The top four benefits of choosing a 3PL
Fulfilment and shipping is a complicated but important process, so it’s important that an ecommerce company gets it right and implements an efficient system.
For some companies, handling your own fulfilment and warehousing (2PL) is a valid option with a range of benefits - but what works for some doesn’t for others. If you’re a smaller company with a wide reach, you might find that, while you need to send goods across the entire country or internationally, you don’t have the resources or infrastructure to accommodate that.
That’s where third-party logistics (3PL) companies come in. A 3PL handles all of your fulfilment as well as your deliveries; that means no more picking, packing and general warehouse management and maintenance.
Here’s some of the top benefits of using a 3PL.
More efficient delivery
One of the challenges of being a small-to-medium sized online retailer is the potential disconnect between your location and your customers’. You could be getting thousands of orders from all over the country, but don’t have the resources to set up multiple warehouses in different locations to keep up with fast delivery demands.
A 3PL provides a solution to that problem. Because their entire business is centred around fulfilment and shipping, they’re much more likely to have a wider portfolio of warehouses in different locations. That, combined with their integrated shipping capabilities, means you can offer more delivery options to your customers and optimise based on where they live.
Plus, if you’re shipping internationally, that problem of a lack of warehousing is more stark and could cause even more complications. Some 3PLs have sites across the globe, so partnering with one might be a cheaper option than setting up your own operation in another country.
Save time and money - then reinvest
As you can imagine, the maintenance and management costs of operating a warehouse - or potentially multiple warehouses - can be eye-watering. It’s not just the cost of the building itself; there’s upkeep, bills, staffing and warehouse management system (WMS) prices which all factor into it.
With most 3PLs, you’ll be paying a regular fee for their services while also not having to worry too much about the day-to-day running of your fulfilment centre. Although these fees can vary based on the size of your operation, you might find it more convenient and cost-effective knowing exactly what you’ll be paying for each month, with no unexpected upkeep costs.
The time and money you save outsourcing your fulfilment and shipping can then be reinvested into other areas of your business. You might be feeling like your marketing strategy needs some attention, or you want to design some new products. By freeing up your time and resources, you can focus on improving everything else.
Access to experience and expertise
If you’re just starting out in the world of ecommerce, figuring out how to actually store and ship your products once you’ve made them can be a daunting task. No one can know everything, and it’s fine to rely on others with more knowledge in certain fields.
By partnering with a 3PL, you’re partnering with an organisation with tons of valuable insights into fulfilment and shipping, such as tariffs, documentation and keeping in-line with regulations. That means you can learn more from them about growing a successful business, while being able to rest easy in the knowledge that you and your customers are in capable hands.
Better technology and capabilities
You don’t just get expertise with a 3PL - you also reap the benefits of the technology they have access to. If you’re handling fulfilment and shipping yourself, you might find that getting the best tools for the job is a laborious and lengthy process.
By going with a 3PL, you don’t need to worry about shortfalls in capability - assuming you’ve chosen the right provider for your operation. A 3PL is centred around offering outsourced fulfilment and shipping, so you’ll find that many of them will be using technology that’s the best in the business.
That technology includes things like a WMS, plus all the features that come with one, such as tablets and interfaces. Many 3PLs design their own systems so they’re tailor made for themselves and their clients.
If you think going down the 3PL route might be for you, you’ll need a trusted integrations provider to make sure all of the data from your ecommerce platform flows seamlessly to the company doing your fulfilment and shipping.
Patchworks is a reliable and experienced company capable of handling all of your warehouse and 3PL integration needs - click here for more information.