For those of you who run an eCommerce business, order processing is an essential aspect of your daily operations. Your firm may develop to the point where you can no longer fulfill customer orders in-house. Beginning when a consumer places an order and ending when the order is delivered to their doorstep, this procedure is called order fulfillment.
Enhancing your fulfillment plan will be necessary at this point, which for many organisations, will entail acquiring third-party logistics or 3PL providers. To make the most of an eCommerce logistics strategy and expand and scale your company, you must understand how third-party logistics providers (3PLs) operate. For more information about third-party logistics (3PLs), continue reading.
What is Third-party Logistics (or 3PL)?
3PL, also known as third-party logistics is the practice of contracting out third-party businesses to handle eCommerce logistics tasks such as inventory management, warehousing, and shipping. The tools and infrastructure provided by third-party logistics (3PL) providers enable eCommerce businesses to achieve greater success in the retail order of the eCommerce fulfillment process. Typically, a third-party logistics provider (or 3PL) becomes linked with the company’s warehouse management and transit processes.
3PLs have been common since the advent and rise of eCommerce in the 1990s and early 2000s, and 3PLs have broadened their offerings to meet the needs of customers. Companies that outsource the handling of order fulfillment logistics to a third-party supplier can devote more time and resources to growing and improving their businesses.
Various Services Provided By a Third-party Logistics Provider (3PL)
In the context of inventory storage, warehouse management refers to the placement of inventory in specially allocated storage space. 3PL businesses provide you with storage space in which you can keep all or elements of your inventory list stored safely and securely. This is incredibly efficient because it eliminates the need for extra investment in growth while also lowering storage costs.
When it comes to perishable goods and pharmaceuticals, cold storage can pose its own set of challenges, including the need for specialised equipment and employees. For this reason, third-party logistic businesses’ storage facilities might be extremely beneficial in such scenarios. It is necessary to enter inventory data into their inventory management system for you and your partner to have visibility over inventory.
When a 3PL company receives a new order, they have sufficient resources who are skilled at picking orders from the warehouse. The 3PL company adheres to strategic standard operating procedures (SOPs) to decrease time and increase operations with a professional workforce.
It is critical to select the correct order because incorrectly selected and sent products might damage your company’s reputation in the marketplace. To complete this duty, 3PL service providers employ highly trained and knowledgeable personnel.
Packing of orders
Next, third-party logistics or 3PL providers handle the packaging of goods that are scheduled to be dispatched and delivered to their respective destinations.
In addition, the packing materials utilised by 3PL businesses are industry norms, and the resources engaged to undertake these activities are either properly trained or have extensive expertise in the industry. For important procedures such as packing, they employ specialised resources to ensure the lowest possible number of mistakes.
Shipping of the goods
Delivery from the warehouse to your customer’s door is handled by third-party logistics and eCommerce fulfillment businesses (3PLs). Assisting with deliveries and pick-ups to and from the courier hub is all included in this service. The logistics and distribution supply chain are indeed handled smoothly, as mistakes are avoided, and many quality assurance activities are performed using cutting-edge technological advancements.
You will also receive proper and thorough tracking information for your orders, which will be forwarded to your customers for their use in order tracking and complete information. The shipping company provides information that customers can use to keep track of their orders. As a result, all possible uncertainty or misinterpretation is prevented as a result of this, which benefits both you and your consumers.
Many third-party logistics (3PL) companies handle your returns. Returned goods are refilled at the original warehouse following your company’s policies in these cases.
How a Third-party Logistics Provider Benefits Your Company?
3PL services can help you save a significant amount of time so that you may devote your attention to other parts of your organisation, such as production, business administration, marketing, and sales. By outsourcing activities like storage and inventory tracking, you will be able to devote more time and resources to other aspects of your business that will help it expand.
3PL providers are often equipped with the most up-to-date inventory management and warehouse management solutions to ensure smooth operations. Instead of investing heavily in technology, you may simply outsource tasks to ensure that you remain current with technology and can efficiently fulfill orders. In this way, you can benefit from cutting-edge technology while still paying a reasonable price.
Customer support service
When it comes to third-party logistics, one of the most crucial things that eCommerce businesses sometimes overlook is assessing the level of customer service provided.
Consequently, it is critical to evaluate the customer support, read client testimonials, and speak with other sellers in your network who are currently using that organisation. Before being swayed by low shipping prices, make sure that you have a good working relationship with the company’s customer support team.
When you partner with the 3PL company, you can save a substantial amount of money because they handle all of the main processes such as packing, storage, inventory tracking, and shipping for you.
The risk factor is lower
As a result of not handling everything in-house, you may lower the chance of improper deliveries by using skilled resources, producing higher-quality work, and delivering more efficiently. You will be able to complete orders much more quickly and efficiently while putting less risk on the line.
The target for a wider reach
The 3PL company provides you with the opportunity to expand your customer base and sell to a larger target group. Many third-party logistics (3PL) providers have many warehouses in various locations, allowing you to keep your merchandise in various locations that are closer to your customer’s location.
A third-party logistics (3PL) provider can assist you in elevating your growth while providing you with the time-distance to concentrate on other elements of your organisation. You must partner with a 3PL firm that is skilled and resourceful to provide your consumers with the speedy delivery and excellent delivery experience that is required nowadays.