensive logistics services such as warehousing, transportation and supply chain management to businesses.
The primary objective of a 3PL provider is to streamline the supply chain process and increase efficiency. By outsourcing logistics services to a 3PL provider, businesses can focus on their core competencies without worrying about the logistics of getting products to their customers. This process leaves businesses with more time and resources to concentrate on other vital aspects like product development, marketing and customer service.
A 3PL provider’s expertise and experience can help businesses overcome complex logistics challenges. A 3PL provider enables businesses to use the latest logistics technology and infrastructure, which can be expensive for them to invest in on their own.
With a 3PL provider, businesses can better manage their inventory, optimize transportation routes, reduce shipping costs and receive real-time tracking updates. Ultimately, partnering with a 3PL provider can help businesses overcome logistics challenges, achieve greater efficiency and enhance their competitive edge.
How Does Warehousing with a 3PL Work?
When you partner with a 3PL warehouse, you’re able to offload the burden of logistics operations onto an expert. A 3PL company will receive your inventory, store it at their facility and ship the order directly to your customer. A 3PL will charge a fee for doing so, which is ultimately how the 3PL makes money.
6 Ways Warehousing with a 3PL Can Benefit Your Business
A company may turn to a 3PL to handle this part of the operation for many reasons, including:
1. Reduce Payroll Expense
If you have a 3PL managing the receiving, picking and shipping aspects of your business, those employees will not be on your payroll. This factor can save your business a great deal of money.,
2. Reduce Space Constraints
As your business grows and you continue to process more orders, warehousing space can become an issue. Depending on what part of the country you’re in, finding a warehouse large enough to service your operation can be challenging. A 3PL assumes this burden and has large warehouses capable of handling your demand.
3. Enhance Supply Chain Efficiency
Working with a 3PL company can improve the efficiency of your supply chain. With a 3PL company managing your warehousing and distribution, you can ensure that your products are delivered to your customers on time and in good condition. This feature can help to increase customer satisfaction and loyalty, as well as enhance your company’s reputation.
4. Position Your Business for Growth
A 3PL company can provide your business with the flexibility and scalability it needs to grow and adapt to changing market conditions. Whether you need to ramp up production to meet spikes in demand or scale back during slower periods, a 3PL company gives you the flexibility to manage your inventory and distribution to make sure you have the right products in the right locations at the right time.
5. Improved Supply Chain Visibility
3PL companies use advanced technologies and warehouse management systems to track inventory levels, monitor product movements and ensure real-time insights into the supply chain. These capabilities allow businesses to have better visibility into their inventory levels, reducing the risk of stock-outs and improving delivery times. Additionally, 3PL companies can analyze supply chain data to identify areas for improvement and optimization, which can further enhance your overall supply chain’s efficiency.
6. Access Industry Expertise
Using a 3PL company for warehousing offers an opportunity for businesses to focus on their core competencies. Warehousing and logistics operations require a lot of attention and resources. By outsourcing these functions to a 3PL company, the business can focus on what it does best, which can help it become more efficient and more profitable.
You can focus on enhancing product quality, expanding your customer base and developing new product lines or services without worrying about day-to-day logistics activities. Do what you do best, and let the logistics experts at a 3PL handle the rest.
The Mechanics of a 3PL
How does a 3PL work? Each 3PL company will have its own nuances, but on a high level, all 3PLs will support their customers in the following fashion.
The 3PL will receive all your inventory and stock it on their shelves. The product can ship directly from your suppliers to the 3PL warehouse, and you never need to touch another box again. You won’t have to worry about running out of warehouse space or hiring specialists to manage your distribution center.
Pick, Pack, Ship
In addition to storing your product, the 3PL will run the pick, pack, ship aspect of the business. As you send the 3PL your customer’s orders, the 3PL will pick from the inventory in its facility, pack it in the right-sized box and ship it directly to your customer. It will do all of this while meeting service-level agreements (SLAs).
Integrate Into Your Store
An established third-party logistics company will integrate into your store. Whether you’re selling products on Shopify, WooCommerce, Amazon, Squarespace, Walmart, Instagram or Esty, you’ll want to make sure the 3PL you’re working with integrates into your e-commerce software so you can have a seamless experience.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a 3PL
Whenever you turn over distribution to a third-party logistics company, there are variables you need to be mindful of.
You’ll want to make sure the 3PL can service your core customer group within acceptable lead times. If the majority of your customers are in the southeast, it may not make the most sense to have a 3PL partner that ships from Portland, Oregon. Shipping across the country takes longer and is more expensive. Instead, you’ll want to work with an inventory management or fulfillment company that’s relatively nearby for convenience.
You’ll want to make sure the 3PL partner can service your business needs. Some third-party logistics companies specialize in servicing specific product types. Print Bind Ship, for example, works with a variety of e-commerce businesses and has managed consumer products, books, food, supplements and custom boxes.
Offloading your distribution to a 3PL comes with fees, and that’s understandable. But some 3PL companies can get sneaky with their fees. You want to make sure the 3PL fees do not completely erode your profit margins.
Is a 3PL Right for Your Business?
If you have warehousing needs or are in search of a trustworthy logistics service, you may be wondering if a 3PL is the right move for the business. Get in touch with the experts at Print Bind Ship to understand the benefits of warehousing with a 3PL and how we can offer custom solutions for your needs.
Print Bind Ship has years of experience, and we’d be more than happy to help answer your questions or concerns. Our 3PL integrates well with hundreds of e-commerce software companies, and we pride ourselves on providing an outstanding experience for our customers.
A 3PL, or third-party logistics provider, is a company that specializes in offering warehousing and logistics services to other businesses. They act as a middleman between the retailer and the customers, handling tasks like inventory management, order fulfillment and shipping.
Partnering with a 3PL can be a great way to streamline your business operations and improve your overall efficiency. By outsourcing your warehousing needs, you can free up time and resources to focus on other areas of your business, such as marketing and sales. Additionally, 3PLs typically have access to advanced technology and industry expertise that can help you improve your supply chain and reduce costs.
Like any business decision, there are potential risks to using a 3PL. Some businesses may feel that they are giving up control over their supply chain, while others may worry about potential communication or logistics problems. However, a reputable 3PL will work closely with you to understand your business needs and ensure that your services are tailored to your specific requirements.
Any online or brick-and-mortar retailer that needs a reliable, cost-effective way to store and ship its products can benefit from working with a 3PL. This list includes small businesses, startups and larger corporations across a variety of industries.
The best way to choose a 3PL for your business is to do your research and evaluate potential partners based on factors like their reputation, experience in your industry and the services they offer. You should ensure that the company has a track record of delivering high-quality services and meeting customer expectations. Finally, be sure to work closely with the prospective 3PL to ensure that it understands your business needs and has the resources and expertise to meet them.